Henry Ford II's Personal Custom Capri Hits the Auction Block
This is what "The Deuce" drove when he couldn't drive a Mustang.
Good news! We've found your next car. But before we tell you what it is, allow us to paint a picture of the conundrum that led to this Capri's customized creation.
Imagine you're Henry Ford II, one of the most powerful automotive executives in the world. You're pushing 65 and you've just married a gal nearly a quarter century your junior. You know, the one you call "Giggles" (or at least did until she insisted you switch to Kate); the one you chased around Detroit while your wife Christina was jet-setting around the globe; the one who most decidedly wasn't your wife when you two were pulled over in a Ford Granada for DWI in California in '75. (When the Detroit Free Press asked you for an explanation of that little incident, you uttered one of your most famous quips: "Never complain, never explain. ")
Well, now you're going to England. So, what are you going to drive?
The obvious choice would be to ship over a Mustang. After all, it's 1981, and your company has ditched the loser Mustang II for the Fox-body Mustang. But the last time you shipped cars to Europe (a fleet of Lincoln Continental Mark IVs), Volvo ripped them off to create the awful 262C. Besides, it's the dawn of the '80s, and Euro is cool.
No, what you need is a car that tells the locals that you're still swinging in your 60s: a Ford Capri. Although it was first introduced in 1969 as Europe's answer to the Mustang, the Capri is still a hot ride in the United Kingdom—it even has a starring role in the hit-hip cop show, The Professionals. Also, the Capri is a known quantity, since your company sold it in the United States as a Mercury (though this is the new third-gen model, which never did make it to the U.S. ).
No ordinary Capri for you, though. After all, you're "The Deuce" (or "Two Two", as Kate likes to call you). Your Capri has the new 160-hp fuel-injected 2.8-liter V-6, the closest one can get to a V-8 in the land of bad weather and lousy food. It was hand-picked off the assembly line in Cologne, Germany, where it received extra quality checks and a few extra coats for its two-tone paint job. It was delivered to the U.K., then personally driven by Ford of Europe's public relations chief to Ford's Special Vehicle Engineering (SVE) team at the Dunton Technical Centre in Essex.
Once there, the SVE team fitted the car with a C-3 automatic gearbox. (The automatic was a dealer option, but the conversion was normally carried out by a third-party company called Somar Transtec.) The car received new custom-designed leather seats and door cards, and the driver's seat was widened to accommodate … gosh, how can we put this without insulting you, Mr. Ford … your big executive status. The car was then shipped to Turville Grange, the Ford family estate in Buckinghamshire.
But you are a man of ever-changing tastes, your Deuceness, and a few months after your retirement in December 1982, you sold the car to Ron Mellor, Ford's head of development. The car changed hands a few times, and of the 68,958 miles on its odometer, supposedly only 6,800 have been added over the last 28 years.
Now your Capri 2.8 Injection has been restored and is for sale in an online auction hosted by Car & Classic. The auction house expects it to sell for between £25,000 and £35,000—that's about $35,000 to $50,000 in U.S. greenbacks. A bit pricey for a Capri with an automatic transmission (which, you'll recall, is a detriment here but a rarity in the UK), but is it crazy money for a real-live piece of Ford family history? And besides, if you're going to get pulled over while driving drunk with your mistress, then it's better to be spotted in this than a Granada.