"Vixen" (picture of a picture .circa 1986)
1974 Capri 2800 auto
The story of this car is intertwined with our own stories
When I was in college, I commuted 36 miles each way to the University of Pittsburgh. In August 1974, my parents picked up a used 1972 Audi Super 90 station wagon for me to drive. After 4 months and three CV joints (why DID they put inboard disc brakes on that car?), it was time for a change. I must confess my personal choice was a used 72 BMW 2002tii, but my parents offered a new car, to be my college graduation present, if I would drive it for the remaining 3 years of school. In January 1975, went car shopping ended up at Northway Lincoln-Mercury who had about 25 Capri Mark Is, leftover 74s with a $500 rebate. I chose the medium blue one, V-6, std. black interior, AM radio, got overruled on the manual trans. idea, though. Drove the car home out the door for $3695.00. Within a few months, added tape deck, four speakers, CB, and 13"X5.500" E-T mags. Best-looking car on campus, except for some professors silver 62 Ferrari 250 GT.
Also in January 1975, I started getting weekly allergy shots at our doctors office, given by a very pretty nursing student. One thing led to another, she really liked the car. Her parents at that time, I found out, had a silver 71 Capri 2000. I got up the courage to ask her out on a date, she helped ease it by telling me we were just going to go wash the Capri. Of course, it was a real date, movie & such. I "screened" her for acceptability right then on a long gentle hill downward, I eased the speed up to 100 mph while carrying on a normal conversation. The conversation didnt stop. And it hasnt stopped in the 25 years since . We married in July 1977. I, however, (living by myself in Chicago in May 1977) had gotten tired of being stranded with the Capri it wouldnt run in the rain at all and sold it in a fit of anger back in Pittsburgh in June of 1977 (70,000 miles).
In 1979, one of the guys on my steel-mill crew near Pittsburgh was a local police chief, and I asked him if he could trace my old Capri. He said he could, so I rattled off the VIN number from memory, and he traced it to a fellow who had taken it to Bucknell University with him.
In June 1982, a suspicious ad in the Pittsburgh Press caught my eye . I called, asked a few detailed questions. I hung up and said to my dear wife, "Come on, were going out right now and buy a car." She didn't ask, she already knew what I was up to. It was my Capri, now going with the moniker "Vixen" with 84,000 miles by now, in the hands of its third owner, and a little more worn. I balked at buying it, but my wife insisted, saying she wasn't going to watch me track this car through all of its subsequent owners! So, I forked out $400 and it came home with us for good. Moved to Ohio with it in Feb. 1983, living in a place with no garage, no money, etc., so the car ended up in storage about 1987 or so. Has been in storage ever since. I have been idly, but steadily building up an inventory of restoration parts control arms, gas shocks / struts, the same E-T mags, galvanized body metal sheets, etc. I was looking ahead to when I would resurrect our Vixen.
Now we live on a farm with a large garage in which to work. The PA and Ohio winters have not been kind to the body, so my metal fab ingenuity will get a real workout. I have always done 99% of my own car work, so a full home-grown restoration will likely start this winter, as time and finances permit.
I will post pictures as we get the restoration underway. My wife and I will start on the car as soon as the house is done. Another project that we two are looking forward to!
Addendum: Started my current job in 1990, commuting 38 miles each way. We figured that the 1978 Ford full-size station wagon wouldnt do too well on gas, so acquired a 74 Capri 2800 auto, silver in color, from an old high-school friend in PA. After much trouble getting clear title from the true owners widow, started driving it to work. Two weeks later, I ran a redlight which was swinging in a stiff wind and broadsided a Chevy pickup at 40 mph, causing the truck to roll over! The Capri was a total loss from the cowl forward. Tried to salvage the drivetrain for the blue car, but the auto trans and driveshaft were completely different, so I sold the whole carcass. Murphy's Law....
Visit some of my favorite links!
Our church's homepage: http://www.cros.net/hismsg
One of my favorite places to work: http://www.stld.com Take a virtual tour of a steel mill!
The Society of Automotive Engineers: http://www.sae.org
A fun place to see planes upclose: Niagara Aerospace Museum, Niagara Falls, NY http://www.niagaramuseum.org
A cause I work with: http://members.nbci.com/michrab; Michigan Rabbit Rescue
(©) Copyright 9/2000