Ford Capri 3.0 S. FIA Group 1 Ex-Gerry Marshall/Graham Scarborough
ADVERT ID: 42423
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Ford Capri 3.0 S. FIA Group 1 Ex-Gerry Marshall/Graham Scarborough Autoplan car
A slightly tongue-in-cheek suggestion by Roger Williamson, proprietor of Willhire Vehicle Rentals in Norfolk, resulted in the arrival on the club motor racing scene of the Willhire 24 Hours, an endurance race for production cars and Britain’s first 24-hour motor race.
The event was staged every year between 1980 and 1994 at Snetterton Circuit, becoming known simply as “the Willhire”, and there can’t be many drivers at club and national level during those years that didn’t get involved at least once. Many Willhire winners went on to enjoy success in other forms of motor sport and we are proud to mention that our own Lionel Abbott won the race twice, in 1986 with Mike Smith (the first two-driver team to win the race) and in 1988 with Graham Scarborough.
It was initially assumed that a production car being hammered around Snetterton for 24 hours would self-destruct so, for the first two years, it was a team event with up to four cars used, however, the survival rate was surprisingly good and from 1983 onwards, it became an individual event with cars shared by between two and six drivers.
The Capri on offer today is a 1981 3.0 ‘S’ that was originally built from a Ford-supplied, trimmed body shell for the 1981 production saloon car championships. With funding from Autoplan Warranties, it was put together by Roger Dowson of Gerry Marshal Racing (prior to Roger forming Roger Dowson Engineering) and was finished just in time for the Willhire where the ebullient Gerald Marshall and the equally quick but considerably better behaved, Graham Scarborough, co-drove the car to 2nd place in that race. Gerry continued to race the car for the rest of the season winning every race entered and both Production Saloon Car Championships. (BARC and BRSCC). At the end of the year Gerry sold the car to Harold Hagan in Ireland where it continued to race with much success.
Some 15 years later, in late 1996, Graham Scarborough bought the car, still in it’s original Autoplan livery, and set about fully stripping it and rebuilding the Capri to Group 1 specification in order to compete in the Classic Saloon Car Club Pre-83 Group 1 Championships. Graham’s well known standards of preparation and his undoubted ability behind the wheel resulted in years of success including many wins, dozens of class wins plus the Championships outright in 1998 and ’99 and the Class in 2000 and ‘01. The car was well known at Spa, enjoying many successful visits up to its last outing there at the end of 2016.
The Graham Scarborough-built Group 1 engine was refreshed in 2018 and was set up on Neil Brown’s dyno late in 2021 having done just three races and not used since. A new clutch has been fitted which transmits through to an original Hewland Group 1 close-ratio gearbox and an Atlas 3.44 ratio rear axle. Most recently, the car has benefitted from a thorough refresh with the paintwork and period livery being restored to a very high standard. The car is well set up and well balanced with Bilstein dampers all round.
The Capri is complete with, recently issued, FIA HTP papers valid for 10 years making it eligible for Legends, Goodwood Members’ Gordon Spice Trophy, Classic Touring Car Club (CTCRC) and the Historic Racing Drivers Club (HRDC) Gerry Marshall Trophy.
Well known, much admired and superbly prepared, the ‘Autoplan Capri’ has always proven to be a very fast and very reliable front-running car and, in the right hands, should continue to be a winner.
RACE RETRO CLASSIC AND COMPETITION CAR SALE 2024
Entries are now invited our first sale of 2024 on Saturday 24th February at Race Retro, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. Entries close on 24th January. Race Retro brings together over 24,000 fans, drivers and enthusiasts at the start of the competition car calendar for a weekend of all things motorsport. As the shows official auction partner for the 12th year, we are now inviting entries for what promises to be a magnificent, dedicated sale of Classic and Competition Cars. Discounted tickets for the show are available using the code ICONICAUC.
Raced by two giants of British saloon car racing, initially in Production Saloons and now Group 1, this well-known Autoplan Warranties 3.0 S Capri has amassed a trophy cabinet full of wins over the last four decades and is now on offer with a shiny new set of FIA papers.