Restoration

The red 2.5 Challenge Capri 1600 was in very poor condition when it was first observed in a Massachusetts barn during the winter of 1990. The red shell was dull and dented, there was a vinyl covered roof, substantial body rust, no engine, electrics, interior, very little suspension, and an inadequate roll cage for modern racing safety standards. The Capri had incorrect 1973-4 tail light units instead of the 1969/72 version, and bondo galore. The red Capri's appearance looked like it had last competed in IMSA's Champion Spark Plug Challenge during the mid-1970's -- having later been picked-over and discarded.

Parked next to the red Capri was another one; this blue Capri was in much better condition. The car had similar markings, but looked nearly stock, except for it's missing engine and drivetrain. After much searching, the original racer/owner Oliver Jones was located, and a full explanation unfolded regarding his 2.5 Trans-Am (and later) efforts.

In 1972, Mr. Jones was given two used Capris by the Ford Motor Company to compete in the 2.5 Challenge Trans-Am -- no other support was offered. The two Capris were delivered to Mr. Jones by a local Ford dealer -- a red 1971 Capri 1600, and a blue (originally green) 1971 Capri 2000. Mr. Jones initially reasoned that the 1600 Capri would be most competitive since more engine development had been done on the 1600 pushrod than the 2000 SOHC engine. Plus, and more importantly, the Capri 1600 could weigh as little as 1600 lbs. -- the Capri 2000 would be required to weigh 2000+ lbs. according to the SCCA 2.5 Challenge Trans-Am rules.

Consequently, Mr. Jones decided to prepare the Capri 1600 as the primary race car; the Capri 2000 would be the sister/back-up (and if necessary), parts car. The Capri 1600 would eventually use the Capri 2000 engine and drivetrain for the IMSA RS Challenge during the mid-1970s.

As the red Capri 1600 was in such poor condition, Ira and his teammates carefully inspected the remaining components, took unibody/chassis measurements, and compared them with the Capri's original specifications. The Capri was then taken to a body shop which had much experience with unibody construction and repair. After much discussion regarding the Capri's condition, it was determined that the structural integrity of the body, and the poor overall condition did not allow for a safe racing restoration. It was then decided to restore the blue/green Capri 2000 instead of the red Capri 1600.

Ira and his teammates spent the better part of two years restoring this special and unique race Capri. From all accounts, Oliver Jones raced the only European Capri in the SCCA's 2.5 Trans-Am Challenge during 1972. Taking components from Ira's other street Capri's and numerous parts from his personal 20 year inventory, the restoration work was carefully completed in 1992 for the sister/back-up Capri 2000, now painted in tribute red of the original Capri 1600.

At the end of the 1997 season, Pterodactyl Racing determined that further work was necessary to fully prepare this now winning Capri 2000 to the highest racing standards, and Mark began to rebuild the car. Over the next three years, many components were replaced, changed and modified, keeping within the rules and spirit of vintage racing, but making the Capri more reliable, safe, and competitive. This process of improvement continues today.