Ford Capri

Capri Swarm 2002

Story by Bev Connell and Norm Murdock
Photos by Bev Connell

Connecticut Capri 1973

The 6th annual CCNA Swarm started on Friday with a gathering at National Trail Raceway - Ford Expo 2002. The focus of this day was to get together and chat about what the past year has been for our Capris as well as preparing Razorback - the Club car for this Swarm. Razorback is a 1972 Capri - a little tired, however very functional. It was being prepared for CCNA members to use on Sundays autocross event. At the Expo site, much attention was to repairing it's front end with tie rods. Mike R., Jeff Enge, Lee Shepherd and Norm Murdock spent a few hours replacing the tie rods. However after a quick test drive it was determined that the rack and pinion was in need of replacement. Not a problem as Norm assured us. As Capris rolled in over the course of the day, the event moved from the Expo site to the Amerihost Motel. Razorback was driven over and moved up onto a grassy knoll, where the body was taped and bondo for painting ... in Massey Ferguson tractor red! Dan Vance, and Toni Shepherd also dug into to preparing this Capri for it's paint job. As the night Chastain Capri rolled on, the motel lights provided just enough light to make that car shine! Everyone enjoyed pizza, beer and pop which was provided by Team Blitz as its annual hospitality event. Mike's 74 belted out some great tunes to round out a true Capri party.

Saturday, the sun was up for a early start to the day. The Swarm gathering started at 9 am at National Trails. Over the day, 17 Capris were present. This year we were into the variety of Capris, we managed to show off:

8 Mark I Capris Larry Wells, David Wells, Mike R., Carl Triebold, John Volbers, Lee and Toni Shepherd. Jeff Lantz, and Team Blitz
2 Mark II Capris Glen Faessler, Joe Bennardo
1 Mark III Capri Dan Vance
1 Fox Capri Kenny Heck
1 Chastain Capri Norm Murdock
2 Merkurs Toni Vissoc and Don Haulsee
2 Aussie Ford Capris

Razorback Capri Many CCNA members who's Capris weren't quite up for the trip either flew in or drove their next best vehicle for the event...Capri-ers at heart were David Valone, Bev Connell, Jeff Ferrin, Jeff Enge, Rob Harber, Tony Vissoc, Charlie Totten, Don Haulsee and Francisco Santo-Silva.

Bracket racing was fun to watch. Both Joe Bennardo and John Volbers raced their Capris in a head to head - grudge race. Both turned an 18 second time, with Joe's turbo just nipping John's V6 C4 car. Both cars were having a some tuning problems during the run. There was a big block drag racing Capri, Necromancer, which is a a real vintage Pro Stock car. It sported an FE-428 with DOVE heads and flying down the track within the 10.15 second range. It has been at the Swarm/Ford Expo on 3 occasions and is always a treat to check out. Capri Swarm 2002

At noon the events continued to take off. Joe Bennardo presented a Tech Session on the conversion to a 2.3 turbo unit that he has successfully completed.

Afterwards touch ups to Razorback continued, just to get it just right... or maybe sticky enough to keep it grounded on the race track.

The next event was judging the Capris that attended, followed by the trivia contest. Once the contest forms were all CCNA Capri Swarm handed in, we were off on the fun road rally course. The course layout had us meandering through the country side and ending up at the Amerihost. From this point we all got refreshed and headed over to the banquet hall for a delicious buffet dinner. Awards were handed out and were won by the following. One note the trivia contest was a tie between both David and Larry Wells. Norm pulled out the Capri history book and gave them 3 very difficult questions for the tie breaker. By one question Larry was declared the winner.

Trivia Contest: Larry Wells
Longest Distance
Driven in a Capri:
Dan Vance
Road Rally: Jeff Lantz and Larry Wells
Fastest Drag ET: Joe Bennardo
Fastest Autocross ET: Norm Murdock
Best Stock: Carl Triebold
Best Modified: Lee and Toni Shepherd
Turtle trophy: Dan Vance

Dan Vance who also had the furthest to travel, also had the greatest hardship to get to this years Swarm. The Sunday before the swarm he had been running a lapping event and the screw had come loose that held the points in place. It Capri Swarm 2002 turned out the screw was stripped!! So using some good backyard mechanics..he took a piece of a cigarette package, folded it up and put it between the points and the outer case. He ran the rest of the event and came first in his class. So the Thursday before the swarm he installed a aftermarket ignition to replace the point set-up. It ran well, so no problem.

So as he was heading out at 4 AM he headed to the swarm. He didn't even get 10 miles from his house when the car acted power etc etc. So he turned around and went back home. Dan checked the installed igition system and everything seemed OK. He headed out again..Nope, that wasn't it, the car was still chugging and sputtering. Back at the house for the second time, he changed the coil to a new one. Dan had left the original one in when he installed the kit. Dan headed out again, about the same distance, car died again. Now what??? He limped home and tried to figure out what was wrong. Firstly, he was not even awake enough to think straight!!! So after a quick coffee, Dan decided to check for fuel...BINGO!!! little or no fuel in the line from the pump. Since nothing is open that time of day... Dan had a used fuel pump in his stock that had been sitting around for OH..8 years!!!! but stuck it in anyway and headed out again. Seemed ok.... After a couple nervous hours Dan started to relax, but then just before the boarder the car started to act up again..OH NO!!!!

Capri Swarm So he called his brother who lived close by and pointed him to a Canadian Tire store. Of course no original fuel pump in stock, so he picked up a universal electric pump to stick in. While waiting for the pump, out of the blue he thought of the filter. Could not remember the last time it was changed. After replacing the filter...not a lick of trouble the rest of the week-end. Even during the autocross event. To add the final, on the trip home the speedo died and a mile from the house he got a bunny. Dan guesses that neither of us where awake at 3:30 in the morning!

To add to his dismay, Dan's original intention was to bring his JPS 1977 Capri down to show. This car is a must to see! Hopefully next year Dan will honor us with it's presence.

After the awards were presentated, Norm Murdock presented us with a history Team Blitz's racing career. Team Blitz won more SCCA road races then any other Capri racing team. In 1986 and 1987, Team Blitz's very intense period of racing for it's Divisional Championships, both years took first place overall. Team Blitz won many pole positions and set many Ford Capri track records - Brainerd, Waterford Hills, Indianapolis, Blackhawk, Mid-Ohio, Grattan and Road America. The team took over 50% of the first place finishes of all the races they entered. Awards won by Team Blitz include; 1986 Rookie of the Year, Ray Thompson Cup, 1986 Driver of the Year, Bill Niemeyer Award, 1987 BF Goodrich Team T/A Champion and 1987 Outstanding Achievement in Regional Racing. Team Blitz was a watched well by their competion for they also were victorious over the two classes above their groups' in a few races. As a true ambassador for the sport of racing Norm Murdock also and gave us much to think about in the lines of preserving the Capri for future generations to enjoy. In order for us to preserve such a worthy car, it is very clear that the Capri's future lies in our hands. A museum for the Ford Capri is what's needed and we see the importance to start now on this project.

After a long day filled with great activities, food and presentations, door prizes were then drawn and the evening drew to an end. Some folks went back to their rooms to prepare for an other early start, while a few pressed on and met at the lounge of the Rammada Inn in Heath. Mercury Capri

Sunday started early with a caravan of Capris heading south on I-270 to the Columbus speedway for the annual autocross. Capris involved were that of John Volbers, Lee and Toni Shepherd, Joe Bennardo, Kenny Heck, Dan Vance, David Wells and the debut of the club capri - Razorback!

Razorback is the most special Capri in it's class. Not only was it tenderly prepared by many Capri enthusiasts, it also had some interesting modifications. Razorback had a total prep of:

CCNA Capri Swarm 2002

Razorback had several drivers: Mike R., Jeff Farrin, Rob Harber, Bev Connell, Norm Murdock, Joe Bennardo,Toni Shepherd, Carl Triebold, and Rob Eddy. Other cars in the field included Glen Faessler's 2000 Mustang GT, there was a Cobra Mustang, Pinto wagon, mini truck, and a lincoln Town car... all of who could not measure up to the mighty Razorback capri.

Larry Wells prepared us all with a tour of the cone layout around the track, giving us some quick advice on which cones to enter high or low... and of course.. slower is better...

Extra awards for autocrossing were won by:

First Place over-all Capri: Norm Murdock
First Place guest driver of Razorback: Rob Harber
First Place Modified Capri V6: John Volbers
First Place Turbo Capri: Kenny Heck
First Place Stock Merkur: Tony Vissoc
Second Place guest driver of Razorback: Jeff Ferrin
Second Place Modified Capri V6: Dan Vance
Second Place Turbo Capri: Joe Bennardo
Third Place guest driver of Razorback: Mike R.
Third Place Modified Capri V6: David Valone

As the day moved on, those who had a long drive ahead of them left around mid afternoon. All enjoyed this year's Swarm and look forward to a fabulous gathering next year. Note that 2003 is Ford's 100th anniversary and work for the next Swarm has begun.

Thanks to....

Thanks to everyone who could attend this event in person. Everyone who attended this event came from all over the United States and from Canada. Of special note: Capri Swarm 2002

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