Launched at the Brussels Motor Show in January 1969, and marketed by Ford as ‘The Car You Always Promised Yourself’, the Ford Capri celebrates it 50th anniversary this year and will be given time on the Grand Prix circuit for a special parade at the Silverstone Classic. Close to two million Capris were produced before the model’s demise at the end of 1986. This will be an additional celebration to the Mini 60th anniversary and Bentley’s 100th birthday, which will also be marked at the Classic. For racers, the Capri represents a very successful Touring Car and the world’s most successful Capri racer, Gordon Spice, will lead the celebrations with the presentation of a special trophy to the top-performing Capri in the HTCC race at the Classic. This grid regularly features large numbers of Capris –including some actually raced by Spice in period - and as part of the anniversary celebrations, exceptionally this year’s grid at the Classic will also accept entries from a number of later-generation, flame-spitting Ford Cosworth RS500s. These have raced at the Classic in the past in the Super Touring field, but diminishing grid numbers have meant that the super tourers will be taking a break from the Classic this year.
“I’m absolutely delighted to have been given this honour,” reflected 78 year-old Spice, who further proved his talent by lifting the Group C2 World Endurance Championship crown when racing a sports prototype produced and entered by his own Spice Engineering company. “The Capri was very important to me. It was by far the easiest car I ever raced. There was absolutely nothing complicated about it – the rear-drive chassis was simple to tune, so it handled really, really well. Just a brilliant motor car.” Sunday’s lunch time Capri Celebration track parade will be fronted by the final Capri to roll off the production line in Cologne – a limited edition 280 ‘Brooklands’ model owned by Ford’s heritage workshop.
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