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therealpinto New Reader
3/2/16 1:01 p.m.

I have been a Grassroots motorsporter in different forms since like 1989 (radiocontrolled cars then). When I first saw the magazine GRM something like 10 years ago, it instantly struck a string with me. But living in Sweden, it has been hard getting copies of it. Last year, my sister in law (who lives in Oakland CA) gave me a subscription for my xxth birthday. A very good present, and I soon started following the forum as well as the printed words. I also had the pleasure to meet some of GRM crew at the SEMA show in 2010.

Now I feel mature enough to introduce a thread on my build. It started in 1997 so this will be a retrospective thread, I hope you can endure that.

But before we go into that, some information about myself to "frame" the project. I grew up in and around classic Fords (well, back then they were not so classic, mostly just older cars), my dad had a couple of Cortina GTs and my uncle did some racing in Anglias and a Cortina GT with a Cortina Lotus engine. After I was born my dad went into more mundane daily drivers, at first a 1969 Cortina DeLuxe (1600 X-flow), we had a 1970 Cortina Auto and then a couple of Taunuses.

When I got my licence I "borrowed" my mums 1982 Taunus 2.0 L VIP for a couple of months, before I bought my first own car. It was a 1972 Granada Coupé, 2.3L V6 and GXL spec. It was a wonderful car but a bit scarred by life when I got it. To be honest I wasn't too kind to it (it was a cheap car, I was a poor student) and the V6 was always a bit thirsty. But oh how I liked the car. Things would have to change though and as I was in Prague of all places I stumbled over a MkIII Capri in an alley. I knew I had to have one - actually, I had known that since 1986 when I read about the X-pack kitted turbo MkIII that late Milan Knezevic built.

I went back home from Prague and basically bought the second Capri I found. It was a 1980 2.0S, red (not original colour), some issues but pretty cheap. I had to have it. It would not be a happy relationship for long though, I got the car in June and in November it was smashed to pieces by a guy who hit my left wing at 40 mph. I couldn't afford to fix the Capri but saved the wheels and the head at least.

During university years I ran around in a cheap Escort MkII (oxymoron these days!) and a 1979 Taunus auto. The Escort was a right wreck, the Taunus pretty solid.

As I graduated and got a job it was time for a Capri again. This was 1997, back then you still could find Capris advertised in the newspapers in Sweden, often enough that I could be a bit picky. It had to be a MkIII, it had to be a 2.0S, it should be running and it had to speak to my senses. I looked at numerous (that's how I recall it now at least, probably 4-5 cars) Capris that ticked all the boxes but the last one.

While looking at one option I realized I was quite close to another car for sale. It was advertised as a project, no engine but fresh paint, nice parts. I decided to take a look and suddenly the emotions were right. I can't say if it was the Recaros, the 7x13" 4-spoke Revolutions, the nice exhaust manifold or the seller with a geniune Capri interest. But I needed to have THAT Capri. My parents were not all that impressed by played the role of supporting parents and helped me drag it home.

Let me explain what I got. A 1974 1600 XL, but fitted with MkIII 2.0S panels, interior and drive line. According to the seller, the car had been modified in the early 80's the first time, and then it had been ran with different spec Pintos, chased by the police, took a beating, built back up, raced again and so on. Some years ago he decided to fix the worst parts but ran out of money when the paintjob was done. So it was sat in a garage, looking sorry for itself, and the he just lost spirit. The good parts were the wheels, the Recaros, the fixed bodywork, nice exhaust, stiffer suspension and spare Pinto head with a fast road cam and rejetted carb. Bad parts? No engine block, some scars in the fresh paintjob from sitting in garages. The front screen was cracked, the carpet missing and since most of the car was in boxes - a bit hard to judge the rest. But hey, even back then, for 5000 SEK (roughly £ 450-500) what could you expect.

My plan was a nice daily driver and I will explain how I quickly derailed from that plan...

I picked the car up in April (technically before I graduated) and I spent the summer trying to get the car back together. Sorting through the boxes was an interesting task.

An engine was found and dragged into the garage too.

Summer went along, we sorted some small rust holes in the floor and generally gathered the missing pieces. I found a faultless MkII grille and a Richard Grant rear spoiler at a scrapyard - lucky find, I don't think I paid £ 20 for it all :-) Otherwise the car went together fairly standard, apart from white dials and the alloys from my scrapped Capri.

The main target was to get the car through the MOT, I had gotten a job up north in Sweden and had a deadline when the car would have to move me and some stuff the 800 kilometres north. Me and deadlines is a bit of a delicate matter - I rarely miss them completely, most often I just hit them but sometimes I shift them a bit...

I had the car "done" just in time. One foggy morning it was time to leave from my girlfriends house, and head north. On the first tank of gas I ever filled in this car!

The trip was not free from excitement but the car did good. Stopped by the police twice (first time a flying inspection thanks to a bad contact in one of the headlights, second time because I forgot to turn the lights on - mandatory in Sweden). When I arrived to my new flat the keys were missing but that's another story.

Soon after settling here in Skellefteå I decided that the car was "too nice" to drive in the winter. Another very cheap MkII Escort (£ 170 for a runner I think) and the Capri could rest during the snowy period.

You can see the Escort, and the rather large 205/60-15's on the RW Machos I got for my first Capri.

Winter meant time to chase some upgrades. First on the list was a 5-speed gearbox.

To be continued, as soon as I have the time :-)


RossD UltimaDork
3/2/16 1:25 p.m.

Sweet! I had a '77 Capri.

trucke Dork
3/2/16 2:06 p.m.

Like it! Mine was a '76.

pkingham New Reader
3/2/16 2:18 p.m.

Very nice! My first car was a '74 Mk I followed by a '73 (both V^s) after I rolled the '74 at Sears Point. Then a '72 (2.0L) track car followed by a '73 V6 ITA race car. Loved those cars! None were as pretty as yours, though.

Pushrod New Reader
3/2/16 2:21 p.m.

Great car & story. Capris have so much potential. Welcome to the fold

einy Reader
3/2/16 6:19 p.m.

Very nice, and "welcome"! Just got done watching a recent Wheeler Dealers episode on an Escort Mk II that was made into a rally car. Cool rig .... Wish we had rwd Escorts in the US to play with!

Rodan New Reader
3/2/16 11:29 p.m.

Love the Euro Fords, and Capris are my favorite! I had a MkI ('74) in high school with the 2600 V6. I'm always searching for Capris for sale, but really don't have the capacity for yet another project, though I would dearly love to build an RS3100 rep trackday car. It's amazing how much the prices have gone up in the US recently.

I had a bunch of Dobi parts on mine, and rebuilt the engine with more compression, cam and a Holley 4bbl. Sadly, the only pic I have was back on stock wheels after a theft recovery my freshman year of college... sold the car shortly thereafter to buy a more sensible DD.

therealpinto New Reader
3/3/16 1:30 a.m.

Thanks for the nice comments! I have a history of being on the mailing list (now that's Internet-retro I guess) called Capri-List, so I have had quite a lot of contacts with US Capri enthusiasts. We even arranged a mini-meet at Mt Tamalpais, just north of San Francisco, when I visited once. Must have been 2000? I should probably dig up those photos again.

But back to the story for a while.

As I mentioned, a 5-speed gearbox was first on the list. I found one cheap, but with bad bearings. Back then (1998) I worked at a company making truck bodies. I was allowed to use the workshop and that's what really made it possible to get to work. I started with rebuilding the gearbox (I had never done that before so I was pretty confident I could learn how to!).

The Capri on axle stands, something that would prove to be quite a common sight :-)

Anyway, I started the transformation to 5-speed, and quite quickly faced problems. The bellhousing cracked!

Upon further inspection, the gearbox turned out to be a V6 gearbox, but came with a Pinto bellhousing. This means the input shaft is too long and if someone ham-fisted tries to force it...something will break. New bellhousing sourced but I needed to shorten the input shaft. Now, when I had the gearbox in pieces it would have been easy, but I wasn't too keen on pulling it apart again. After some thought I figured the gearbox may just fit in the lathe at work - and it did. Success!

5-speed Capris were never sold in Sweden (and, in 1998, Internet was still evolving and no E-bay in sight). When I had my first Capri back in 1994, I got some parts from an English bloke in Uppsala (Stephen Flood), maybe he would be able to assist? Surely, he had a 5-speed propshaft that I bought. The crossmember was modified with spacers and off we went!

During the winter I had also tried to solve the fuelling issue. Not that I really had one but I planned to - the same guy who sold the gearbox had a pretty wild camshaft (Kent RL22 I think), and it would never work with the 32/36 DGAV I thought. Twin carbs were very expensive but the local scrapper had a K-jetronic system from a Saab 99 turbo laying around. That was known to support at least 160 bhp, making me 2.8i Capri territory a possibility.

Of course, a Saab K-jetronic does not "fit" a Pinto in any way but I had also collected most stuff off a Pinto EFI engine. With some adapters the K-jetronic injectors could be fitted and then it was mostly a matter of pouring all the other stuff into the engine bay.

Quite an impressive mess, right?

As usual, I had a deadline to work with. We were taking the Capri on a trip down south again, as this was the best car we had. I got it running the day before we were supposed to leave. It had a mid-range hesitation but otherwise it was quite crisp...the throttle response from a satisfactory rich K-jet is something special.

One target of the trip was the annual meeting of Capri Club Sweden, in Jönköping (that's an 1100 km trip). We got there, but just as we entered the car park the engine spluttered and died. All members quickly offered to assist but quite a few shrugged back at the sight above - like an explosion in a spaghetti factory :-) It turned out the condenser had died, fortunately I had a spare. I mean, these were the days when I never went anywhere without a tool kit and some spares...

We had a great time at the meet and quickly decided to join the track day at Gelleråsen, later that autumn. But now I need to introduce a friend that I will have to blame for some of all this. Back in 1997 when I was looking for my project, a guy named Roland called and offered a Capri for sale. Now, his car was way out of my league, a MkIII in mint condition, fitted with the RS kit, reupholstered interior and overall in great shape.

He was also at this meet and we decided to meet up at his house before going to the track. We finally sorted the hesitation in my car, by swapping out the fuel metering head (I had a spare). Roland was at this point working on his turbo fitment for the Capri - using a K-jetronic as well. Common interests...

The track outing was great!

And, as all of you know, taking a car to the track immediately gives you ideas, on upgrades. More power, more brakes, more fun. I seem to have completely managed to disregard the fact that my closest racetrack was 860 km aeay from home...

But then and there I decided to press on with my turbo plans. Roland was the inspiration and even found me a turbo. With the K-jet I had already coming from a turbo car, it was an easy decision. 1999 would see me in my very own turbo Capri.


jimbob_racing Dork
3/3/16 7:43 a.m.

Wow. Great story!

Skittle34 New Reader
3/3/16 10:04 a.m.

I'm hooked! This is an awesome read so far

oldeskewltoy UltraDork
3/3/16 11:20 a.m.

Ahhh Capri's.......

I've had 3! All Mark Is, 2 - 72(2600), and one 74(2800)

The Capri was part of my inspiration on the Corolla.... small, rwd, FUN.

I still look @ want ads for Capri's.....

therealpinto New Reader
3/3/16 11:49 a.m.

Thanks, once again. It's funny, most I know who has, or have had, a Capri, has not had one Capri, mostly several. I make the interpretation that the cars are so nice you just can't have only one (it has nothing to do with quality control, rust issues or parts availability, honestly!). :-)

So, on with the turbo ideas. This must have been the winter 1998-1999, I had the car at a friends garage (where I promised not to do any major works...) for most of the winter.

Roland had sorted a turbo for me, the same kind he was using. It's a Mitsubishi TD04-16T, from a Volvo 850 T5.

Remember, in 1998 there were no chinese Internet turbos...everything was either junkyard turbo, or expensive turbos. This smallish, modern thing was increadibly cheap, known to spool quickly and with an integrated blow-off valve it was an offer too good to decline.

I found an intercooler from a Saab 9000 but it was "too big".

It would not fit without cutting the radiator shroud and I did not want to do that. Why, I'm not really sure now though. Around this time I learnt that I would be able to rent my own garage in the same house where I rented an apartment, so I decided to not strain the relationship with my friend and do major work in his garage. I only had to cobble the brakes back together before moving the car.

Yes, I was wise enough to upgrade the brakes at the same time (or actually before) I upgraded the engine power. With money being tight I tried to find a cheap way. Volvo 240 4-pot calipers (we have them everywhere), and I found a set of used vented discs from a Grp1 spec rally MkII Escort. Almost a bolt-on solution!

With that sort of working I could bring the car home to start the real work. I got a much smaller Saab 900 intercooler, the rare, early, cast alloy one. It fit perfect and was barely visible behind the grille.

The control pressure regulator should really be somewhere else but there it went. The installation was not very much prettier than before.

But it ran! Sort of, at least.

I had some issues before I got the brakes to work but with a Volvo master cylinder and Granada proportional valve it did work out prettty good.

The Swedish rules for car modifications are pretty good by European standards but there are some challenges. Luckily for an older car like this, it's quite easy. I needed a special tech inspection and for the guys to approve the added power I also needed upgraded brakes. Lucky here that I bought a car that already was converted from a 1.6 into complete 2.0 running gear - I already had the larger rear brakes and the Atlas rear axle. With the vented front discs, the Volvo calipers and the Volvo master cylinder it was sufficient for a try. But only after I read the rules carefully and applied some nice manners to the inspector!

The car passed inspection and I had a road legal turbo Capri, in the summer of 1999.

Confident as ever in my engineering I took the 1150 km drive to Strömstad, for celebrating the 30 years of the Ford Capri. Did it work? Yes! I can't remember any large failures so despite a weekend of rain, I call it a success. I met up with Roland too and this time his Capri was also running the turbo, so we had two mean black turbo Capris. And still, I have no photos of our cars from that trip!

There were issues though. I built the turbo setup on the bog standard engine I got in 1997, that was removed from a scrap Capri with un-known mileage and history. And I had detonation - mind you, I was running standard compression ratios and the K-jetronic was setup for the Saab. For the millenium I started to plan some improvements. I wanted to build an engine with a lower compression ratio, and I had started to read up on the Saab APC - automatic performance control, a boost control system with a knock sensor. Those two ideas would mean I had my work cut out for the winter.


RossD UltimaDork
3/3/16 11:55 a.m.

I love build threads that start 20 years in the past. Barely any wait for mucho action!

therealpinto New Reader
3/7/16 2:21 a.m.

Well, some wait will appear since I only have time now and then to type, even though the action is kind of old...

European Pinto engines from the 1970's generally had 9.2:1 CR (and around 95-99 bhp), and that was my base engine. But with crude engine management I had detonation, so I wanted lower compression.

To sort the compression ratio issue my plan was to use a low compression engine from a Transit, Taunus or Granada auto. With 8.2:1 it's a rather nice ratio for boost and the auto engines are usually quite un-stressed. But when I needed one, they were nowhere. I started looking at buying complete cars (even had the thought of getting a running car, and swapping in my current engine and just sell the donor off). Eventually a scrapper not too far away made me a good offer. He had a low mileage Granada auto engine that he had sold the head from, and he had a 205 EFI (electronic fuel injection) engine from a burnt out Sierra.

This package would combine to the kind of spec I was after - 8.2:1, EFI head and the 205 block with an oil return port. Success!

The engine was built up with new bearings, the low CR pistons, fresh paint and I also added a stud for the Saab APC knock sensor. I built a new turbo manifold too and straightened up some other issues.

I wanted to add to the track racer stance so I built something resembling a front splitter.

The styling wasn't too bad but honestly, it wasn't secure enough to be able to provide any kind of downforce. I'm not sure how it managed to stay on during the track meet that year?

A local dragracing team, Hunchback Racing (http://www.hunchbackracing.se/) with their immaculate Volvo PV (all in carbon fibre) had a sponsor meet and great during the autumn and I went there to get inspiration from another mean black machine. We played in different leagues, and still do, but man, that car made some impression...

Now, the APC system could not make detonation go away, I fiddled lots with it and managed to get it to work a bit better. But still I had some detonation issues. I tried dual action vacuum pots for the dizzy, I tried to alter the advance and retard range but it never really worked out.

And what was worse, the car never ran right in the mid range. So for 2001 I decided something had to be done. Out with the K-jetronic, and time to read up on Fords EEC-IV instead.

Now around the millenium the information available on the Internet really took off, meaning that I could read up a bit on the EEC-IV. What got me interested was the ability to mess a bit with both the fuelling and the ignition maps, still crude solutions but better than what I could do with the K-jetronic.

The EEC-IV has a plug for "octane adjustment" that can retard the ignition in three steps as the plug pins are earthed. I had tried to fiddle with the advance curve using different modified vacuum capsules on the dizzy but it never really worked.

For fuelling, I planned to add extra injectors but also try using larger injectors with the EEC-IV. Extra injectors is great in the sense that you can have the standard ECU provide standard fuelling off boost. With the K-jetronic the car always was a bit hard to start and midrange was a pain.

The EEC-IV made for an installation that was at least partly more tidy.

The first turn of the key was exciting...but no success. I quickly found out I had used cheap relays for the EEC-IV, and they would release as the voltage dropped when the starter ran. Good quality relays fitted, and it worked a lot better. Now the car would start easily and idle nicely.

I also decided to upgrade the brakes a bit - with the Capri 2.8i discs, the brake pads overhung the disc by a couple of mm's. BMW E30 discs were modified to fit. The modification was to open up the centre bore slightly, and redrill the bolt pattern. I also turned down the overall diameter slightly.

I fitted a bike computer as a speedo, I was tired of the standard speedo being completely off. This one could at least be calibrated to show the right speed, and I sort of thought it looked a bit cool. I used a white LED to make a small illumination arm.

Now I had a car that was infitely more driveable but I kept having some detonation issues, I added more extra injectors and I reset the timing again and again. By the end of 2001 I had it working pretty good. So good, that I actually can't remember any big plans for the winter...


RossD UltimaDork
3/7/16 8:13 a.m.

Love the seats!

Dusterbd13 UberDork
3/7/16 9:55 a.m.

as a 20 year same project car guy, I approve!!

has yours also gotten significantly more radical as the late 2000's came and went?

ssswitch HalfDork
3/7/16 10:30 p.m.

K-Jet is strange enough in cars it originally came with, the idea of adapting it to another car makes my head swim a bit. Such a cool car with so much history!

Lesley PowerDork
3/7/16 10:52 p.m.

One of my favourite cars, well done!

therealpinto New Reader
3/8/16 3:32 a.m.

The seats were one of the reasons I bought the car, the optional Recaros with "Fishnet" headrests are really nice. Back in 2000 I did not like the chocolate brown interior too much though. Now it's growing on me...but...the story may touch upon those too.

I think it's already pretty clear that the original plans quickly escalated, at first it was supposed to be just a nice daily driver, then a fun summer car and you can see from the updates above that it derailed even more. And that's still 15 years ago! :-)

Using K-jetronic was pretty hot around the millenium here, being mechanical it was known to be pretty easy to adopt and I actually had a number of friends who also built K-jet cars. One reason might be that one of my text books from university (on thermodynamics and energy science) actually had a long section on engine management systems, where K-jet was explained in detail. But the EEC-IV worked so much better.

I looked through some old records and I did some G-tech runs in 2000, they said around 150 bhp at the wheels, 1/4-mile around 16.3 seconds and 0-60 at just over 8 seconds.

When I checked my old data I see that during 2001 I fitted the turbo tail, and I got my EGT probe, exhaust gas temperature.

I also see that it was 2001 that I got the chance to dyno the car. A friend had access to an old school with a dyno so we decided to give it a shot. It was extremely interesting and somewhat revealing!

This is taken from the notes I made back then: I hoped to see about 130-150 bhp, since the G-tech accuracy is a bit doubtful. Imagine the look on my face when the dyno printout showed 168 bhp at the wheels! Torque was 254 Nm. According to the dyno losses calculations, I have about 187 bhp at the flywheel. Compared to the standard figures of 105 bhp (catalytic version) and about 150 Nm, it's pretty good on only 0,6 bar...

The dip in the power curve is partly from a leaking wastegate, I had an area where the engine would just "hover" around 0 bar before picking up. When I fixed that the clutch started slipping. And then the fuel pumps started seizing, so I decided to rebuild the fuel system. Earlier I had used a normal electric carb pump to suck fuel (acting as a lift pump) from the tank, and feed it into a small catch tank that fed the high pressure pump. I now suspected that the lift pump was not delivering enough fuel, starving the high pressure pump. I choose to use a Volvo in-tank pump as a lift pump instead. The pump is small but the Capri tank sender hole is also small! But it would just fit.

This is a photo taken from the filler hole. The pump is strapped to the old sender and it has actually worked great since then! Being in Sweden, where no 2.8i Capris were sold, the "easy" option of getting a 2.8i tank and pump was not so easy...

I said I didn't remember any big plans for the winter of 2001-2002 but today I recall why. I swapped jobs in August 2001 (lost access to the workshop) and then in April 2002 we moved into a new house. Of course that slowed progress somewhat but the new house had a nice, roomy (back then) 2-car garage.

I had plans for 2002 to swap out the EEC-IV but I didn't find the time. The EEC-IV worked fine in many respects but I used the lambda equipped version (only sold in Sweden and Switzerland I think), and it is self learning. It sensed the car was rich and adjusted the map accordingly - so the tune always changed from one time to another.

The first half of the 2002 season saw me on a timed dragstip for the first time. I ran 14.966s @ 145 km/h, not too bad but it was also apparent that I would run out of power at the top end. And the gearing was not too good, keeping it in third across the line meant I hit the EEC-IV rev limiter at 6400 rpm - shifting to fourth meant I lost boost.

During 2002 I also made some cosmetical changes. A "Profile" front bumper and a standard rear bumper was put on. I think it was the first time in 20 years this car had a rear bumper!

This picture is probably from the drag race:

The year of 2002 also had another ace up its sleeve. I met a new friend called Tomas and it would turn out to change things a bit. Tomas approached me with his Sierra XR4x4 that he had put a turbocharger on. It didn't really run though and I helped him a bit. Then the bonnet opened during a test run and smashed the windscreen and roof. Tomas literally put the car under a tree and was quite upset. I saw a chance though - why not use the XR4x4 V6 in a Capri?

We found a 1974 MkI, US import, locally. The car had been laid up for some time and was basically solid, but the paint was flaking and some rust had to be sorted. Tomas father ran a Tractor dealership, that used to sell Ford tractors. A good workshop, some NOS parts in the bins and so the Capri was rather quickly turned into something blue...

With the new Capri team, I spent some time getting the MkI ready. But to be honest Tomas did a lot of the work, I mainly supervised and helped with electrics. Tomas is manically scared of wiring, when we got to know each other the side cutter was the most used tool for electrics...

The 2.8 V6 was pulled from the Sierra, and given a makeover.

And, going in:

The US 2.8 Capri had low compression pistons, we knicked those, but the rare heads with 3 exhaust ports were left behind. The intake manifold spacing does not match the euro heads and we wanted to use the 2.8 EFI.

BTW, Tomas was at this point 20 years old, and still rebuilt the engine, fixed the rust and resprayed the car. Pretty good.

We had the engine up and running late 2002 and for the season of 2003, we had a really great feeling. Two turbo Capris to conquer the world!

The access to the Tractor workshop meant I finally could build myself a new exhaust manifold.

This one had something that at least looked like a proper collector. I couldn't tell a difference straight away but the theory was better at least.

Tomas car was built using a Holset HX35W turbo, the standard 2.8 EFI, a Sierra Cosworth rwd intercooler and some extra injectors. This worked pretty good but one day when I was on vacation, Tomas called and asked if I knew about a better gearbox. The US 2.8 was fitted with the external linkage type F gearbox, and during some enthusiastic testing it split in two... I quickly ordered him to find a couple of type 5 4-speeds from 2.8i Granada MkIIs instead.

With that done we teamed up for the local dragrace.

Actually there were three Capris running this event - another friend, Roger, raced his US spec MkII, with a slightly warmed over n/a 2.8. I'm not sure where I have the time slips but I do remember Tomas at first had some issues with the throttle not opening fully. My car ran OK but Tomas had issues with axle tramp off the line. I tried to coach him, telling him that when my car did that, it was because I kept the revs too low and the tires would not spin enough. After mocking him about that he threw the helmet at me and said "You drive the piece of cr*ap then if it is so easy!"

I decided to really keep the revs up (better to spin and smoke than to bog down?) but I was greeted with a great "ping-bang-whoa". I twisted the propshaft into a corkscrew! Sorry Tomas. Lucky I had more props.

For the last race of the season we were aiming for new records. I decided to increase the boost and Tomas had been fettling away, he also found some great large tires in the skip at the tractor place, they came from some Chevy van but at least on the street they wouldn't hop. And we welded the spider gears in the rear axle. They swiftly broke loose so instead he sort of built his own "mini spool".

With the boost turned up to 0,8 bar I had pretty good hopes - the car felt strong. But a few runs down the strip later it started drinking water and I suspected a blown head gasket. Still, the last run was 14.918s and 146 km/h - a very slight improvement. On three cylinders...

Tomas car was another story. 12.789s @ 177 km/h was pretty impressive back in 2003. We had hoped for mid 13s so we were really happy with that.

My head gasket was indeed a sorry sight:

But I was not too sorry. This was a bog standard Pinto head gasket, both cars were built on a strict budget and this was really my first failure. I saw it as inspiration.

I wanted to try out the "hot cam" I bought earlier so I bodged my engine back together (a used YB head gasket) and put in the RL22 camshaft. With standard valves, standard EFI and a smallish turbo this is a mismatch so bad it is almost criminal. Low load was a pig, above 4000 rpm it started to work and at 5800 it sung like Pavarotti. But at 6400 the rev limiter stopped the fun. Still, I raced a 600 bhp Volvo T5 and was a bumper behind at the 1/8 mile...

With these things in mind we started to make some plans for 2004. It was apparent that we no longer could run bodged standard EFI systems. Megasquirt&EDIS was released and we got two kits. Tomas was not happy with the HX35 - the wastegated exhaust housing meant it spooled slowly and it was hard to regulate boost. Instead he wanted to try a twin turbo setup, and a hotter camshaft.

I wanted to fit a new intercooler, the MS&EDIS of course, and that was about it. Oh, and I found a NOS RS 4-spoke steering wheel at the local Ford dealership!

In August of 2003 I also got married, not that it directly has anything to do with the Capri :-)


RossD UltimaDork
3/8/16 7:14 a.m.

Awesome! It's fun to see what you Euro guys are/were using for parts.

JoeTR6 Reader
3/8/16 8:46 a.m.

I love these cars. My parents had a '73 2600 that I never got to drive. Assuming I survive my TR6 project, one of these is next. I've been lazily looking for as rust-free an example as I can find and may start getting more serious. In the US, these seem to have pretty much returned to earth.

Cool project.

trucke Dork
3/8/16 4:25 p.m.
therealpinto New Reader
3/9/16 1:21 a.m.

I am completely Capri crazy but that might not come as a surprise. The 280 is really nice, something to lust for but I'm afraid I will never have one. But when I started my project, the basic idea was to get 2.8i performance from a Pinto. I overshot a bit :-)

So my own plans for 2004 were pretty restricted. New engine management, new intercooler. As usual it sort of got out of hand a bit and I ended up porting the head a bit more. I actually got it up and running on the MS&EDIS pretty early in the season.

Engine bay a little bit de-cluttered...

The setup here was pretty simple, a 36-1 trigger wheel on the crank, the dizzy was left to drive the oil pump (and the tacho!) and then I had some 465 cc/min injectors. I started with the standard 2,5 bar fuel pressure regulator but soon updated to a 3 bar regulator instead.

Right away the car was better to drive with the mapped management. I fiddled a lot with the mapping and the Saab APC system but I kept boost around the 0,7 bar mark. The 1/4-mile times crept down a little but still not too fast, 14.6 or so ISTR. I also took the car to a racetrack (with turns) for the first time in a couple of years. The lack of a LSD was very apparent...

Now, Tomas Capri, that's where we spent most of the time. An old friend had bought a glassfibre front end for his Capri (snatched it under our noses) but he offered to make a mould and make a copy of that, and the rear wing extensions too. It was all a replica of the 1974 DTM Capris. Exactly what we wanted to make room for more rubber and twin turbos. Space framing the front end seemed like a very good idea.

After many nights we had done this to the poor Capri:

Then we added this:

More late nights and we had something resembling a runner...

Let me tell you, "spaceframing" does not give loads of room. It just makes it easier to access the cramped space...

Tomas cas was actually the first one we started up on MS&EDIS. We were quite nervous because we had gotten the famous old cam grinder Nisse Hedlund to make us a special 2.8 turbo cam. This was after the (at the time) leading turbo company in Sweden had told us that it was useless working with the Ford V6's. Anyway, the new cam had to be run in so things had to work pretty much straight away. We loaded a map from a Rover V8 and as soon as we had fixed the engine earth strap (we always forget that) it burst into life!

The only real downside was that when the earth strap was missing the engine earthed through the braided lines to the oil cooler - so we had a leak. But the engine had to run for 20 minutes... Lucky the tractor shop had bulk supplies of oil!

Bonding the rear arches was a pain and the grp front was too short. Strange. We made molds of the original car and extended it but kept on wondering how come... It was a couple of years later when I found a picture of a car raced in the 70's in Sweden I got the picture. The front end was very similar to ours - but on a MkI Cortina!

Now we were in a hurry - the front had to go on so looks came second. Or third. Or...

The first test was very exciting. We had also fitted a Mustang II 8" rear axle, with a real LSD, and a panhard rod. Would it drive at all?

It did. The only big fault was a large "clunk" every time we braked. It sounded like the engine was loose - but it turned out to be a relay banging against the firewall! With that fixed, we were confident enough to se if it would smoke the tyres.


We did have problems though as soon as we started running the car hard. It would overheat, spew out some water, and then continue as nothing had happened. We tried lots of things. We thought we had it figured. I trailered the car 10 hours to the largest event in Sweden (Tomas was working that weekend), only to blow the headgaskets in the first run.

In desperation we spoke to everyone we knew. At last we found someone who had been driving a Fox Mustang (of all things) with a 2.8 (of all engines) in rallycross (of all sports!). He had the exact same problem - but had found a solution. The 2.8 has the thermostat in the lower hose. By moving it to the top hose, all problems disappeared. We did the same - and it worked for us. My theory is that when the thermal load increases, the thermostat in the lower hose reacts too slow.

With that fixed other issues were next. Grip was non-existent. We tried rallycross slicks but that was just a marginal improvement - still we managed to win a "unofficial" race on them. But in the end a sponsor got us a set of real dragracing tyres, MT ET Streets. Then the axle tramp started again. I suggested traction bars, Tomas said they were for rednecks with american cars. I said they work. He refused. I said we basically are rednecks and if you win, who cares? He gave in the night before the last race... We made some traction bars out of scrap metal and raided the tractor workshop for door stoppers to use as rubber bushes :-)

And work they did! Tomas times were: 12.54 178km/h 8.31 149 km/h 201m 2.02 60f

12.33 180km/h 7.96 150 km/h 201m 1.91 60f

12.08 183km/h 7.74 150 km/h 201m 1.77 60f

11.94 183km/h 7.62 149 km/h 201m 1.71 60f

The 11s run was what we secretly had hoped for. This was with a boost of around 0,8-0,9 bar.

I will always love the rear end of this car. Purposeful.

The front was more "something we didn't have time to finish". BTW, see the bulge on top of the dash? That's a shiftlight made from a tractor rear light. I yelled at Tomas for constantly over revving in first...until I tried the car myself. Literally, as soon as the tires would grip in first, it was time for second gear...

The 2004 season was over, and Tomas wanted more for 2005. We turned our heads towards E85 fuel (the "new thing" in Sweden then) and 2.9 litres. For my own part, I got a baby daughter in September and that really should have dampened my plans a lot. But that thought of a LSD was lurking... I just had to do something about that.


RossD UltimaDork
3/9/16 8:18 a.m.

That looks awesome!

Rodan New Reader
3/9/16 8:27 a.m.

I love box flared Mk1s...

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