The Ford Capri’s 50th birthday will be celebrated at this year’s Silverstone Classic with a track parade owners can get involved with and a one-off trophy presented by the most famous Capri racer of them all.
Gordon Spice was a class winner in the British Saloon Car Championship for five successive seasons from 1976 to 1980, driving Capris to 24 outright victories in the process.
Now 78, he’ll be awarding the Gordon Spice Trophy to the first Capri past the finishing post in the Historic Touring Car Challenge at this year’s Silverstone Classic.
“I’m absolutely delighted to have been given this honour,” he said. “I never miss the Classic; it’s one of my favourite race meetings of the year and it is always wonderful to see so many Capris still racing today – 50 years is a long time!”
The ‘British Mustang’ broke cover at the Brussels Motor Show in January 1969 and was a massive success, with nearly two million produced up to the final model in 1986.
And, when bigger-engined American muscle cars were banned at the end of the 1975 Saloon Car season, Capris took over the mantle to dominate the championship, with Spice the main beneficiary.
The BSCC was far from his only success: Spice also raced several times at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, finishing third in both 1980 and ’81 in a Rondeau M379, and also took the Group C2 World Endurance Championship crown three times in four years for his own Spice Engineering team.
This HTCC race at this year’s Classic, which takes place from 26-28 July, will feature large numbers of Capris, including some raced by Spice in period, as well as flame-spitting Ford Cosworth RS500s for the first time.
“The Capri was very important to me,” added Spice. “The Capri 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.”
In addition to the one-off trophy, the Capri’s birthday will be marked with an anniversary parade on the Sunday of the event. This will be fronted by the last Capri to roll off the production line in Cologne – a limited-edition 280 ‘Brooklands’ model owned by Ford’s heritage workshop – and will also feature a selection of the car-club Capris present at the meeting.
Own a Capri and want to get involved in this display and parade? Capri owners can buy a Celebration Package that comprises event tickets plus entry to a dedicated parking area – find out more here.
Other anniversary celebrations already announced for this year’s Silverstone Classic include a rather special line-up of Bentleys for the British marque’s 100th birthday, and a Minis-only race on the occasion of the diminutive icon’s 60th.
Tickets for the event are on sale now, with early-bird prices available until the end of March. Click here for more details.