Journal: Ford’s World-Beating Touring Cars Were Simply Menacing

Ford’s World-Beating Touring Cars Were Simply Menacing

By Joel Clark
March 9, 2016
14 comments

I recently heard a radio interview that dispensed some advice just as I was thinking about the next classic racing livery to feature: “Write what you know,” the lady said, and who am I to argue?

Therefore, this is about the incredible look of Ford Capri racers.

The Capri itself is what kicked off and formed my unadulterated love of cars. For, in 1977, my father came home with a ’74 Ford Capri 3.0 V6. The Mk1 was gleaming white—though painted red at a later date—had the obligatory black bonnet, bumpers removed, and Cobra alloy wheels. There were a few other (tasteful) modifications, but still an absolute supercar in the eyes of a three year old. During the next decade, other cars came and went, but the Capri was always kept and therefore held my passion for the marque alive.

Now, as much as I absolutely adored my father’s Capri, the ultimate incarnation of the Mk1 can only be that of the Cologne RS3100 that competed in the European Touring Car Championship.

As I thought of this car, I began to realise there’s a whole middle ground I haven’t covered when it comes to racing liveries. The idea, that, after the introduction of sponsorship in motorsports, cars were quite simply painted in sponsor colors—and that was the death of the previous era of what can only be described as “paint jobs”.

Even from the ’70s, that notion turns out not be true, as the Cologne RS Capri shows. This factory-entered car appeared in a professional racing series carrying no sponsorship logos anywhere (well, bar the odd performance parts manufacturer…) Instead, we have what looks to be a well-considered and thought out livery. The vivid Royal Blue slabs of colour that smother its fierce, wide fiberglass arches do an excellent job of accentuating the downright menace the car holds, yet at the same time the—unusual for the era—subtle pinstriping emphasizes the curvy, sexy side of the Capri.

Look at how the coach-line travels around the car to hug the Capri’s classic roof line, and how the same delicate stripe outlines that pure race car rear end—it really was a stark comparison to the cars competing against it, even if others weren’t running with many sponsor logos.

Another subject that I can’t ignore is that of Alan Mann Racing’s Mk1 Ford Escort. The early Escorts are other fast Fords of a similar vintage, and the smaller brother of the Capri. The Mk1 Escort is also a car that I’m sure has recently amazed many people thanks to its ever-appreciating valuations.

Alan Mann Racing’s is another paint job that I have very fond childhood memories of, all thanks to the lustrous red and gold colour scheme of my Alan Mann Racing Escort Mk1 Scalextric car. This was easily worth its weight in red and gold to me, as I treasured that car. It was even my education on why racing cars had black tape stuck over the headlights!

The real thing, though, certainly has a great presence. I can personally certify this, as while working for a sign writer based at Silverstone, we shared a hut with the Daihatsu Charade works rally team—an odd pairing, I know—but in the darkest far corner of the building sat a pristine Alan Mann-liveried Escort, and boy did it glitter like gold.

The depth of the red coachwork, combined with the gold and finest of black pinstripes, gave the car a wonderfully rich look and feel, which again helped the car and team cement its place in at the top of the podium.

As far as fast Fords go, these two examples just happened to be personal favorites of mine, but I’d love to discover more of this untapped world, so please comment with any recommendations of equally subtle but still unsponsored race cars.

Image sources: 1,2,3,4,5

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Doug Stenning
Doug Stenning
5 years ago

What about the Tom Walkinshaw Racing Jaguar XJS or the Broadspeed Jaguar XJC do they count?

Great article by the way.

alexshore82
alexshore82
5 years ago

The Frami Racing Capri’s had a beautiful white and gold livery.

Check out @gerrybirrelldoc on Instagram. Some great pictures of Cologne Capris in both the Frami and Works liveries.

Adam
Adam
6 years ago

what about the perana capris of south africa

CapriDriver
CapriDriver
6 years ago

My 1975 3.0 V6 Ghia Manual

CapriDriver
CapriDriver
6 years ago

Great Article , i’ve owned 3 Capris

Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson
6 years ago

Yeah!
I’ve always loved Capris and blue and white wide bodies are just killer especially cool looking going around corners on two wheels!
I agree you should do a feature on the Zakspeed Group 5 also. It takes the Capri menace to another level.

Gavin Madson
Gavin Madson
6 years ago

Same brand, similar era. The colours of Allan Moffat’s XA Falcon in white and pale blue was always a favourite.
comment image

The livery of the iconic Bathurst 1-2 cars wasn’t too bad either

http://www.speedcafe.com/2014/08/05/moffat-xc-gs-voted-iconic-falcon/

Robert Hiermeier
Robert Hiermeier
6 years ago

My roommate in college had a 76 with a V6 and four speed, it was such a great car to drive, a lot of fun.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago

…. and speaking of Zakspeed … hows about a feature on Zakspeed’s fire breathing Porsche/BMW eating completely bat**** crazy insane Group 5 Capris ?

Ahh .. those were the days .. when genuine innovation rather than over homogenization ruled the roost in motor sports …. sigh ……………..

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago

Not only were they menacing on the track .. but with a DOHC head from Zakspeed along with a few of their suspension bits flares [ to accommodate wider wheels and tires ] and a fair amount of fettling under the hood and tranny and you had yourself a Porsche killing BMW stomping , menacing mean machine for the road as well . Paint it Porsche Fly Yellow [ as I did ] to rub it in and you had yourself the ultimate baby exotic for pedestrian car prices . So … the question is … when does the classic car market catch up with Ford of Germany’s [ sold as Mercury’s here in the States ] little bargain basement wunderkind ?

Seriously youngins much as I love em … forget about Alfa GT’s and GTA’s as well as BMW 2002’s etc … get yourself a Capri ( I or II .. they’re both ripe for modifying ] for mere pennies on the dollar and do yourself a Resto-Mod to be proud of . An engine transplant suggestion ? Forget about the V6’s and find a Cosworth i4 out of one of the late lamented Merkur’s [ Sierra’s across the pond ] and Mustang SVO’s . They’re more readily available than you may think and the transplant is a walk in the park . Alternatively track down one of the Cosworth DOHC conversions kits and slap it on a cheap as nails Pinto etc i4 . Why forget about the V6’s ? Because the Capri is better balanced and has superior handling regardless of the modifications with an i4 under the hood .

Oh .. to be young and carefree again …. sigh ……….. oh well …

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
6 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

In Europe early Capris especially the RS2600 with the Cologne engine and the Rs3100 with the Essex engine are getting expensive.

CapriDriver
CapriDriver
6 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Lange

they sure are , RS 3100s are starting to fetch over £40k , a 280 Brooklands with less than 1000 Miles fetched £54k , and the Mk2 2.0S Capri from the Minder fetched £85k!!

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

… and so they should Mr Lange … but even over your way they’re still a whole ( ___ ) of a lot cheaper than a 2002ti , GTA , E30 M3 , 911/912/914 etc . And like I said … forget about the V6’s grab an i4 and do a rest-mod … guaranteed a hopped up DOHC conversion i4 will out drive and out handle any of the V6s … running them down on the straightaways and 0 – 60 as well .

CapriDriver
CapriDriver
6 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

V6 Capris are the best , i’ve had 2, to say that you should forget about V6s is ridiculous