During the 1980's, Ford was backing many different racing programs from circle track to drag racing. It was during this time that Ford came up with one of the most interesting yet relatively unknown pace car. In early 1985, the Ford Motor Company was given the honor to supply the pace and parade cars for the Detroit Grand Prix. With the success of the Mercury Capri in the SCCA Trans-Am racing series the previous season, Ford selected the street version of the Capri as the pace car. To further capitalize on the Capri’s on track success, the pace cars received graphics & paint schemes similar to the on track siblings. 30 cars for use as pace and parade car were scheduled to be built. All cars were to white and fitted with the 5.0l V-8 engine and 5-speed manual transmissions. The legend of the Motorsport Capri had began.
The cars left the factory as GS models with the Sport Package which consisted of articulated sport seats, sport tuned suspension, front airdam with foglights and of course the potent 5.0l engine. The first few of cars were culled from local dealerships since there was only a matter of weeks to design and build the cars. The remaining cars were pulled of the production line. In order to meet the deadline some changes to the original plan were made. Three silver cars were put into service due to a shortage of white cars. Silver was the only other color the decals would show correctly on. A couple of automatic equipped cars made into the mix and the cars had either the red or grey interior. Less than two weeks before the event, the cars were shipped to ASC to have their body kit, rear wing, and light covers installed and the graphics applied. The first initial cars were shipped off to be come the actual pace car and backup cars. Rumor has it that these cars had their engines modified by Roush to handle the pacing duties. Whether or not the rumor is true the fact remains that the car the paced the grand prix race was equipped with a shaker hood scoop.
After the race, the cars ended up in the hands of the local dealers who charged a premium for these rare and very special Capris. Most of the cars were sold in Michigan with a couple sold in Ohio. Unfortunately, some of the cars had their decals or other features removed to hasten their sale. Beacuse of this, the cars faded off into obscruity. For more detailed information about these cars go to the Detrot Grand Prix Registry
You Can't Park Here.
Imagine if you will that your wife comes home from work and tells you that she could no longer park her car there because it was the wrong make. Well, that is what happened to engineer Peter Muscat. His wife, a Ford employee, was not allowed park her Mercedes SL in the parking lot. So '82, he converted a '80 coupe into a 2 seat convertible, complete with a canvas top that folded underneath a hard cover, hiding it completely out sight just like his wife's Benz. After the car was complete, he showed the car to Ford. Because Ford was already planning a convertible Mustang for the 1983 model year they passed on the idea. Before leaving, it was suggested that he talk to the people at Mercury. Since the Capri was not going to receive a convertible version, Mercury was sold on the idea. But unlike the Mustang, the Capri did not come in coupe form so the process of making a converible Capri became a major operation. To make his idea work Muscat needed a manufacturing partner. Ford introduced him to the American Sunroof Company and the ASC McLaren was born.
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