Ford Capri

Capri Swarm 2000

Story by David Wells, Larry Wells, Norm Murdock, and David Valone
Photos by David Valone, Bart Manhard, Larry Wells, and Mike Robertson

Capri Swarm 2000

CCNA Capri Swarm 2000 took place over Labor Day weekend (Sept 1-3) at National trails Raceway, near Columbus, Ohio. As in years past, The Swarm, was held in conjunction with the Ford Expo. We had a total of ten Mk 1 and Mk 2 Capris, two Merkurs XR4tis and a Merkur Scorpio for the show.

CCNA members took home lots of trophies, with Glen Faessler taking overall small car (Stock class "F") honors in Ford Expo car show for the second year in a row!

Several CCNA drivers won their classes at the autocross, including Glen Faessler, John Volbers, Norm Murdock, and Larry Wells.


Swarm 2000
Jon Terry's Mk II V6 (photo: B. Manhard)

Mike Rahamut didn't get very far. He was having trouble by the time he reached David Wells' house in New Jersey, but they decided to press on. Mike's '74 2800 was running badly, but got as far as western NJ (almost to the Pennsy Turnpike) before he decided to stop for parts/assistance. Dave & Mike plugged the carb holes for the decel valve a bit more elegantly, (the previous plugs looked suspicious, and they suspected a vacuum leak.) but still no luck. After that, Mike told Dave to go on alone. Later, after replacing the points, he got thing going again, but only got a bit past Harrisburg, PA before the car gave out again. Only days later did the problem reveal itself: a bad condenser. Dave W. arrived in at the Lennox Inn (where most of the Swarm participants were staying....) about 10:00 that night. David Valone and David Schultz had arrived earlier from Virginia, but had already gone to sleep.


Swarm 2000
Norm races the V8 Capri (Photo: B. Manhard)

Early in the morning, Norm, Dave Valone and Dave Schultz left for National trails to set up the Team Blitz truck. Dave Wells arrived at the track later that morning, only to find David Valone and his partner in crime, Dave Schultz, looking for a ride to the parts store. Dave V. wanted cooler spark plugs. Three Daves in one Capri! Two parts stores later, the Daves returned to the track. We watched a few drag races, including a couple of runs by Pete Snyder's Cortina wagon, with a Formula Ford engine! Norm's V8 rough-rider turned in a 14.9 quarter mile time, besting a 351 Cougar Eliminator.

We decided to have the Team Blitz Customer Appreciation dinner at the local "Fridays". (Thanks Norm!!!) liquid refreshment followed. Larry Wells arrived late on Friday. More liquid refreshment was required to keep the Swarmers happy while keeping Larry company as he ate dinner.


The main day of the event. We had a total of 10 Capris (not much by European standards, but pretty good for North America....)

Capris in attendance:


Team Blitz Capri tech session
Norm's tech session (Photo: D Valone)

Norm held a tech session on Saturday afternoon on Capri springs. As one might expect, Team Blitz springs were prominently featured.

Later in the afternoon, Mike Rahamut finally made it, but in a rented Mitsubishi! (hey, how did the Ford club organizers let him in the gate in THAT thing???) Mike's '74 2800 was still stuck in Pennsylvania with a bad condenser....

David Valone was the only Capri owner brave enough to put his Capri on the portable dyno that was at National trails. The colder plugs hadn't solved his problem, and his engine still was running on 5 of its 6 cylinders. He thought the diagnostics might help. Even in its diminished condition, he got 135 HP at the rear wheels.

David Valone's Capri on the dyno
On the Dyno (Photo: B. Manhard)

Dave Wells spotted a number of interesting "Fox" Capri dragsters. One of the most interesting 1984-1986 Capri GS with a supercharged 3.8 liter V-6 engine out of a Thunderbird SuperCoupe.

We ran the gimmick rally to get back to the Lennox Inn. Several teams were tied for the most right answers, (none of the competitors found the brand of Ice Cream served at King Kone....) but Bart Manhard and Mike Robertson had the correct mileage as well, and they were declared the winners. Back at the Lenox, we told stories at the bar for a while, then went to the banquet.

Ira gave a nice slide show titled "A Tale of Two Capris" on the differences between a street Capri 2000 and a trans Am 2.5 Capri 2000. (just a few......). We also gave out the awards at the banquet.

Bart Manhard
Bart Manhard


Bart Manhard
    Swarm 2000 autocross
(Photo: Mike Robertson)

We went to Columbus Motor Speedway, a circular 1/3 mile NASCAR track, instead of National trails. We met up with the folks at United Ford Owners (UFO) who had marked out a tight autocross course with cones. We had so many drivers, we doubled their entry field! Larry Wells gave the novices a lecture on autocrossing.

After Larry's lecture and track walk, we took a parade lap of the course to get a better feel for the track.

Larry Wells
Fast is slow, and slow is fast!
(Photo: Mike Robertson)

The UFO folks had brought a variety of Fords and other vehicles. Believe it or not, somebody even drove a lincoln Town Car!! (he got a decent time, too!) One of the UFO guys had a Ford Pinto with a turbocharged 2.3 liter "lima" in it.

Glen Faessler didn't want to race his award-winning '77 Capri, so he drove his modern Mustang instead. Ira Schoen didn't want to race his '73 Capri either, so he drove Norm's V-8. Several other people took turns with the V-8 as well.

Lessons from the Autocross:

Swarm autocross
Parade Lap
(Photo: Mike Robertson)
  1. V-8 Capris are lots of fun! Norm's 289 V-8, with a wide body and low-stallspeed converter had a disadvantage in the super-tight course. But it roared through the kink trap when you could open it up a little. There were lots of broad smiles from the 8 guest club members, who got 5 passes per. It's too bad the V-8 Blitzmobile is too rusty to live, because it's REALLY fun to drive!
  2. Don't autocross against Kenny Heck and his Merkur XR4Ti unless you're REALLY good. Kenny is a really nice guy, and looks totally innocent, but he's pretty darn fast around the race track.
  3. Don't autocross against John Volbers and his '73 2600 unless you're REALLY good. John turned in the fastest time of the day (of the Capris) in the autocross with his narrow, nimble, Comp T/A-shod V6, and well-honed driving style.
  4. Make sure your sway bar is FIRMLY bolted into place. Dave Valone got a DNS in the autocross due to that particular problem.....
  5. In a three car class, (F2/SS) it's easy to get second place when one of the cars gets a DNS. (Dave Wells came in a distant second behind John Volbers.)
  6. In a one car class, it's easy to get first place, isn't it Larry?
  7. Road racers don't always make good autocrossers. Larry said at the beginning: "If autocross were any easier, we'd have to call it road racing" Ira won the newly established "King Kone" award (yes, named after the ice cream place) for his complete disregard of the "suggested" line. There are lots of orange cones in Columbus for sale real cheap. Black tire marks pre-installed!

Anyhow, after the day's racing was done, we handed out awards, cleaned up the track, and headed back to National trails to clean up the swarm site there, and pack up Norm's truck. After that, we went for ICE CREAM! (at the Dairy Queen, not King Kone.....)

Thanks to.....

Swarm autocross
Team Blitz hot-rod

Thanks to the organizers of this year's mega-successful Capri Swarm, on behalf of all of us in attendance. Of special note:

Final notes:

Larry has FINALLY named his '71 2000: Col. Mustard. (credit to David Valone for thinking of it.....)

Copyright © 1997 Capri Club North America. All rights reserved.