The Story of Build 002

Part 3 - Back to Black

 

Without further delay, the next job had to be getting rid of those gold wheels....................

 

   
The gold wheels really did not look good So they were returned to black

 

The Vitaloni electric door mirrors had rusty backs - hardly surprising as they were made from Italian steel!  A good friend of mine, Chas Street, was an expert at working with fibreglass and he kindly offered to make up some new ones for me using black gel coat.  We carefully removed the remains of the old backs and used them to make the moulds.  The replacements were then stuck into the frames with silicon and it was so effective that they are still intact and look as good as new 22 years later!

 

   
     
  Chas' moulds  
     
     
   
     
  The end product..........22 years later!  

 

I continued the "black" theme by coating the rear light lenses and spraying the in-fill panel between them.

It all totally transformed the look of the car.

 

   
     
  The new front view  
     
     
   
     
  And a very black rear !  

 

Work continued through the winter of 1989 / 1990.

Tickford supplied me with the parts to install their double-dip headlamp system.  The outer headlights on a Capri normally switch between dip and main beam, with the inner pair of headlights only active on main beam - this is common to most cars on the road.  The double-dip system replaces all four headlights with semi-sealed Cibie units and all four switch between dip and main beam, giving you a superb view of the road ahead the whole time.  There is quite a bit of re-wiring associated with the modification as the standard Capri wiring and relays cannot support the increased current.

 

   
     
  A very young me installing the headlamps !  

 

The engine bay received a dress-up with braided hoses and new fibre heat shields around the stainless steel exhaust pipes.

 

   
     
  Ready for some more shows now !  

 

The interior was treated to gallons of Connolly hide food (and ate it all).  It was now looking very different to when I bought the car, without a trace of mud anywhere.

 

   
     
  The door lights had been installed at the factory on the original owner's special request  
     
  I added the red pull-switch as an over-ride for the cooling fan  
     
  The original Lucas boost gauge was not working when I bought the car so it was replaced with a Janspeed one  
     
     
   
     
  The boot of 002 has the standard Tickford battery box on the nearside  
     
  The original owner asked the factory to make a similar box for the offside to house the brains of his mobile phone  

 

In December 1989 I decided to take the car back to Tickford in Bedworth for a tune-up and service.  After 002 had been delivered to his original owner at the end of 1983, there had been a publicity shoot at Chivenor Airfield in Devon, where 002 was driven down the runway alongside 005.

 

   
     
  The original press photo from early 1984  

 

I couldn't believe it when I arrived at the factory - 005 was there for some repairs and the two cars met again for the first time since their adventure on the airfield!

 

   
     
  The two friends meet again outside the factory in Bedworth  
     
  Interestingly, this photo also shows the visual difference between the headlamps as  
  A412MHK has the standard Capri lights and A400MOD has the set of 4 double-dip Cibie units  

 

For the full story on the 1984 airfield event, please take a look at the Early Press Photos page.

 

I was delighted to be invited to the Capri Club International 1990 Winter Convention and 002 even received a mention of his forthcoming appearance in the Capri Club magazine.

 

   
The invitation from John Hill And brief mention in the advertising

 

   
     
  Entrance to the convention at the National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh  

 

The convention was run over two days and overnight accommodation had been arranged on site.  I arrived on the Friday evening and checked into my room, complete with business suit to wear for the event as I was taking it very seriously.  Only problem was that I then discovered my shoes were still at home and I only had the scruffy trainers I'd worn for the journey - did I look like a wally!

The best part of the weekend was Dave Wood making a special trip from Bedworth to see 002 on display.

 

   
     
  Dave Wood, Tickford's Service Manager, standing beside 002  

 

On the way home, travelling down the M5, there was an amazing sunset and I couldn't resist pulling off for a quick photo shoot.

 

   
Oooh....those double-dip headlamps again ! About as arty as I get !

 

Next outing was down to Dawlish Warren in Devon for the Capri 21st event organised by the Capri Club International.  I couldn't believe it when 002 won "Best MK 3" and I was so proud collecting the trophy in front of everyone!

 

   
     
  He's a winner !!!!!  

 

We then went to the Capri Club Summer Spectacular at Brean Leisure Park in June 1990, where 002 picked-up 3rd prize in the modified category.

 

   
     
  I was much younger and thinner back then  
     
  Actually, 002 has faired much better than me over the last 22 years !  

 

Our attendance at Brean Leisure Park received a mention in the August 1990 edition of Fast Ford Magazine.

 

   
     
  We are listed in the results table  

 

The Wheels 1990 show at Yealmpton followed quickly after where we won "2nd in class" and then the annual Yeovil Festival of Transport.

 

   
     
  We were entry 164 in the non-concours section  

 

It wasn't only the general public that liked the car.  I also received some great feedback from people in the motor trade.

 

   
     
  I received this lovely letter from Clive Seaton,  
  Chairman of the local Ford dealership  

 

The summer of 1990 was really busy.  I took the opportunity to visit Taw Garages in Barnstaple, who had originally supplied 002 to his first owner.  They were fascinated to see the car again, kindly giving me a key fob and "Taw Garages" tax disc holder which is still on the windscreen now.

 

   
     
  002 returns to the dealership  

 

Together with my friend Chas Street's Corvette that he had restored from a complete write-off, we totally amazed the visitors at the Ilminster summer fete - they had never seen anything like them!

 

   
Filling-up on the way took ages as the cars caused And they were stars of the show
quite a stir at the little local garage when we arrived at the fete
   
   
   
We couldn't resist the opportunity............ For a quick photo shoot at the end

 

We did attend a couple of other car shows in 1990 - the Dobwalls Classic Car Display where I actually met Martin Wild, the original owner and a further Capri Club International event in Nottingham.

 

   
     
  Unfortunately I do not have any photos from the Dobwalls show, but here  
  is one from Nottingham, with 002 third from the left in a pile of Tickfords  

 

Towards the end of August 1990, I was approached by another good friend of mine called John Purland who ran Yeovil Tyre Specialists.  John was branching-out into the alloy wheel polishing business and would I like my wheels done for free in exchange for some advertising?

 

   
     
  John's work was exemplary  
     
     
   
     
  The overall effect was stunning  

 

Now back in the early 1990s, huge In-Car Entertainment systems were becoming all the rage and I fell foul of temptation.  I installed a 500W system based exclusively on Kenwood components.

 

   
Kenwood radio cassette and graphic equaliser CD-changer and amplifiers in the boot
installed in the centre console Guess I wasn't planning on carrying any suitcases !

 

More out of curiosity than anything, I entered 002 for one of the first "sound off" competitions in Bristol.

 

   
     
  The official entry certificate  
     
     
   
     
  We came 25th, which at least wasn't last  
  Not a bad result considering that this was the first large installation I had ever done  

 

By comparison, the autumn of 1990 was much quieter! 

The only real upgrade carried out was the conversion of the MacPherson struts to roller bearing top mounts - this reduced friction and made the steering noticeably more positive.

 

   
     
  Plus they looked nice too !  

 

I wrote to Performance Ford to enquire whether they would be interested in running a feature on 002 and received a positive reply from them.

 

   
     
  002 is going to become a celebrity !  
     

 

My car subsequently appeared in the January 1991 edition of Performance Ford magazine.

 

   

 

At the time the article was written, I also had the only automatic Tickford (Build 079) staying with me for a few weeks.  C444HOE was owned by Michael Hillyer, who was the retired Sales Manager of the local Ford dealership and an old family friend.  Michael had approached me to ask if I would install the double-dip headlight conversion for him and I readily agreed.

Michael stayed overnight when he delivered the car and we had a very memorable time, staying up until the early hours talking about Tickfords and carrying on the conversation immediately before breakfast.  Sadly, within a few short years, Michael had passed away and 079 is now in the ownership of Tickford enthusiast Jon Cristini.

 

   
     
  C444HOE arrives on a cold damp morning  
     
     
   
C444HOE's engine bay Close-up of the new headlamp relays and wiring
   
   
   
Posing for the Performance Ford photographer Briefly having two Tickfords was great fun
   
   
   
     
  Ford Granada automatic transmission - installation was contracted out to another company by Tickford  
     
  Driving C444HOE was an experience - just as powerful as other Tickfords, but in my opinion,  
  slightly faster as there was nobody to screw-up the gear changes !  

 

During the winter of 1990 / 1991 I made a few changes to the interior of 002.  Firstly, it had always amused me that the car was capable of 140mph, but had the standard Capri speedometer, calibrated to...........140mph.  I approached Speedy Cables of Swansea and they did a super job, re-calibrating my speedo for 180mph and etching a new face complete with Aston Martin wings.

 

   
A standard Capri's 140mph speedometer A400MOD's recalibrated speedometer
   

 

I retained the shortened gear lever concept that had been on the car since the factory, but installed a "quick shift" system from Ian Willacy Engineering.  This created an extremely short travel and the gear lever now felt more like a switch than a lever.

 

   
     
  Gear switch rather than gear stick now!  

 

I had never really used the delay for the rear wiper, so this was removed from the top left corner of the dashboard and a proper Kenlowe over-ride switch for the cooling fan fitted in its place.  The switch would enable me to get the fan running sooner if I was approaching traffic and the warning light illuminated whenever the fan was active, even if it had been turned-on automatically by the Otter temperature switch - it would give me early warning of a classic Tickford Capri fault - failure of the Otter switch.

 

   
     
  Much more important to know the cooling fan is operating  
  rather than the rear window being wiped every 30 seconds!  

 

A major upgrade was the installation of a complete Zemco cruise control and trip computer system.  I had seen a Zemco system on the immaculate Capri 008 of Shawn Hickman at the 1990 Capri Winter Convention.  My cruise control was electronic (rather than the usual vacuum-operated system) and the controls were fitted to the end of the steering column light switch lever.  The trip computer extended from the lower dashboard panel via a gooseneck.

 

   
     
  The interior now looked like this  

 

May 1991 saw the start of car shows again, with our first attendance being at the Western National 6th Plymouth Rally down on Plymouth Hoe.  Once again, 002 generated considerable interest and I won the trophy for "Best Capri".  It caused a bit of an argument between the judges and some other Capri owners that had entered, as my car technically wasn't "concours"...........but then I had never claimed that it was!

 

   
     
  002 appears at the top of the listing for his section  
     
     
   
     
  He was a great hit with the visitors  

 

We then went back down to Devon again for the 1991 Capri Jamboree at Dawlish Warren, followed by the 1991 Wheels Festival at Yealmpton.  The Capri Club International had a stand at Yealmpton and 002 was joined by FMJ925Y which was one of the original prototype cars.  We won the David Rowland Funfare Trophy for being "Best in Class".

 

   
The official programme We were top of the list again !
   
   
   
The Capri Club International stand With FMJ625Y and A400MOD in attendance

 

I have just un-earthed some video footage that shows 002 at the 1991 Dawlish Warren Capri Jamboree and also a short documentary that I compiled back at home.  The quality isn't brilliant, but I have uploaded the videos to A400MOD's You Tube channel and you can access this by clicking on the image below.

 

   
  A400MOD You Tube Channel  

 

 

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