My First Car: Good vibrations? Troubled times as Ford Consul Capri GT did my nut in!

Graham Curtis bought a rare Ford Consul Capri GT, similar to this one, as his first car but it looke

Graham Curtis bought a rare Ford Consul Capri GT, similar to this one, as his first car but it looked better than it drove. - Credit: supplied

Graham Curtis fell for the looks of a rare Ford Consul Capri GT but trouble lay ahead.

As an elderly petrolhead, l go to the My First Car feature first in the paper, hoping to see one like my first car.

I passed my driving test in 1967 as a 17-year-old apprentice motor mechanic. After two years of access to the family Morris 1100, it was time for my own wheels.

A nice sensible candidate was advertised in the EDP – a two-door Ford Cortina 1200 being sold by a local garage. When I went to see it I hardly looked at it, as, in the line-up of cars, was a 1964 Ford Consul Capri GT in blue. I had to have it – £275 was the asking price.

I arranged a loan and a few days later it was mine. How I wished I had given it a more thorough test drive. When I tried it properly, as the engine revs got higher, the vibration from the motor was quite unpleasant, combined with a clutch action which made it hard to push the pedal down at higher revs. I had to keep the revs away from the orange zone on the tachometer to keep it pleasant to drive.

A few weeks later I took a workmate for a drive during our one-hour lunchbreak to impress him with how the car went. On the A149 at Dersingham, near King's Lynn, a tapping noise under the bonnet caused me some concern.

We stopped and arranged a tow back to work and I soon found the cause. Because of the heavy vibration, a nut securing the air cleaner backplate to the Webber carburettor had vibrated itself off and been consumed internally.

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Removing the cylinder head revealed a piston which looked like it had been shot with a 12-bore shotgun and very little of the nut was left.

I cleaned up the piston, cylinder bore and combustion chamber, put the head back on and all was OK, but the vibration was still there of course. A little while later I loaned the car to my older brother, who returned the car with a caved-in front wing. I put a new wing on and resprayed the car completely.

At the time I was doing a vehicle body repair course at King's Lynn technical college so that helped a lot. After nine months of ownership I sold the car back to the garage I bought it from for £265 to make way for my dream car – a 1965 Morris Mini Cooper S 970.

I can't remember exactly where I bought the Capri from and sold it back to but it was in the Watton or Swaffham area which is where I was living at time. If anyone can remember seeing one in that area, I would love to know what became of it. Its registration number was FVW 512B.

It was a rare car then, as only 2000 GTs were made, now, of course, it's very rare. Do I wish I still owned it? You bet.

Tell us about your first car and the adventures and scrapes you had – email your motoring memories with a picture of the car to or post it to Andy Russell, motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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