FEP member Rob Maurice, known on our forums as RSmerc
, has been a part of our community since 2008. His featured Capri RS came into his life all the way back in October 1999 when it was purchased as his first car. Rob was infected with a car addiction early in life thanks to his father and thanks again to his father Fords were his vehicles of choice. When it came time to get his first car, he knew it had to be a Fox body, but when the opportunity for a unique Mercury Capri rather than the more common Mustang was found on the opposite side of his home town, Rob couldn’t say no.
The Capri is an original RS complete with the 5.0/5 speed combination that we all know and love. Early in Rob’s care the original 5.0 was swapped for a 1989 GT’s 5.0 and the car was given a quick black paint job and then driven for 6 straight years before being put away in storage. A few short years later the Capri was pulled out of storage and returned to duty. Unfortunately a small fender bender and the ever growing rust issues required a bit more attention.
At this point Rob decided to dive in head first and give his first car a complete and total restoration/rebuild from the ground up. The Capri was completely disassembled and sandblasted to remove all rust and the previous black paint job. The right front frame rail, radiator support, cowl, roof skin, right quarter panel, both doors, and right fender was replaced. A 2.5” cowl hood was added along with a factory ’86 Capri RS/GS nose, and Cervini’s Saleen style side skirts and rear valance. The body modifications were capped off by adding McLaren rear spoiler to the bubble back hatch. Once the repairs and customization were complete, Rob sprayed the Capri in the beautiful white color you see it now with black trim and accents.
The engine bay and drivetrain were treated to similar repairs and customizing. The stock ’89 short block stayed, and a Trickflow Stage 1 cam and 170 heads were added along with a 2.1L Kenne Bell Blowzilla supercharger. To stray from the 5 liter norm, the factory EEC-IV was swapped out for a Megasquirt MS3X ecu allowing the conversion to a distributor-less ignition. The car now runs with a cam sensor, crank sensor and coil packs from a 5.0 Explorer. To keep the estimated 425 RWHP cool, a Ford Racing aluminum radiator was added along with dual electric fans from a Contour.
To send the power to the road, the stock T-5 was swapped out for a Tremec 3550 TKO. The stock 7.5 rear axle was swapped for an 8.8 with 3.55 gears, a Torsen diff and 5 lug axles. The brakes were then upgraded to ’94 Cobra specs. The front struts were swapped with Eibach units and coil over springs, while Eibach Pro kit springs were used in the back.
Rob decided to remain conservative on the interior while adding a set of aftermarket Recaro seats to the all black OEM interior. Of course a fully loaded RS with power windows, power locks, and factory A/C is difficult to improve upon, but Rob did add a couple of pillar mount gauges to keep tabs on the powerhouse under the hood as well as an aftermarket shifter and handle to control the Tremec 3550 TKO. The OEM 3 spoke wheel has the cool Mercury Cat logo in the center and the glove box dash bezel has the RS emblem to let everyone know this car’s true heritage.
When asked what were some specific challenges with getting the Capri to its current condition, Rob responds by saying “Stripping the car to bare metal then taking it down even further to replace rotted panels, is a real scary process. It is amazing to really see how these cars are put together. Then, of course, after taking every nut, bolt, screw and clip from the vehicle, and returning them to their resting spot without scratching the fresh paint is a stressful process. “
Rob said his reasons for building his Capri into the vehicle it is today were simple it was his first car and as a diehard Ford guy, how could he get rid of it? “The whole goal with the car was to build a car that did everything. Everything being carving corners, going in a straight line, stopping quickly, and comfortably cruising at highway speeds for extended periods of time; all while being different from every other fox body, but looking like something Ford may have built. I love the fact that at car shows/cruises, people look at it quick and begin to walk away until something unusual catches their eye. They then start looking further and, piece by piece, find all the changes made.”
We can all agree that Rob has put together one fine Mercury Capri that not only looks spectacular, but performs just as well. Congratulations as the winner of the August FEP Ride of the Month. We are sure Rob will be enjoying his Capri for many years to come and will love every mile driven.
If you're interested in reading more, check out the complete transformation of this car, in detail, in his build thread, '83 RS Build