Rare Ford Capri sells for a world record £75k at auction

A collector has forked out almost £75,000 for a Capri at an auction over the weekend, setting a new world record for the iconic Ford.

The one-of-a-kind model – which has been called the ‘Holy Grail’ of Capris – changed hands for the first time in 50 years during Classic Car Auction’s Summer Sale on Saturday in Warwickshire.

The winning bid placed was £74,250, which was not only well over its pre-sale estimate of £60,000 but also eclipsed the previous record amount paid for a Ford Capri by £20,000.

The record-setting Ford Capri: This 1972 prototype for the RS3100 has one owner from new and sold at the weekend for a world record £74,250

What makes the car in question so special is the fact it is a ‘prototype’ model for the RS3100 Capri – and has just one careful owner from new.

The vendor originally bought the vehicle from Ford for a fee of £1,500. 

In today’s money, that’s around £21,000, showing just how much the modest Capri has appreciated in half a century.

While the eagle-eyed among you will notice the ‘K’ plate, suggesting it was registered in 1975, the motor was actually produced three years earlier than that as Ford’s Advanced Vehicle Operations in South Ockendon, Essex, used it to develop the hotter version of the popular coupe.

It became the blueprint for a production run of just 249 RS3100 examples that followed, all of which were built in 1973.

RS3100 cars stood apart from standard Mk1 Capris with the addition of a ducktail spoiler as well as a sports exhaust, racier suspension and beefier brakes.

When new, it was claimed to be able to hit 60mph from a standstill in 7.3 seconds and reach a top speed of around 125mph.

Despite being the first built, this car was the last RS3100 registered for the road and bought by the owner in 1975 who had kept it ever since. 

The car is registered as a 1975 model, but was produced three years earlier. That's because it is a prototype version of the RS3100 Fast Ford that became the blueprint for 249 other examples

The car is registered as a 1975 model, but was produced three years earlier. That’s because it is a prototype version of the RS3100 Fast Ford that became the blueprint for 249 other examples

The previous record-holding Capri is this 1987 280 Brooklands sold by Silverstone Auctions in 2017

It had just 14,680 miles on the clock at the time the hammer dropped at £55,125

The previous record-holding Capri is this 1987 280 Brooklands sold by Silverstone Auctions in 2017. It had just 14,680 miles on the clock at the time the hammer dropped at £55,125

The RS3100 model stands apart from standard Mk1 Capris with the addition of a ducktail spoiler as well as a sports exhaust, racier suspension and beefier brakes

The RS3100 model stands apart from standard Mk1 Capris with the addition of a ducktail spoiler as well as a sports exhaust, racier suspension and beefier brakes

When new, it was claimed to be able to hit 60mph from a standstill in 7.3 seconds and reach a top speed of around 125mph

When new, it was claimed to be able to hit 60mph from a standstill in 7.3 seconds and reach a top speed of around 125mph

Saturday’s winning bid at auction of £74,250 was well in advance of the pre-sale guide of £50,000 to £60,000 and smashed the existing record paid for a Capri.

The previous highest price was set in 2017 when Silverstone Auctions sold a 1987 280 Brooklands version with just 14,680 miles on the clock for £55,125.

The new record holder is finished in a bright ‘Sebring Red’ – which is almost orange – with a contrasting Black Vinyl interior and badged ‘Capri GT’. 

It has been retained by one owner since being bought from Ford with only 500 miles on the odometer.

It has now clocked 70,722 miles in half a century – an average of just 1,414 miles per year.

The Capri has been retained by one owner since it was bought from Ford with only 500 miles on the clock. It now shows 70,722 miles - an average of just 1,414 miles per year

The Capri has been retained by one owner since it was bought from Ford with only 500 miles on the clock. It now shows 70,722 miles – an average of just 1,414 miles per year

This prototype and the other road-going models are fitted with a de-tuned version of the race car’s 3.1-litre V6 engine, producing 148bhp

This prototype and the other road-going models are fitted with a de-tuned version of the race car’s 3.1-litre V6 engine, producing 148bhp

This example, finished in a bright 'Sebring Red' - which is almost orange, standards apart with a contrasting Black Vinyl interior and badged 'Capri GT'

This example is finished in a bright ‘Sebring Red’ – which is almost orange – with a contrasting Black Vinyl interior and badged ‘Capri GT’

The RS3100 was specifically created for Ford to enter the Mk1 Capri in the European Touring Car Championship in 1974.

Rules for the series stated that 1,000 road-going RS3100s had to be built in order for a competition version to participate – though Ford only produced a quarter of that quota, blaming the 1973 oil crisis for strangling demand for new cars. 

This prototype and the other road-going models are fitted with a de-tuned version of the race car’s 3.1-litre V6 engine, producing 148bhp.

However, what makes this particular example stand apart from all other RS3100s is its fixed rear quarter windows, a flat three-spoke steering wheel and black rocker covers (production ones are blue). 

It also has a unique chassis number ‘BFECRK’, the rest being ‘BBECND’-series.

Ford used this prototype model for studio shots displayed on the Single Sheet Sales Brochure and the Supplementary Handbook – the latter being supplied with all production cars. 

The car – with registration ‘KVV 648P’ – has been kept it in its original unrestored condition having only had some small paint rectifications over 50 years.

The prototype RS3100 - with registration 'KVV 648P' - has been kept it in its original unrestored condition having only had some small paint rectifications over 50 years

The prototype RS3100 – with registration ‘KVV 648P’ – has been kept it in its original unrestored condition having only had some small paint rectifications over 50 years

The car has been stored on chassis stands since 1982. Earlier this year it underwent a full recommission. Up until 1982, it had been used by the vendor as a daily driver

The car has been stored on chassis stands since 1982. Earlier this year it underwent a full recommission. Up until 1982, it had been used by the vendor as a daily driver

Classic Car Auctions says its availability represented a 'once in a life time opportunity' for collectors to own a very special piece of Ford's RS history

Classic Car Auctions says its availability represented a ‘once in a life time opportunity’ for collectors to own a very special piece of Ford’s RS history

Up until 1982, it was used by the vendor as a daily driver before being put into storage on chassis stands.

Earlier this year it underwent a full recommission. 

The selling auction house said its availability marked a ‘once in a life time opportunity’ for collectors to own a very special piece of Ford’s RS history.

‘The ‘Holy Grail’ of Capri’s has always been out of reach so the chance to be able to offer such a special car is good enough and keeps the juices flowing for sure,’ it said.

Gary Dunne, Classic Car Auctions sales manager, added that Saturday’s auction had sparked ‘spirited bidding for the Ford Capri RS3100’ and described it as ‘a real thrill’ to see how happy the new owner was, who has vowed to keep it in his collection next to the yellow RS3100 that he already owns. 

The Capri arrived in 1969 as ‘the car you always promised yourself’, as Ford Europe’s response to the huge sales success of the Mustang in America. 

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