1966 Mercury Comet Capri
I first saw this car advertised in an Auckland newspaper and liked the style of this model. It was a two door coupe with stacked headlights (One above the other, similar to a Fairlane). A phone call and a trip to Auckland saw me swapping a 1961 220 SE Mercedes sedan for it. Painted Yellow & Black it quickly got nick-named the “Bumble Bee”.
It ran a 221 cu in 6 cylinder motor and a C4 auto. The motor got modified slightly and went well, but I could never keep an auto in this car. My mates reckoned it had something to do with the way it was driven, but I don’t know what they were talking about. Was grass track racing it one day up Kaiaua, on the Firth of Thames, and after I parked it, heard a hiss under the bonnet. Just as I lifted the lid to see what was wrong, a heater hose burst and sprayed the side of my face with scalding water. The girl I was with, found some ice & wet tea towels from somewhere which she kept wrapping in the towels and giving me to apply to my face while we did a mad dash to Thames Hospital Out-patients, where they treated me for the burns.
I liked this car, but didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t keep autos in it. After the demise of another auto, I had had enough and sold it to another rodding friend, Dave Crawford, who fitted it with a 289. He ran it for awhile then it went back up to Auckland. I don’t really know what happened to it, but have heard two stories about what might have happened. One was that it was wrapped around a power-pole & totaled and the other was that it had ended up going over to Aussie where it became a drag car.
Looking back now (the benefit of hind-sight) I should have fitted a 289 or 302 and a 4 speed manual,myself, which would have made it a great car.
One interesting fact about this car was that I could put a 10 speed push-bike in the boot and close the lid. Not many vehicles you can do that with…