Flying the flag for road and track Capris in the USA and across the globe since 1979, Norm Murdoch from Team Blitz is definitely in it for the long haul.
How did you get into cars?
I was 13 years old, and a family friend took me to see the premiere of a new movie called Le Mans. It completely flattened me. I mean, I had no idea about sports cars. My childhood was all muscle cars and wafty sedans driven by guys who looked like the Dodge Charger hitmen in Bullitt. But damn, the Porsches and Ferraris in Le Mans just blew my mind. That movie got me launched into cars massively and permanently. Like a switch was flipped on.
What was your first Ford?
A 1973 2600GT Capri. Gunmetal grey, four-speed.
How did Team Blitz come about, and where does the name come from?
The company was founded in 1979, while I was still in college. It was from the very beginning a Capri parts company. There was poor dealership support for Capris even by 1979, since the importation had ended in 1977. Owners needed spares, tuning parts, and purpose-built racing stuff. So I jumped in. Where did the name come from? My brother had a 1974 Capri with a 2-litre Pinto, so we got license plates -— mine spelt BLITZ and his spelt KRIEG, and that’s pretty much what we did whenever we hit the streets.
What are you developing at the moment?
We just introduced a 300 mm big brake kit using the stock master cylinder and no machine work or changes to the spindle legs or hubs. It includes everything, including a pump power bleeder, 570F brake fluid, pads, threadlocker, bolts, hoses, and Wilwood’s four-puck callipers and 32-vane rotors.
You’ve got a lot of goodies stashed away. What’s the rarest thing you own?
Have to say it would be our 1972 Werkes Group 2 FIA Capri. It won several events in the Group 2 European GT Championship including the 1972 Tour de France — third overall, behind the two Thomson 365GT Daytona Ferraris in the class above. It has quite a provenance, being driven by racing champions like Jean Vinatier, Guy Chasseuil and Claude Bourgoignie. We are slowly prepping it for historic racing with its original Weslake 2.9-litreV6 and ZF S5-18/3 gearbox and BP Oil livery.
What’s the Mercury Capri scene like in the US right now?
We never call them Mercury Capris! They were Fords, but sold by Mercury dealers. There was no badgework or labelling calling them Mercurys, until somebody in marketing decided to print the 1976 owner’s manual with Mercury Capri right before Mercury introduced their Mustang-based Capri in late 1978. But to answer your question… The Capri scene is burgeoning. A lot more people are looking for them to restore or hot-rod, or even race. Even young guns are starting to get nostalgic for the 1970’s imports. Prices have definitely moved up, too. Our club meets are getting more interest than ever.
Your Mk1 race car looks and sounds great. What’s in it?
Solid stuff: 2-litre Pinto pumping at around 12:1, dual sidedraught Webers, 3J Driveline Rocket ’box and Atlas diff, gumball race slicks on period alloys, Team Blitz fibreglass body panels, 10-gallon cell, Panhard rod, coil-overs, and Koni competition shocks on all four corners.
You’ve got 15,000 USD to buy and build a classic Ford, what would you do?
Right now is the time to score Capris before they get out of reach. I’d like to add a 3-litre Essex to the herd. We have an NOS crate motor we picked up from Holman-Moody, and it’s dying to be slapped in a project car. Ideally, that would slot into a Mk1 or Mk3 originally from Blighty! I just need to luck out before it’s too late.
And if you had an unlimited budget?
I’d want to build a Zakspeed Capri around the 1.7-litre BDT we have on the engine stand in the shop. It came out of the very first Zakspeed Mustang — really a Capri in Mustang hides — raced here by Klaus Ludwig. We wrestled the motor away from Jack Roush Racing, don’t ask me how. And it needs to belch fire once again. That would take an unlimited budget for sure!
Team Blitz, www.teamblitz.com
Photo Jon Hill
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