1973 Ford Capri RS2600
The Ford Capri was launched in 1968 and Ford hoped it would become the European equivalent of the Ford Mustang. Of course given the different nature and preferences of the European buyers it was felt that a smaller, lighter car was ideal along with engines of smaller displacement. Initially the Capri was mechanically closely related to Ford’s highly popular Cortina Mk2, albeit with different engines on offer from 1.3 to 3-litre units.
However in 1970 Ford debuted the RS2600 which featured the Cologne-built 2673cc V6 featuring Westlake alloy cylinder heads and Kugelfischer fuel-injection. In addition it had modified suspension, a close-ratio gearbox, lightweight bodywork, ventilated disc brakes and alloy wheels. The RS2600 became the basis for the Group 2 homologated racing variant since Ford’s head of motorsport, Jochen Neerpasch, after some success in rallying felt the car’s true potential was on the track.
The Group 2 regulations permitted the racing variant to be bored out to 2900cc giving the engine around 320bhp, which when combined with its very light homologation weight of just 900kg gave it fantastic performance!
Works driver Dieter Glemser used this to his advantage taking the European Touring Car Championships 1971 with Jochen Mass clinching it in ‘72. In fact the Capris were so dominant in 1972 that the top 5 drivers in the championship all drove one! Whilst it faced strong opposition in Division 3 from a plethora of BMW 2800 CSs plus various Opels, Alfa Romeos and Chevrolets, its supremacy was clear. These successes did much to catapult the car into the hearts of fans throughout Europe, and in turn did much for Ford’s sales of the regular model!
Just 3532 RS2600 road cars were built by Ford from 1970-75, which was a tiny number compared to the million+ they had produced by that point. The car presented here for sale is a faithful replica of the successful Malcolm Gartlan Racing, Wiggins Teape-sponsored car driven by John Miles and Brian Muir in the 1972 British & European Touring Car Championships.
Whilst most historic racing RS2600s are simply built up from any early Capri shell, this particular example began with an original RS2600 road car (RS Owner’s Club certification available), making it rarer than most on the historic grids. In addition it remains road legal, a key element for use on rallies such as the famous Tour Auto and Modena Centro Ore rallies!
The race conversion included fitment of the various lightweight fibreglass body panels, full roll cage, Recaro seat, Schroth 6-point harness, ZF 5-speed gearbox, long-range fuel cell, plus other correct period detailing.
The car has consistently proven competitive since it began racing in 2008 and has an excellent set up having received development by a highly successful professional endurance driver. Run just twice in 2018 at Spa and Imola, the car was a front runner at both, finishing 3rd overall at the latter. Presented in excellent condition with the ZF gearbox and differential having done just 5 hours, and the engine 9 hours. It also has fresh FIA HTP papers issued this February.
This fabulous Capri RS2600 is an excellent option for anyone interested in historic racing given its how competitive it is, the low running costs and its broad eligibility for a range of the best events. Series and events where it can be enjoyed include Peter Auto’s Heritage Touring Cup and Le Mans Classic, Motor Racing Legends’ Historic Touring Car Challenge, plus the Youngtimer Touring Car Challenge.