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Latest New June 2014:

I have some good news.  After waiting nearly five months I have finally had the Capri all welded up and she passed her MOT at the end of May.  So she is back on the road once again.  The rot was much worse than expected.  Both sills were rotten through and it was lucky I hadn’t ended up driving like Fred Flintstone!  The seat belt anchor points were surrounded by rot and the drivers seat mounts had all cracked through metal fatigue.

I got Den from The Beetle Repairs in St Ives to do the work and I think he did it to a pretty high standard.  Lots and lots of welding and fettling before the new sills were added.  Anyway I have a load of photos of the work and will update the site soon.

I’ve also fixed the heater which (like last time) was a complete nightmare of a job.  Must be one of the worst jobs on the whole car with everything fighting you to the end.  The flaps inside the heater box were all jammed so no matter what you did to the slider controls nothing actually moved.  Again I’ve photoed everything for a write up.

Whilst the dash was in pieces I removed the tape player and replaced the belt.  It works now but sounds ever so slightly slow.  Worse still I can only get sound out of one side of the speakers but I’m certain it is a wire problem rather than a stereo problem.  More dash dismantling at some point!

Latest New Oct 2014:

The Capri is back with Den to have the rear wheel arches cut out and repaired.  As I am typing this they should have got the old metal removed and I'll pop round to take a look.  I've asked Den to take some photos as last time.

The original Ford radio has been sent away to a specialist to be looked at.  Hopefully it will be back in time for the dashboard to be rebuilt.  In the meantime I've bought a set of dash light bulbs to fit.  The handbrake lamp is only working intermittently at the moment so I will check the circuit board on the rear of the binnacle.

Once the rear is patched up then the next job is to fix the rot around the corners of the scuttle panel.  That is a screen out job.

Latest New Jan 2015:

The Capri is starting t look a bit more like her old self again.  After a month of cutting and welding and a large amount of money spent, the rear whel arches are full repaired and looking brand new again.  At them moment they are painted in a strange VW base white to get them through the winter.

The Capri radio was returned repaired and now sounds fantastic again - with the aid of some discreet Kenwood speakers.

With the radio back again I fitted the dashboard back together yet again.  I actually fitted some new bulbs to the instrument binale and had to do a bit of reapir work on the flexible circuit to get them all working.  Whilst I was at it I fitted a set of metalic looking instrument dials.  This sounds a bit naff but they really do look very smart and are much easier to see at night.

The Capri I booked in at the end of March again to start work around the windscreen which is the final major part o rust to sort out.

Latest New May 2015:

I have been enjoying driving the Capri in the good weather of March and April.  She is running well despite looking like a patchwork of paint.

At the time of writing she has just gone in to D W mechanicals for the next set of restoration work.  Den is planning to sort out the rusting scuttle panel in front of the windscreen.  This will need the screen to come out which will be replaced as it has gone quite milky white around the edges.  We are not sure if the screen rubbber can be replaced or not so are approaching the job with caution.

After the scuttle panel the roof is to be repaired.  Again this is a tricky job requiring the head lining to be removed.  The roof section has rusted through behind the sunroof and needs careful repair.  Any welding on the roof has to be done with great care to make sure the heat form the welding doesn’t distort the thin metal of the roof.

Fingers crossed time!

Latest New Sept 2015:

My Capri is still waiting to go in for additional body work repairs.  Den who was due to do it was struck down with a virus and had some months of work.  So he is horribly behind and I just have to be patient.  It doesn’t matter cos the Capri has been running well all summer and been out most weekends.  It always amazes me how many people come up to me these days and comment on how they used to have a Capri years ago and how they wished the still had it!

Apart from keeping her as tidy as possible I did get round to replacing the electric aerial which had packed in (again).  This time I’ve splashed out a bit more money on a genuine German OEM one.  Apart form looking a bit better put together I have to say that the operation is near silent.  It is a job I hate doing as a lot of the dashboard has to come out yet again and messing about under the wing ain’t a lot of fun.

My other major break through recently was I managed to repair my broken radio knob from the period digital radio.  As these often get broken and my repair seems really successful I have done a quick write up on how I did it!  See here for full details.

Latest New Feb 2016

2016 is a big year for my Capri.  After endless waiting and searching I have commissioned Quest Brothers Classic Cars Ltd to fully restore the car.  I will be doing a full restoration write up in the coming months.  At the time of writing the car has been stripped and has its wings removed.  It is not a pretty sight underneath but nothing terminal.

At the start of the year she went in to the Quest Brothers for some mechanical work.  I had the engine mounts and gearbox mounts replaced.  Also the brake pipes were replaced with new copper ones as there were signs of corrosion on the rear ones.  Whist doing this work it was decided to replace the rear brake shoes as one had the friction surface half missing.  The front brake discs and pads were also replaced.

I had additional problems with the brake servo which had previously been repaired and reconditioned by J&L Spares Export Ltd in Rochdale.  I was driving home when suddenly the brake peddle went solid and I had no brakes.  I very nearly crashed the car.  Anyway the problem was traced to the vacuum servo which had failed.  As the car had only done 500 miles since it was restored at a cost of over two hundred pounds I contacted J&L Spares and it was duly returned to them for inspection.  I have to say I was distinctly unimpressed by their response.  They said it “smelled of petrol” which meant my engine had “damaged it”.  This was nonsense; the Bakelite piston had failed probably because it had been badly repaired.  They basically said it was nothing to do with them and returned it to me untouched.  It was repaired 18 months ago but had spent most of this time off the car.

So I am sorry to say based on my bad experience of dealing with J&L I can not recommend their services and would suggest that you think carefully before handing money over to them.

To finish the story we purchased a second hand servo from the Capri Club and it works perfectly.  The car has brilliant brakes once again!

Latest New March 2016

The restoration of my Capri is well under way and I’ve started a full write up of the progress.  This can be viewed here.

At the time of writing the car has been stripped and all the rusty parts have been repaired.  The genuine “new” Ford wings are welded in place and the car has undergone an extensive sanding and rub down.  So far over one hundred hours have been spent on the body work.  A considerable amount of time has been spent on doing the roof which was a serious nightmare.  The front valance and the scuttle panel were also big jobs.  I have loads of photos of the work that I’m putting together ready for a write up.

The work is being carried out by Quest Brothers Classic Cars in St Ives (Cambs).  I’ve enjoyed spending a lot of time with Dennis who is the chief panel beater.  He has years and year of experience and is attention to detail is amazing.  It has taken much longer to do than we expected and it will be slightly over budget but once you start there is no turning back!

Although Dennis admits he has seen it all before and it is not the toughest restoration he’s done I think it ranks up there at the top and many of the jobs have surprised him as to how complicated they were.  

As of the start of April the car has been rolled out of the preparation garage and made ready for the painting.  It is getting quite exciting now! Keep checking back for more updates as we go along.

Latest New May 2016

The restoration of my Capri is almost complete now and I’ve started a full write up of the progress.  This can be viewed here.

At the time of writing the car is finished and looks amazing.  The only two jobs to do are the wheel refurbishment and replace the windscreen.  The screen cracked in two whist it was being put back.  There was a large stone chip in the screen and it cracked right at this point.  Fortunately I know a man in the trade and he has managed to source me a bronze screen with a blue top tint which is a bit unusual.  It was still £250 mind which when you think the last one I bought in 2001 was only £45!

The wheels have gone off to a professional restoration company and will be ready in a few days.  They weren’t too bad really but hopefully they will made the splendour of the car itself when re-fitted.  I have bought new hub caps for the wheels (plain charcoal grey) as the old ones were aftermarket rubbish.

Quest Brothers has done an amazing job on the restoration.  The coach work is all straight, painted, polished and shining like a diamond in the May sunlight.  The car has all the new decals fitted which makes it look really cool.  We had the headlamp bezels powder coated in Diamond White and they look fantastic and hopefully won’t rust again.  And as a result of major repairs to the roof, a brand new headlining has been fitted to the interior.  Supplied by East Coast Trim in Kent.   The most pleasing part was we managed to get my brother in law to repair the side over-riders so they had new stainless steel studding fitted.  This meant we could re-fit them exactly as they were done in the Ford factory albeit using nylocs.

It is my daughter's wedding on 14th May and she has asked to use the Capri for the wedding car.  So we have a mad weekend getting her cleaned, vacuumed and polished ready for the big day.  It’s getting a bit tight…..

Latest New August 2016

The Capri has been fully restored and we have been driving her on and off all Summer including attending my Daughter’s Wedding where she was the star attraction.  All that remains now is the interior which is booked to be done over the Winter of 2016-17.

The car looks and feels amazing and gets lots of attention wherever she goes.  She managed two long trips up north in the Summer without any issues and was lots of fun to drive.  I have even got a load of new stereo cassettes recorded for those long journeys - complete with period 80’s audio cassette carry box.

As the summer draws to a close I have purchased a rather expensive stormforce cover for the winter.  As I’ve been away for most of August I haven’t had a lot of chance to finish off the restoration write up.  But bear with me and it will be done soon.  I still have loads of pictures to add showing how the restoration went.

At the time of writing I was dismayed to find that the heater blower has packed in (again).  This is a common problem on Capri’s.  I need to find a bit of time to investigate as I’m pretty certain it won’t be the actual fan motor this time as it isn’t that old and was working perfectly one minute and now it’s dead.

Latest New October 2016

The big news in September was that the clutch finally gave out on the Capri.  Fortunately I wasn’t too far away from home when I pressed the clutch and it went straight to the floor.  A broken cable was suspected but actually it had come away completely because there was so much wear on the clutch.  As it is the original clutch it has managed just over 135K miles.

Steve at Quest Brothers changed the clutch in a day.  Cost me £400 which included the clutch kit, release bearing and new cable.  All seemed to come apart easily enough and once the gearbox and clutch we out of the car it was obvious to see just how heavily worn the clutch was.  The friction plate had about 5mm of metal worn off it - I wonder where all that material ends up?

The only issue we had was that the plastic clutch pedal retaining clip was badly worn and made a loud clicking sound when the clutch was pressed.  All a bit discerning.  I managed to find a good quality S/H one on Ebay for twenty quid and Steve duly fitted it.  The clutch is now an absolute joy - easy to depress and operate.  You forget just how heavy they get as they wear away.

We also replaced the prop shaft oil seal as well as this was dripping fluid.  Especially as like most late model Capri's the gear box is full of Dextron automatic gear box fluid.

With the clutch all fixed I decided to get to the bottom of the none working fan.  After dismantling most of the dashboard I discovered that there was a loose connection on the fan blower and as soon as I cleaned it up and refitted it the fan sprang back into life again.  Lots of effort for a simple fix.

One bonus of having the clutch replaced was that we managed to get the handbrake warning light working again after many years of intermittent operation!

Latest New Jan 2017

Happy New Year everyone! With winter on us the Capri has gone in to the storage garage for hibernation.  I’ve polished her up and she has got her Storm Force car cover on.  The battery is on trickle charge and that is how she will stay for the next few months until spring is in the air.

Actually I’ve just taken all the interior seats out and they have gone off to Peterborough for a full refurbishment and new leather.  Its costing over a thousand pounds so I hope they look good when they come back.  The guy said he could also do the steering wheel leather as well, but we will leave that until the seats are done.  With the seats out of the car I plan to do a few other jobs in the New Year.  I am talking to someone about getting some matching leather stitched covers for the centre console and armrest made.  These require the console to be removed which is obviously a lot easier to do with all the seats out.

The heater fan is still a bit intermittent so perhaps I'll try one last time to re-wire it.  Again all a lot easier to do without the seats in place.  Looking at the Haynes manual I see the heater switch is on the earth (-ve) side and not to the heater itself; ie it is electrically downstream of the heater fan.  So it is perhaps a problem with the earth connection point or more likely it it the bullet connector  noticed that is in the circuit.  This seems to be there to allow easy disconnection of the heater fan when removing the blower box form the car.  Last time it packed up a simple jiggle of this connector got it going again.  I suspect the wire is partly broken or something.  It is clearly something simple in the wiring loom and as a rule of thumb the connectors and switches are always the first place to look.

In the spring I need to get Quests to have a look at the roof as there are a couple of cracks in the white paint where the top coat has reacted to the filler underneath.  You have to look closely to see it but I know its there and so do they.  We agreed to leave it a while to stabilise before looking at repainting the roof one more time.

There are always jobs to be done on a Classic car!

Latest New Feb 2017

With the seats out of the car being worked on, I have done a few jobs on the interior that are much easier with the interior removed.  I removed the centre console completely and recovered it in a leather kit, including the armrest. A lighter grey leather was used for the handbrake and gear lever gaiters.  It looks amazing but I have to say it was a total labour of love.  The job requires a lot of patience, and a lot of careful cutting using very sharp knives.  Oh and a lot of Evo-stik!

During this I also removed the non-working handbrake warning light switch and found it was open circuit no matter what position it was in.  So I soaked it over night in WD40 and hey presto it works as good as new again!  This was duly refitted and tested before the centre console went back in again.  I even stripped and cleaned the clock while I was at it.

After this I have removed the dashboard.  This was not a very fun job but it does come out with a bit of patience and a lot of unbolting and screw removal.  I have a leather cover for this as well which looks like an equally difficult challenge.  Fingers crossed I don’t mess it up.

With the dash out I have also attempted to locate and fix the intermittent heater blower problem.  I soaked the switch from the front of the dash in WD40 again and this is working well.  I’ve also replaced all the bullet and spade connectors with new red crimps.  The blower works beautifully but lets hope it has fixed the temperamental behaviour once and for all.  It is a real pig pulling the dash apart on a Capri and every time I do it I swear it will be the last time!

I’ve just had a text form the upholsterer to say the seats are finished and ready to drop off.

Quest Brothers have been to have a look at the roof - there has been a paint reaction over the filler so they have agreed to repaint the roof for me, hopefully it will take two days in the next week or so.

Latest New March 2017

The dashboard has been recovered with its leather skin.  As I predicted it was a complete nightmare but it is done and looks pretty cool.  It is a very curvy shape and consequently needed a lot of adjustment cutting and trimming.  I managed to refit the dash and got the rest of the parts all back together again.  Everything (touch wood) seems to work for the time being.  Worst bit was getting the black dash front back in place without ripping my new leather cover with those horrible springs Ford used.  So I used some thin sheets of metal to protect the leather as I pushed it back into place.

One slight issue with the leather dash cover is that the ventilation holes in the top of the dash are now covered and sealed off.  This worries me a little bit because the Ford stereo gets extremely hot when in constant use.  So I fabricated a 12V fan and mounted it on the top of the radio housing.  I used a ferrite core to prevent horrible noise coming off the fan motor and wired it in using the 12V feed to the electric aerial.  This way the fan only runs when the stereo is switched on.  With this in place I could refit the radio into the dash and the fan sits nicely in the cavity between the top of the radio and the underside of the dash.  Hopefully the breeze created with disperse the heat across the dash so I finds its way out naturally.

So I finally got the call from Bob Hammond that the leather interior was completed and I drove up to Peterborough to visit his small industrial unit.  The leather seats are now fully re trimmed with brand new leather and look absolutely amazing.  I haven’t had chance to fit them yet as time was short but they will finish the car off beautifully. I’m off to the saddle shop to buy some hide food!

Latest News June 2017

So I have been enjoying driving the Capri in all this beautiful weather.  She is running well and looks amazing with her newly painted roof and newly restored leather Recaros.

After about 500 miles the alternator started making loud noises form the bearings so I decided it was time for a new one which was duly sourced from “Mick’s Garage” and fitted.  Fortunately its quite an easy job on the Capri and after a straight swap we were back in action again.

The leather dash and seats look amazing and were recently complimented with a re-covered leather steering wheel and leather covered gear knob.  All correct and period for the car.  Cost me a fortune and it nearly killed me getting the old steering wheel off.  After hours of pulling tugging bashing and watching all sorts of YouTube videos about how to do it, I was about to give up.  I squirted some WD penetrating fluid on it and left it.  In a final attempt I managed to get it off.

What was the trick you ask?  In the end the method that worked for me was to get a thin metal rod on the back plate of the wheel (you can just about get to it from the rear) and then smack it with a hammer.  By rotating the wheel a bit each time I was able to get it to budge and finally come free of the splines.  The captive nut was left partially on at all times to prevent any unpleasant injuries!  Plenty of copper grease on the new one - one of the worst nightmare jobs I’ve ever done on the car and never again I hope!

I managed to get some of the money back by selling the old leather wheel on Ebay for £65.  Result!

For once there isn’t too much else to report.  I’ve got in the habit of dry cleaning the car every few days which is an easy way to keep her clean and shiny without using any water.  There are House Martins visiting our house and it is amazing how much poo they produce!  I use proper bird dropping remover solution and get it off as quickly as possible as it can damage the paint.

Latest News December 2017

After a whole summer of fun driving the Capri round and turning lots of heads it was time for her to be prepared for winter storage.  This usually happens early November just after the clocks change for winter    So she had a minor service at Quest Brothers Classic Cars an then placed carefully in the storage garage, on trickle charge, where she will stay until the clocks change back next year in the spring.  

There has been very little to report because for once I’ve had a summer of problem free driving.  She still looks immaculate and the re-done paintwork on the roof is still looking great.

While she is in storage I have three jobs to tackle:

1) I am trying to get Bob Hammond in Peterborough to come and do the second part of the seat restoration which is to re-cloth the centre parts of the leather Recaro front seats.  I managed to buy some genuine Ford matching fabric for this job in the spring and now it is just a case of waiting for Bob to become free after Christmas.

2) I want to get the windscreen wiper arms repainted as they are old and flaking and really stand out on the rest of the immaculate car.  Quest has suggested they are spray painted rather than powder coated but we’ll see once they are off the car.

3) Did I mention I scraped the nearside font alloy wheel on  curb I the summer?  I misjudged parking her against a tall curb and there was a gut wrenching crunch as my spotless alloy got mangled.  Need to get it off the car and up to the refurbishers in Huntingdon.

Since I had the Capri restored in the winter of 2015 the value of these of Fords has risen and risen and it is quite amazing seeing how much they are going for on Ebay and places at the moment.  I’m guess I am lucky I got mine so long ago they were worth peanuts!

Latest News March 2018

The Capri is still in storage whilst this nasty cold spell grips the UK.  Hopefully by the time the clocks go forward at Easter it will be time to think about getting her our ready for 2018.

So as reported last time I have three jobs to do which are all underway.

1) The windscreen wiper arms are round at Quest Bothers waiting for some black paint.  I should be getting those back soon.

2) Bob Hammond has finished the cloth seat restoration on the Recaro seats.  If you remember he did the full leather restoration last year and agreed to finished the job off after I sourced and bought some genuine Recaro cloth last year.  I was due to go and pick them up on Saturday but I was beaten by the heavy snow we had last week.

3) The front nearside wheel is off the car and I’m taking it up to Ace in Huntingdon tomorrow to be refurbished (again) after I damaged it on a curb in 2017.

During the winter months I have been buying some blank cassette tapes and have been making some tapes up to play in the car.  My tape player still works as good as new and sounds great with the upgraded speakers and graphic equaliser equalising all the graphics!  You forget how good tapes can actually sound - a well recorded chrome tape is hard to tell from a CD and as long as they have been stored somewhere safe they will be as good as new even after twenty or thirty years!

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