1972 Ford Capri RS2600 Pilots: G. Birrel, C. Bourgoignie Team: Ford Deutschland Race: 10th (T class) at Le Mans in 1972 Troféu - 2304 (diecast)
Ford introduced the Mustang in 1964, and it was a sales success. Americans caught on to the “pony car”, to the point that by 1967 their were quite a few options from other manufacturers. The Mustang was selling so well that Ford thought about expanding the market. As a result, in 1968 Ford released in Europe the Capri. With mechanical components from the Cortina Mk. II, it was Ford’s “European Mustang”. Production of the Capri began in the end of 1968, in the UK and West Germany. The Capri was an affordable fastback coupe, with a wide variety of engines. With many variations suitable to a wide range of the public, the car had a very favorable reception.
With the success in sales, it was just a matter of time before somebody took the Capri to a race track. By 1970 Ford Europe had officially recognized the Capri as a potential race car, and released the Capri RS2600. This Rally-Sport version was released to homologate the car for Group 2 racing. It had a special 2637 cm³ version of the so-called “Cologne V6”, made by Weslake. Located in East Sussex, England, Weslake hand-assembled the engines using special aluminum cylinder heads that produced about 150 hp. The RS2600 also had a modified suspension and a close ratio gearbox. To keep weight down, it had lightened bodywork panels and aluminum wheels. With 150 units produced, the RS2600 became legal for the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC). And as a result, the car won the drivers’ title in the 1971 and 1972 seasons of the ETCC.
The good results in the ETCC stimulated Ford to think about longer races… In short, Ford Germany took the RS2600 to the 24 Hours of Le Mans of 1972. A full-blown factory works team, Ford Deutschland had three cars in the race. And just for good measure, there was also a lone privateer RS2600 in the grid. Since the Touring class that year consisted of only five cars, and four being RS2600, Ford’s chances were good. The four cars used an expanded version of the Weslake V6, that with 2940 cm³ delivered 314 hp. And the car did not disappoint: it came in 10th (#54) and 11th (#53) overall, respectively first and second in the T class.
This is a model that I almost had to do without. If I´m not mistaken, it came out in 2017, and it wasn’t easy to find. Troféu is not an expensive brand, but at the time these models were expensive. Because of the price I didn’t go after one, and shortly after they disappeared from eBay. Recently however, I found one from a seller in Greece, and for a decent price. I hit the BIN button and in about 30 days I had it in hand. So far my models from Troféu have been far from stellar, just so-so. But in the case of this RS2600 I think Troféu improved their game, because it’s quite nice. Basically, current Ixo-nice. Therefore, for the only non-GT40/Ford GT winner from Ford, it was a very good buy.