Ford Capri

Capri Swarm 2003

Story by Bev Connell
Photos by Mike Peissner, Rob Harber, and David Valone

The 7th Annual Capri Club North America (CCNA) Swarm 2003 was held at National Trail Raceway - Ford Expo 2003. On Friday, we spent time at the track setting up the displays and checking out some of the other fine Fords in the compound. We put Dan's JPS on the dyno to see what it would do. After 3 pulls it measured 249 hp at 246 ft.lbs. or torque. More could have been obtained, but with the mix running a bit lean, Dan did not wish to risk burning out a valve. Besides, it gives Dan a little winter project (if he hasn't already got this solved).

The rain held off until 5 PM just as we left the event grounds and headed back to our Swarm Headquarters hotel; Amerihost Inn in Hebron. There we gathered in the lounge and dined on pizza, beer and pop (generously provided by Team Blitz). Many Capri stories were shared. Later that evening we gathered in the parking lot and greeted Capriers as they arrived. Much time was spent catching up on everyone's Capri interests and projects. Night soon turned to morning.

Saturday we had beautiful weather all day at the Swarm. This year we had good attendance. It was very notable the quality of the cars that showed. Every Capri shown was in the best of shape. It made it very close in the voting tally when the time came to judge the best stock and best modified Capris.

  • 3 Mark 1 (stock) - John Ertz, Steve & Donna McEwen, Bill Morrison
  • 4 Mark II (stock) - Scott Madson, Kenny Heck, Russell & Beth Davis, Team Blitz
  • 7 Mark 1 & II (modified) - Dan & Nick Vance, Rob Harber, Eddie, Marina and Alyssa Medina, Joe Bennardo, Larry & David Wells, 2 racers
  • 3 Aussie Capri
  • 3 Fox Chassis Capri
  • 3 Merkurs - Tony Vissoc, Mark Hamilton, and Wayne Kline
  • 2 Mustang GT - David Wells, Bev Connell
  • 1 Cortina GT - Pete Roberts
  • 1 Turbocharged Commanche - Spirit of Capri Mike Robertson and Ken Hall

Thirty-two CCNA members attended the annual banquet and over 200 people came over to visit our club area. A particial list of CCNA members who flew in or drove their stand bys were, David Valone, Chris Rolls, Wayne Tofel, Andy Duesk, Mike & Marcia Peissner.

Of the events, the Best quarter-mile E.T. was won by Dan Vance He flew down the track, putting in an impressive time of 14.24 sec at 109 MPH. Joe Bennardo in his turbo Capri gave it a great run for its money with a 15.6, a 3-second improvement over last year.

Rob Harber gave us a great tech clinic covering the finer details of installing a V8 into a Capri. His car is a must-see if you ever get the chance.

One of the tougher events was judging the Capris. This was because every single Capri that was on display was a fine representation of its class. The cars were all so very clean inside and out. The Best Stock award went to Steve and Donna McEwen, whose lovingly cared-for 1973 Capri looked like it just came out of a showroom. Steve is also the original owner of the car.

Best Modified went to Dan and Nick Vance. This modified Mark II body JPS racer, imported by Dan from Germany (while he was on duty over there), is a stunning sight.

Best Children's Model by Nick Vance. It wasn't a Capri, but it was a Ford.

The Turtle trophy was even difficult to determine at first, for nobody had any car issues at all getting their capris to the meet. However, during Saturday David and Larry Wells decided to bring their RS2600 over to a muffler shop to tighten up some clamps. Then they ran into a no-start problem. Norm took off from the Swarm for a while in search of a rather unique alternator to fit this unique Capri. All was sorted out in the end, and they weren't delayed for too long, but they were the turtles for the meet.

To wrap up the events, the Road Rally was won by Kenny Heck who put in the least miles and obtained the most correct answers along the way. David and Larry Wells came close, but failed to have the upper- hand advantage by sending poor David walking for several miles to obtain some information about a particular high school.

We all met at Home Town Deli, the caterers own restaurant, for a lovely chicken dinner. Norm had brought in a rather interesting centerpiece that fit perfectly behind the dessert table. It was a 1.7 Turbo from a Zakspeed Capri on an engine stand. Two presentations were given this year. The first presentation was by Wayne Tofel - president of the Capri Club of Chicago. Wayne brought photos, newsletters and various items of interest for everyone to see. Wayne shared much history of the club, who will be celebrating its 30th anniversary next year. Wayne was also hailed in with song from Larry Wells, David Wells and David Valone. Norm Murdock presented the 100th Ford anniversary celebration that several members attended down in Dearborn this past June. Norm, of course, managed to arrange a rather unique and exciting happening by having his Edsel Ford II RS2600 Capri displayed in the presidential building. All the company's key players would have walked past this car. Let's hope some of major influence keep it in mind when they are busy at their drawing tables. Norm had much to talk about with this event for the Capri is also one of the Heart and Soul collection - the top 25 Fords of all time, as picked out by journalists worldwide.

After the awards were given out, door prizes were won by many. We packed up after that and had a club meeting in the lounge of the Amerihost. The Club decided to launch a Club Mail List and add some new events and a Restored Category award for next year's Swarm. The meeting adjourned around 1 am Sunday morning.

On Sunday morning, with predictions of possible showers,it did not look good for the autocross event. However, we all trekked out to Columbus Speedway to see if it would be possible. When we got there, the UFOs were there, but the track was too slick from the night before. We wheeled all our Capris and 2 Mustangs (Capri wanna-bes) out on the track for a group photo and elected to follow plan B. Plan B was to drive west to Dayton Ohio and tour the U.S. Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB. So the convoy of Capris headed west. Once there, we all sat down for a quick lunch and headed into the museum. If you haven't been there, plan on it and plan on spending a whole day to take it all in. It is by far the largest of it's kind in the world. For those who wish to come down for next year's Swarm either Thursday or who stay over until Monday, maybe we can plan for a convoy out there again.

At 3 pm our group met in the lobby and said our good-byes for another year. It was time to go home.

Thanks to:

  • Wayne Tofel, guest speaker at the banquet and president of Capri Club of Chicago
  • David Valone, web master, for his frequent Swarm event postings, trivia contributions and advice on banquet and swarm event details
  • Rob Harber for his tech clinic on his V8 swap
  • Creative Catering for a wonderful banquet dinner
  • Larry Wells, autocross chair, whose event was rained out, but will be ready for next year's gathering. Larry also contributed many questions to the trivia contest.
  • Norm Murdock for all his support, presentation, Zakspeed engine center piece (WOW), and helping all of us keep our Capris in fine shape and running smoothly. Norm also looked after securing a spot at the Ford Expo for us to gather and some of the finer details of making this Swarm come together smoothly.
  • Joe Bennardo for managing the Listserv in aid of supporting the Swarm gathering and arranging the block booking of the Headquarters Hotel.
  • Dan and Nick Vance for helping me out with various tid bits that helped pull this Swarm all together.
  • Photographers David Valone, Mike Peissner and others too many mention here.

I look forward being the Swarm chair for next year. Joe has agreed to help me out again. On the way back home I had the pleasure of obtaining much advice from Nick Vance who has past on some dandy suggestions that I would like to incorporate next year.

If you have any more suggestions or corrections, please let me know. E-mail me now so that I can keep this page correct. Photos, please pass on to webmaster David Valone.





Editor's Note: The whole club thanks Bev for running a super event. She planned a meticulous schedule, nice banquet, fun rally, scavenger hunt, children's activity book, emceed the awards, played cashier and quartermaster, donated her car for parts runs, all with smiles and good cheer! We are very lucky to have such a great event chair!




Capri Swarm 2003 Dan Vance Capri John Ertz Ertz alien Swarm McEwen Capri Capri Swarm 2003 Medina Capri Kenny Heck Capri Swarm Joe Bennardo Capri Swarm banquet Capri Swarm autocross Rob Harber Larry and David Wells Capri Wells Capri RS2600 Capri Swarm Zackspeed Joe Bennardo Madson Capri Bev Connel Capri Swarm Wells Capri Swarm Autox Medina family Capri Swarm Rob Harber Dan Vance Capri Swarm dyno


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