Ford Capri RS2600

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Ford Capri RS2600

Ford Capri

Ford Capri RS2600

1970 - 1974
United Kingdom
2637 cc
150 bhp @ 5600rpm
4 Speed Manual
Top Speed:
202 kmh
Number Built:
5 star
Ford Capri
Ford Capri RS2600
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 5

Ford Cologne Competitions Centre

Compared to small, strictly German BMW, Ford was (at least in the early 1970s) a huge international company with practically unlimited resources. Its racing program began seriously in 1964 with the major priorities being Indianapolis and Le Mans, and success was achieved in both types of racing.

In Europe the development of Ford engines by Cosworth and other tuning firms for Formulas 1 and 2 resulted in a continuing domination only occasionally challenged by other makers, and in the Touring Car races Ford Escorts and Capris were equally successful in during the early 1970s.

Developed in Cologne, Germany

The RS Capris were developed at the German Ford facility in Cologne, under Neerpasch, and Broadspeed ran similar cars in England. German Capris mainly had vee engines, though there were 1593- and 1993cc SOHC inline fours. The range included V-4s of 1305, 1498 and 1699cc and V-6s of 1998, 2293, 2550 (as sold in the U.S.) and 2637 cc; the last capacity is that of the road-going RS 2600, basis of the racing car. Although it varied a little depending on the export market, the majority of the 2550-cc V-6 engines that landed in the USA and other shores had an 8.2:1 compression ratio, a Holley-Weber carburetor and an output of 107 bhp at 5000 rpm.

The RS 2600 sold in Europe had its compression ratio raised to 10.5:1 and with Kugelfischer fuel injection the output is 150 bhp at 5600 rpm. Unlike the racing versions, the limited-production RS 2600 actually weighed more than the basic car (2380 lb. compared to 2325 lb.) but the additional power gave the Capri fierce acceleration and a top speed of 130 mph. A paint scheme similar to that of the racing cars gives owners the performance image wanted.

Dominating Touring Car Racing

The Capri RS 2600s were to dominate European Touring Car races from 1971, and they had engine components designed and made by Weslake of Britain but assembled in Germany. The displacement was increased to 2995cc and the output was stretched to the technological limits of the time, an amazing 320 bhp at 7300 rpm. For 1973 Ford (working with Kugelfischer) concentrated on reducing the fuel consumption so that 1972's limit of one hour 40 minutes between stops could be increased to two hours. Because a new 4-valve Cosworth-built engine with an output in the region of 400 bhp was homologated early in 1974, the efforts of the Ford team turned from the then current engine to the chassis, particularly to improve the road-holding to a level that would handle even more horsepower.

The chief engineer at the Ford Cologne Competitions Centre was Thomas Ammerschlager, formerly of NSU and qualified for the Ford job by his ten years of preparing and racing an independent NSU in German touring car events. Taking over Neerpasch's former task of competition management was Michael Kranefuss. Ammerschlager concentrated on balancing out the front and rear handling characteristics. Using the same MacPherson-strut suspension, Ammerschlager decided on a raised front roll center to reduce the difference between front and rear - the rear roll center depended on the pivot point of the Watt linkage and could not be changed. A light-alloy rear axle tried unsuccessfully in 1971 reappeared in 1973, but this latter version featured integral brackets for the trailing arms, which overcame previous failures of the fabricated brackets.

Broadspeed Capris

Plastic strips were used as technical stand-ins for the usual rear semi-elliptics; since "auxiliary" springs were allowed. MacPherson struts with coils were installed as the real rear springing medium. A special front suspension developed by Ralph Broad for the Broadspeed Capris was used on some factory cars, with many believing it to be superior: its basic difference was the use of outboard coil spring/shock units mounted ahead of the wheels and connected to them by swinging links. These units "supplemented" the existing MacPherson struts, although the latter had only token springs to meet the general conformity requirement. The brakes were ventilated discs, the only components on the car interchangeable with parts BMW used.

Six racing RS 2600s were built, three to contest the European Championship plus spares. Ford also ran in the Nuburgring and Le Mans Championship of Makes races, but they struggled against the 3-liter Porsche Carrera RSRs in Group 4. The Carreras had a competitive 330 bhp and weighed much less than the Group 2 machines at 1860 lb. Le Mans trials in April 1973 provided a comparison of lap times: the Capri RS 2600 achieved 4:19.3 (117.6 mph) ten seconds slower than the Carrera RSR on the 8.47-mile circuit and only 2.6 seconds slower than the Corvette 427, but a second faster than the best Ferrari 365GTB4. Drivers of the works Capri RS 2600s included Number One Ford Driver Jackie Stewart, plus Glemser, Mass, Gerry Birrell, John Fitzpatrick and Jody Scheckter. Several private teams ran ex-works 1972 Capris but these did not figure strongly in the championship series.

The one millionth Ford Capri was an RS2600, and was built in August 1973. This Capri was never officially sold in the UK, although a few have now been imported.

Ford Capri RS2600 (1970-1974)

  • Engine: Six-cylinder vee formation at 60 degrees
  • Crankshaft: Four main bearings
  • Bore x Stroke: 90mm x 69mm (3.54in x 2.72in)
  • Capacity: 2637cc (160.9 cu in)
  • Valves: Overhead
  • Compression Ratio: 10 : 1
  • Fuel System: Kugelfischer indirect mechanical fuel injection
  • Maximum Power: 150bhp at 5800rpm - (150bhp at 5600rpm from 1972)
  • Maximum Torque: 166 lb ft at 3500rpm - (159lb ft at 3500rpm from 1972)
  • Transmission: Four speed manual gearbox, fully synchronised
  • Gear Ratios: 4th 1.00, 3rd 1.37, 2nd 1.97, 1st 3.65, rev 3.66 - (from 1972/73: 4th 1.00, 3rd 1.41, 2nd 1.94, 1st 3.16, rev 3.346
  • Final Drive: 3.220 - (3.090 from 1972/73)
  • Top Gear Speed: 19.9mph (32.0kmh) per 1000rpm or 22.6mph (36.3kmh) with 3.090:1 axle
  • Brakes: Standard servo, Girling ventilated front discs from 1971
  • Wheels/Tyres: 6x13 alloy wheels with 185/70 13 tyres
  • Length: 164.8in (4186mm) - (166.9in - 4240mm from 1972)
  • Wheelbase: 100.8in (2559mm)
  • Width: 64.8in (1646mm)
  • Height: 49.7in (1263mm) - 50.5in (1283mm) from 1972
  • Front Track: 54.2in (1377mm) - 54.8in (1392mm) from 1972
  • Rear Track: 53.2in (1352mm)
  • Unladen Weight: 2315lb (1050kg) - 2385lb (1080kg) from 1972
  • Top Speed: 126 mph (202kmh)
  • 0-60mph: 8.6 seconds

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Also see:

Ford Brochures
Ford Europe Paint Charts
Ford Europe Specifications
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