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The Ford Capri Laser Page

Reassembly (2001)

Once the Capri had been resprayed and the paint allowed to dry, the masks were removed and Terry began the arduous task of reassembling the car.  Everything had to be done extremely slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the paint.  Bonnet and tailgate were fitted and realigned, followed by the doors.  Terry had originally removed the doors with the hinges intact as he had previously discovered that the hinges got damaged easily if the pins were extracted.

I had recently returned from a Capri Club meeting at the NAC in Warwickshire (I think it was the 'Spares and Project day').  I was extremely lucky to have picked up a mint condition Capri dash board from the show for £40.  Terry's eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw it.  The tatty old dash had really been bugging him now that the rest of the car looked so good.  I also obtained some other bits of trim including some new Ford badges, front and rear bumpers, some new clips for fixing the side trim on, and some new black coach bolts for fitting the rear bumper on.  The latter were especially hard to find and anyone who has removed the rear bumper will know that they nearly always seize up and get chewed by mole grips.

Eventually all of the glass was in place and most of the trim refitted.  New black rivets were used to fix the window trim in place.  There were quite a few problems refitting the side trim.  The new  door clips were old and brittle and broke very easily.  Fortunately I had a few spares.  The rear most bits of side trim were hard to get off as the rear mounting point is in the wheel arch and corrodes badly.  Terry wondered if I could get some new ones but I informed him that they were like 'hens teeth'!  In the end he re-tapped the fixing point and fitted it from inside the wheel arch.

Before the final bits of trim such as the rear spoiler and bumpers were fitted Terry finished off the paintwork with a polish using a professional polishing machine.  This helped remove any surface imperfections and gave the paint an exceptionally smooth and shiny finish.  In places the paint was rubbed by hand and this took quite a long time to complete to Terry's satisfaction.

With the polishing complete the new bumpers were fitted.  At the start of the restoration I  had taken all the brackets into work and shot-blast them back to bare metal.  These had then been repainted with black Hammerite and were as good as new.  The new bumpers were fitted front and rear and the indicators attached.  Rubber pads were used behind the brackets to avoid damaging the white paint.

The headlamp surrounds were also stripped and treated to a good shot blast.  The adjusters were all seized up but these were eventually freed by soaking in WD40.  With the adjusters moving again the thread was coated in copper grease to prevent it happening again.  The surrounds were sprayed black with Hammerite smooth and looked absolutely fantastic.  The headlamp bezzels were in a bad way and these were shot blast back to bare metal and Terry then painted them diamond white.  I always think that the front of the Capri looks better with colour coded bezzels.  The plastic headlamp surrounds, bonnet trim and other plastic bits were painted white after a special plastic primer was used.  The front end of the car was now taking shape.  I decided to obtain a set of the black posidrive fixings that attach all the plastic trim to the front of the car.  These were still available from MWR Capri and gave a professional looking finish.

With the number plate attached the front of the Capri was looking finished.  I fitted a brand new electric aerial to the wing and attached it to the (original) radio before all the dashboard went back together.  The rear number plate was moreof a problem as the two original fixings broke on removal.  No problem I thought but these turned out to be very hard to locate.  In the end Mick Ward managed to find me a genuine new pair and these were carefully fitted (it is very easy to drop them inside the boot skin!).  A dose of copper grease should stop that happening again.

Another serious headache was the passenger door mirror.  The original had corroded to the point where it was unserviceable.  These are another very hard to find item.  They nearly always rot away, so much so that most of the salvage boys don't even bother with them.  after phoning around the Capri spares places I found that Martin at Capri Gear was selling replacement mirrors in black plastic.  I believe that these came from a London Taxi and just happen to be identical to the Capri.  Terry was able to spray the mirror white and it is now indistinguishable from the original.

The final job was to attach the decals and badges.  These were measured up on my original Capri so the location was exact.  Terry carefully fitted the Laser badges to the wings and boot and finally the famous Laser chequerboard stripes were fitted just above the side trim.

The final job was fitting the front windscreen.  A new screen was easy to source from a local glass supplier although note that Lasers have brown tinted glass fitted.  There is quite a knack to fitting these screens and it is fair to say that we struggled.  Terry has fitted quite a few and this one was the worst yet.  The procedure is to insert a bit of nylon rope all around the screen rubber which is already fitted to the screen.  The ends of the rope should dangle at the bottom of the  screen as this is where the fitting starts.  Note that Capri screen rubbers are no longer available and it is better to smash the glass rather than damage the rubber!

With the screen offered up to the frame, the trick is to have one person in the car and one person applying pressure to the rubber.  As the nylon rope is gently pulled the screen rubber lifts and clamps onto the metal frame (in theory!).  Terry worked slowly around the screen until the last section popped into place.  We were both sweating by the end of this.  Again not really a job for the DIY enthusiast to tackle.

With the screen in place the Capri was rolled out into the sunlight and we all took a step back to admire the finished car.  She looked absolutely fantastic.  It was like being in a car showroom back in 1986.  The car was spotless from top to bottom.  Engine bay was clean, tidy with metal surfaces repainted and all cables wrapped in spiral plastic.  The painted surfaces shone like mirrors and I was extremely please with the finished result.

The drive home was very enjoyable and soon all the neighbours were gathering around to have a good look...

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