(recently on the Internet there is a meme for auto enthusiasts to write a letter to their first car. Here in mine.)
It was a fun, strange ride
wasn't it? From my mom of all people bringing you to my attention to
parking you on the grass at mom's when we moved to Georgia 5 years
I remember my mom coming home from getting gas in her fake-wood
panel Ford LTD station wagon telling me she'd seen a car she thought I'd
like. As a 16 y/o boy having your mom tell you she found a car that she
thinks you'd like, I wasn't holding out much hope for what she found.
Well, I was wrong. This was before the Internet, so I hadn't heard of a
Mercury Capri before. But I was hooked.
Louie and I went to look at you and did a full inspection. Found a
few things wrong but nothing that couldn't be fixed. I led my Dad
negotiate the price and John and I went to pick you up (I didn't know
how to drive stick yet.) I immediately washed and started compounding
you, removing years of neglect on the paint.
As luck would have it, I
couldn't drive you for a few days, mainly because it was Deb's 16th
Birthday (you remember her right?) I distinctly remember pointing to you
in the driveway when her mom picked me up for Deb's birthday party.
(Deb has commented she didn't know that you'd be a rival for my
affection for the next 5 years.)
As John taught me to drive a stick we spun the tires more than a few
times getting the hang of it. I remember coming out of the parking lot
at Danbury High School squealing up the hill! From there I never looked
back. I think I put 100,000 miles on you in those 5 years.
As the owner of an 'unusual' car, I got pretty defensive when people
called you a Mustang. Heck, even Deb got to the point where she's say
'It's not a Mustang!' when someone called you one.
Had to do a few minor
repairs (including replacing the rusted doors!) but with a set of Kelly
Charger tires on chrome mag wheels and black louvers you were pretty
We made it through Senior year of High School, a prom and that crazy
summer. Deb and I would sit for hours in you talking (mostly :) Had to
leave you behind when I went to UMASS that fall, but that didn't last
long. 2+ hour rides to/from Amherst racked up the miles, but you were a
blast to drive, even with the anemic 2.3L. Your propensity to fishtail
in the snow made the rides to campus rather interesting, but still fun.
Even today Deb tells stories about calling the house to see if I was
there (before cellphones) and my mom telling her I was outside working
on you (usually the weekly wash and wax before we went out.)
The next stage in our relationship involved the engine transplant.
Looking back (and lugging a few 2.3L Turbo engines around recently) I
don't know how I got that motor home in your backseat. With a slightly
peppier engine you were a lot of fun to drive. Still not sure how we
made it down to that shop to fix the brakes after the transplant, but
everything ended up okay, right?
And drive we did in the summer of 1989 to Houston TX. From entering
Mississippi after a tornado (my first experience with the dead calm
after such a storm) to driving around Houston with Connecticut plates
and getting more than a few 'Yankee' comments, to the Hurricane that
dumped 10 inches of rain in an hour and I was stupid enough to drive
home in. To giving me a piece of home as I got lonely and tried to figure out what Deb and my relationship meant.
Our first introduction to 'Southern Summer' made it painfully clear to
me that I needed A/C in my next car, which meant you probably wouldn't
be with me much longer. We did make the most of that summer, going to a
drag racing track a couple of times (yeah, 15-flat was fast in the 80's)
and that crazy 24-hour drive back to CT with Pat. Including Pat
watching the Ferrari blow past us like we were standing still even
though we were well above the speed limit. (oh and I still want to know
what happened to your passenger window ...)
When I got the offer to move to Georgia, I knew you weren't coming with
me without A/C. From what I understand some of my cousins drove you
until my Uncle Billy sold you to parties unknown.
Just so you know, I didn't give up on owning another Capri. Took a lot
longer than I expected but I'm working on restoring one right now.
and I'm going to try to get a custom tag you'd find funny: 'NO STANG'.