A 1981 Ford Capri 2.8 injection built specifically for Henry Ford II is set to go under the hammer in the UK this week, and is expected to sell for between £25,000 and £30,000.
The car was created for the eldest grandson of Henry Ford, who was also president of Ford Motor Company from 1945 to 1960, CEO at the blue-oval brand until 1979 and chairman of the board of directors until 1980.
The sporty Capri, registration ‘AVW 109X’, was created for ‘HF2’ – or ‘Hank the Deuce’ as he was also referred – for him to use when he arrived to the UK from the states for business.
The Ford that belonged to Mr Ford: This 1981 Ford Capri 2.8 Injection is a bespoke version hand-picked for Henry Ford II to use during his frequent visits to the UK in the early eighties
This very Capri is one of three special Fords built by its Special Vehicle Engineering (SVE) division for Henry Ford II and is now set to be sold in an online auction on specialist collectible vehicle site, Car & Classic, with bidding set to commence from Friday 23 April.
The sale will run for seven days, with the Capri’s estimate set at between £25,000 and £35,000.
If it does achieve anything close to its higher estimate it will be way over the value of this particular model, according to experts.
Even in ‘concours’ condition – meaning it is so pristine it could appear in a museum – Hagerty values a 1981 Capri III 2.8i Coupe at £24,900.
However, this is no normal Capri – as you might expect considering it was customised for the boss whose name is stamped on the front of every model produced.
It was hand-picked off the Cologne production line and, on arrival at Ford Dagenham, was personally collected by Ford’s former executive director of European communications and public affairs, Paul Harrison.
The bespoke Capri is set to go under the hammer in the UK this week, and is expected to sell for between £25k and £30k
The car is unique from any other Capri from the year, with the 1981 model fitted with an automatic gearbox at HF2’s request
Ford’s Capri was also treated to additional layers of Graphite Grey over Strato Silver paint to give it a sublime finish
He drove the car to SVE at the Dunton Technical Centre where it was fitted with full leather seats, the driver’s chair a one-off wider seat to accommodate HF2’s frame.
For more convenience on trips to Scotland, the 2.8i was fitted with an automatic C3 gearbox and had additional layers of Graphite Grey over Strato Silver paint to give it a sublime finish.
It also went under thorough – and reportedly strict – quality controls to ensure Ford’s boss wouldn’t encounter any reliability issues when driving it in the UK.
Henry Ford, who was also president of Ford Motor Company from 1945 to 1960. HF2 was also CEO at the blue-oval brand until 1979 and chairman of the board of directors until 1980
Henry Ford II gives the world its first look at the all-new Mustang on April 17, 1964. The muscle car would go on to become an icon
Henry Ford II pictured here in 1976 stood alongside a Fiesta S. It was critical that Henry Ford II was available for dealer and supplier visits in the UK in the eighties, hence his need for a bespoke Capri during that time
Once the car was complete it was delivered to Turville Grange, Buckinghamshire, which was the Ford family’s country residence.
The car stayed in the Ford family’s ownership until 1983 when it was returned to Dunton and purchased by Ron Mellor, head of Ford product development at the time, as a car for his wife.
Mr Mellor drove the car for three years before it was offered for sale on a Ford noticeboards and was bought by head of design, Alan Jarman for his weekly commute from Torquay to Dunton.
In 1993 the car was featured in the Capri Club International magazine and had the mileage showing at 62,000 (this magazine is included with the car). In the same year Alan put the Capri up for sale and he stated in the advert that it would only be sold to a Capri Club International member.
The Capri was returned to Ford UK in 1983 and was subsequently bought by more than one Ford employee during its life
In 1993 the car was featured in the Capri Club International magazine and has made appearances in print recently
The car has just 68,958 miles on the clock, of which 6,800 miles have been added in the last 28 years
Fast Ford prices have gone through the roof in recent years, especially values of Capri models. This car could exceed its higher estimate if there’s a scramble for its keys between collectors
The car has changed hands among collectors on numerous occasions, though shows to have just 68,958 miles on the clock, meaning that the 2.8 injection has only covered around 6,800 miles in the last 28 years.
The vendor has owned the car since November last year and has since recommissioned and restored it to its glimmering best ahead of the auction.
It comes to the sale with a vast array of history including old invoices, MOTs as well as copies of its time in Classic Cars Magazine this February and in Steve Saxty’s book – Secret Fords, which came out in 2020.
The car is said to ‘run just as Ford intended’, with the V6 ‘barking into life with the flick of the key’ and pulls through the gears smoothly without any ‘untoward noises coming from either the transmission, differential or the engine’.
It adds: ‘The suspension still holds the car well on the road and sits nice and level.’
Henry Ford II (pictured) was the eldest son of Edsel Ford and eldest grandson of Henry Ford. He helped steer Ford Motor Company for around 35 years
The sporty Capri, registration ‘AVW 109X’, was created for ‘Hank the Deuce’ – as Henry Ford II was also referred – for him to use when he arrived to the UK from the states for business
A recent full restoration has the Capri back to its best. It is described as ‘running just as Ford intended’, with the V6 ‘barking into life with the flick of the key’ and pulls through the gears smoothly without any ‘untoward noises coming from either the transmission, differential or the engine’
Speaking about the sale of the car, Chris Pollitt, head of editorial at Car & Classic, said: ‘Fast Fords are always highly sought after but this Capri is much more than that.
‘Specifically prepared by the legendary SVE department for one of the most influential people in the history of Ford and then subsequently enjoyed by other key members of the company, it is a widely appreciated, documented and renowned part of the Ford story.’
Grandson of founder Henry Ford, Henry Ford II was a key driver of Ford’s Total Performance programme that led to projects including the Ford GT40 and Mustang that were a catalyst for Ford’s success at the time.
It was critical that Henry Ford II was available for dealer and supplier visits in the UK, hence his need for a bespoke Capri during that time.
Henry Ford II died of pneumonia in Detroit at Henry Ford Hospital on September 29, 1987, at age 70.
Ford Capri 2.8 Injection specification
Engine: 2792cc, V6, 12 valve, petrol
Maximum power: 158bhp at 5700rpm
Maximum torque: 221Nm at 4300rpm
Drivetrain: Rear wheel drive
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Top speed: 131mph
Acceleration, 0-62mph: 8 seconds
Curb Weight: 1170kg
Boot capacity: 260 litres seats up, 640 litres seats down
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