In 1968, Ford introduced the European market to the Capri, drawing inspiration from the successful American Mustang. Promoted as ‘The car you’ve always promised yourself,’ the Capri featured a distinctive fastback design, a departure from Ford’s traditional styling. Under the hood, it shared components with other Ford models but exhibited some power unit variations between the British and German versions.
Ford was deeply involved in racing, with the UK division focused on the Escort for rally and circuit racing. Jochen Neerpasch, head of the Motorsport Department in Cologne, was assigned to develop the racing Capri, known as the ‘RS2600.’ Initially based on the 2600GT, the racing version achieved several successes in international rallies in 1969, showcasing its potential for circuit racing.
In racing trim, the RS2600 boasted a Weslake-developed V6 engine enlarged to 2,995cc, featuring Kugelfischer fuel injection and dry sump lubrication, producing over 320bhp. Upgrades were made to the suspension, brakes, and wheels, and the body was lightened with fiberglass panels. The racing RS2600 came with a ZF five-speed gearbox, while the left-hand drive production model retained a 2.6-liter engine and used a Ford four-speed unit. In 1972, the RS2600 achieved its finest moment when Jochen Mass, a future Formula 1 star, was crowned European Touring Car Champion.