In this installment of our on-when-we-feel-like-it-and-you-guys-send-us-something-good Submission Thursday, friend of Hooniverse and all-around cool Czech guy Bobash gives us an Eastern European take on his Eleanor, one that he’s let get away too many times.
If you ask me about my dream car for three succesive weeks, you’ll probably get at least five different answers. Today, I may lust for my friends‘ 1996 Impala SS, which I admire and want since he first mentioned selling it few years ago. But I never have the cash. Two days ago, it was a Chrysler 300 Hurst that got away from me year and a half ago. And tomorrow? Probably another in the long line of old Mopars, interspersed maybe with lust for the new Mustang, X308 XJR Jag or something totally different. I even considered buying a Ford Mondeo ST220 a while ago.
But my Eleanor has to be the car I loved since my early highschool years, the unicorn I nearly caught twice but always let get away. It’s the car that, I’m sure, will eventually come for the third time. It’s nothing outlandishly exotic. Just a mere Ford Capri.
When I was around 14 years old, my focus started to turn from airplanes back to cars (I was a total car nut at age of five, but then the planes prevailed). I was naturally inclined to British car from the beginning, but slowly I began to notice the existence of something called a “muscle car”. And I started to love it. I don’t know why or how, as there were just about none in my country (Czech Republic) at the time for me to see. I just loved them.
Naturally, I knew (or I thought) it was impossible for me to get a Mustang, a Camaro or a Charger at the time. The dollar was high, getting plates for old imported cars nearly impossible and the prices seemed to be so high I could never even think about it. So I found myself a substitute: old European Fords. They were cheap enough for a young kid to at least think about getting one; they had engines that I could think of feeding and they were nearly as sexy. The best of them, as remembered from famous “The Proffesionals“ TV series, was the Ford Capri.
When I started to roam the internet, I found a website of a “Fordever club“, a party of people loving these old beasts. There I found the car which followed me through many following years, which I still consider one of the coolest looking Capris I’ve ever seen. At that time, it was a dark green MkIII Capri with chromed bumpers, grille and rear lights from a MkII, and it was powered by 114hp 2.3 V6. Since that time (maybe ten years now), it got a 200hp Essex three-liter six, X-pack bodykit, wider wheels and many more upgrades. Some people say the bodykit ruined it, but I think it looks absolutely gorgeous.
Since then, I started thinking up my own visions of custom Capris. I went through loving all three generations, with probably all the possible engines that had six or more cylinders. One of the first ideas, which I’m now a little embarassed about, was building an actual Eleanor clone, with lights in the middle of the bumper and all. But I soon got to know better and such ideas were tossed away, together with flamed paintjobs, sidepipes or hood scoops. A few more, much more tasteful dreams came, like RS2600 or RS3100 replicas, or various Turbo versions.
Then, during my first years of college and about a year or two after selling my first old Ford, a ratty and rusty Cortina, I found a Capri for 15,000 CZK. That was maybe half the going rate at the time, about 500 US dollars. I took all my money, borrowed some more and went for it. It had a terrible two tone red/yellow paint job, brown interior, four-cylinder 2.0 engine and it was shit. It didn’t brake, it was rusty as hell, but it was the Capri I could afford. I bought it, drove it some 150 miles home, then drove it some more. Finally, I took it to a body guy to have the underside fixed. What I knew was, the point where rear leaf springs were attached to the body was nearly rusted off. What I didn’t know was that the first sound piece of metal from which you could start any repairs was about foot behind the front wheel. That meant more than the purchase price just in bodywork, and that meant I couldn’t afford it. So, with some sadness, I sold it for a little more than I bought it, and I purchased a 1969 Simca 1301 which was also ratty, but kept together and was sort of driveable (if you didn’t mind pumping the clutch 10 times before you could shift a gear).
I went to see another Capri some time later, after I found a good job besides college and could afford a nicer one. It turned out to be just a perfumed pig and instead I ended up adding two more letters: getting a Caprice, which was probably best car I ever owned – but that’s another story. After some more time, the itch for something small and nimble returned. A friend of mine had a gold MkIII Capri, just like the one Bodie from Proffesionals drove, and he had another one in the garage. The second car was a project, partially disasembled and with anemic 2.0 V6. I could have it cheap with the promise that we’ll finish it together, and it had a wonderful combination of dark gray paint and black vinyl top.
But as it happens if you consider someone a friend good enough to pay him in advance, the progress on the car got slower and slower, with my friend was giving me more and more excuses. In the end, I backed away. I’ve never seen that Capri again, and I’ve never even seen another in the same color combination. The whole saga left me with headache from having to get my money back. Still, I’d made the decision that some time, I’ll buy a third Capri, and I will finish it.
It’s been nearly four years now and the time hasn’t come. Yet. I already know the next one will be powered by a small block Ford, either a replica of the Capri Perana, or more likely of the MkIII based German muscle car, the Mako Capri. One day, I’ll catch my Eleanor. And this time, I won’t release it.
Image Sources: capriman.galerie.cz; capri.fordever.cz