Lot 251: Ford Capri RS2600 Group 2 Competition Coupé
Inspired by the success of the Mustang 'pony car' in the USA, Ford introduced the Capri - 'The car you've always promised yourself' - to the European market in 1968. The Capri's imaginative fastback styling was a relatively new departure for the 'Blue Oval' but beneath the skin the car remained typically Ford, sharing engines, gearboxes and many other components with the rest of the range, though the power units used by the British- and German-built versions differed somewhat. Ford was pursuing a wide-ranging competitions programme at this time, and with its UK operation concentrating on developing the Escort for rallying and circuit racing, Jochen Neerpasch, head of the Motorsport Department in Cologne, was delegated to start work on the racing Capri. Known as the 'RS2600', this would be based on the 2600GT, Ford of Germany's top-of-the-range model at the time, although Cologne's first efforts involved modified 2300GTs. A number of successes, including class wins, were achieved in international rallies in 1969 but it was already clear that the car's greatest potential was as a circuit racer. In Group 2 racing trim the RS2600's Weslake-developed V6 engine was bored out to 2,995cc and equipped with Kugelfischer fuel injection and dry sump lubrication, in which form it developed in excess of 320bhp. The suspension, brakes and wheels were up-rated appropriately and the bodywork lightened by the extensive use of glassfibre panels. A ZF five-speed gearbox was standard equipment on the racing RS2600, the LHD-only production version, which retained the 2.6-litre engine, having to make do with a Ford four-speed unit. On the racetrack, the RS2600's finest achievement came in 1972 when works driver Jochen Mass, later to enjoy a successful Formula 1 career, was crowned European Touring Car Champion at the season's end. First registered on 23rd August 1972, this rare Capri RS2600 has been prepared/restored to period Group 2 specification with an 'endurance' specification engine and is presented in generally excellent condition. Noteworthy features include Avon racing tyres on BBS rims; Bilstein shock absorbers all round; polyurethane silent block suspension bushes; Plexiglas side windows; Unibal suspension joints all round; Watts linkage to the rear; limited-slip differential; 60-litre ATL racing fuel cell; Aeroquip fuel and brake lines; Sparco Evo racing seat; 6-point harness; Sparco automatic fire extinguisher etc, all FIA homologated. With values of BMW CSLs and Shelby Mustangs increasing, the RS2600 must surely represent good value and it should also be noted that RS2600s are eligible for the Tour Auto and numerous other prestigious historic events. It is believed that fewer than 100 RS2600s survive today.
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Bonhams, La Halle Freyssinet, Paris
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