Norm Cross will be taking his 1974 Mark I Ford Capri to the Nelson Classic Ford Car Club's celebration of Henry Ford's birthday at Rabbit Island on Sunday. Photo: Simon Bloomberg

From rusty heaps to a classic Capri

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It has taken Norm Cross well over 40 years to finally get the car he really wanted, and now he can’t stop smiling every time he turns the key and revs the engine of his classic Ford Capri.

Norm bought his first car, a 1958 Worsley 1500, when he was 18. It was “a bit of a rust bucket with a rattly old engine” but it was all the young pipe fitter-welder could afford.

Norm says he’s “owned quite a few cars since then” although none of them were much of an improvement on the Worsley. But that all changed three years ago when the Richmond car enthusiast retired and splashed out on a classic 1974 Mark I Ford Capri.

“I’ve always liked cars but never been able to own a really nice one,” Norm says. “When I retired, I thought I’d treat myself – it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Norm says he decided to buy a classic Ford after talking to his former neighbour Tom Champion, who owned a Mark I Ford Cortina.

Norm has always liked Ford Mustangs and, after looking around for a classic car, purchased the next best thing, a Mark I Ford Capri.

“I was talking to Tom and he had this V8 Cortina and that got me going. I got the Capri because I like the style and shape – it reminds me of the Mustang.”

Norm says he and his wife Rose will be taking the Capri to this Sunday’s Nelson Classic Ford Car Club’s celebration of Henry Ford’s birthday at Rabbit Island.

The founder of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford, was born on July 30, 1863, and every year the club invites all Ford owners to attend the birthday celebrations.

It will be the 20th year that the club has celebrated Henry Ford’s birthday and chairman Peter Soundy says the event is always popular, last year attracting 145 cars.

Peter says it will also be the 20th year that club member Pat Rainbow has baked a birthday cake to mark the anniversary.

Peter says there will be spot prizes and a sausage sizzle. The birthday celebration will be held at Rabbit Island, just past the Rough Island turn-off, on Sunday starting at 10am.