It all started on 16 June 2012 when Justin Coetzee and his father Mark were scanning Gumtree for an old classic Ford project. An obvious brand choice was a Ford, as the family’s passion ran deep with dad having had plenty of Escort 1600 Sports, Capris and Cortinas back in the day.
Amongst the masses online one single car jumped off the website: a 1969 Capri 1600GT. They phoned the guy advertising the car immediately that night and arranged a viewing for the following day. Luckily the seller was able to accommodate the viewing early but he did mention that he already had a long list of people who wanted the car. On hearing this and somehow knowing that this was for sure the Capri that they wanted to complete a father and son project, the pair even offered to pay an extra R3 000 on top of the selling price to view the sporting saloon first. The early bird catches the worm and the Coetzee crew, after months of looking, had found the car they wanted – a decent offering with minimal rust.
Deal done, the duo drove their new-old Ford off to its new home. With the car being the seller’s first ever vehicle, a car he’d owned for 8 years and one that he’d bought from an old lady who had owned it since new, you can understand his lump in the throat and severe case of seller’s remorse. And this was no big sales pitch as Justin and his dad also took ownership of the notes the previous owner had illustrated on how to use the indicator unit and how to adjust the clock in the centre console. Not to mention the original key and owner’s manual that came with the car when she drove it off the new car showroom floor.
Late in 2012 the Coetzees started to slowly strip the car and prepare for the rebuild that they wanted to do together. As they suspected, the shell was in good condition with barely any rust and the all important floor panels and chassis were solid considering the year of manufacture.
Mark, being a qualified panelbeater with 25 years under the belt, and Justin with all the skills learned from dad, restored the bodywork back to factory finish themselves. As the engine seemed in decent mechanical condition it was given only a visual tidy up and any gaskets that had seen better days were replaced.
Not only did the project get father and son working together and passing on years of experience, but it also brought out the passion that youngster Justin has for old cars and his love for cars in general.
Even better, it has the pair lining up another machine that they will re-introduce to the classic scene when they start their next project – a 1980 Ford Escort 1600 Sport. In another good lesson that we all should listen to, the Escort is again a completely original, untouched but structurally sound car that in all honesty only really needs a respray because of age and the bright South African sun.