Where were we? Oh yeah, I swapped the Zodiac for a Capri. This came about for three reasons. Firstly, I can never resist the lure of a Capri, especially if it’s rusty and erring more toward the need for a scrap yard rather than a mechanic. Secondly, cash exchanges for the Zodiac were somewhat less than forthcoming and thirdly, I’m an idiot.
Anyway, while I could wax lyrical about my propensity toward investing in old sheds, I won’t. Instead, I’ll tell you a bit about the car.
It was a 1977 Mk2 Capri. Silver in colour, though I don’t think that’s how it started life. I do know it was a 2.0 GL and its first role in life was as a company car for some 1970s big-hitter in London – swanky. Of course, things had gone downhill somewhat since the giddy ’70s, as these pictures will now illustrate…
To be fair to the old heap, it was pretty reliable. This is despite having spent its life being bastardised with the kind care and attention that would make one of those paintings by a well-trained elephant look like the Mona Lisa.
Well, I say reliable. It started more often than not. It had a five speed gearbox and the radio worked. That’s good enough for me. What it didn’t have, however, was an MOT. Before it could get one it would need a great deal of welding. At this point in time I had yet to learn how to weld, primarily because I was a sissy and petrified of burning the car/garage/myself to the ground. A problematic scenario ensued in which I was unable to do the worked needed to put the car back on the road. So, in a style true to form, I took it apart instead.
I then opted to change the wheels for some others I had in stock. This would have been fine had one hub not been home to a locking wheel nut for which I didn’t have the key. This resulted in me getting extremely angry with a drill…
…then the drill broke. So, erm, I got very annoyed at the drill. This tantrum was dished out by a lump hammer. Looking back, I was an angry young man.
After that, something odd happened. Something the likes of which had remained absent from the tenure of any other car under my ownership. I fixed it.
Well, I say I. What I mean is my neighbour Rob. He wasn’t a massive girl, and as such, wasn’t afraid of a welder. So, with metal crudely cut from the panels of bent BMWs and Renaults, the most tragic area of the Capri was welded up and, by the end of it, it resembled something half decent.
Once it cooled down (we’re talking about a lot of welding here) I bolted it back together and booked it in for an MOT. And do you know what? It only went and bloody passed! This is an outcome I base solely on the quality of the repairs, not the fact the MOT tester seemed to still be drunk from the night before.
After that it was all fairly uneventful, maybe because I sold it and bought a Calibra. It’s not that I didn’t like the Capri, hell, I loved it in all of its discoloured, dented, leaky glory. What I didn’t love, however, was the thought of bashing it into another car with my soon-to-be-newborn daughter in there. That thought generated a lot of nope.
It lived on for a few years in the hands of randoms and mates, but last year the rust caught up with it, securing its fate with the car dealership in the sky. I’d normally be sad, but to be honest that was one car that lived way beyond its projected life expectancy. It was – despite being a mechanically great vehicle – a massive turd of a car.