Henry Ford II’s Custom-Built 1981 Ford Capri Is Up for Auction
The driver’s seat is wider than the standard seat to accommodate Ford II’s “wider frame.”
Ford has built its empire with masterful creations like the Mustang and F-150, things you or I are used to seeing every day out on the road. That being said, there's something extra special about an American car built and sold exclusively outside of the U.S.—just ask anybody who's driven an RS200.
Or, you could ask Henry Ford II, who learned quickly that being the CEO of Ford Motor Company means that you have access to pretty cool rides wherever a Ford is sold—but sadly, he's dead, so you'll have to take our word for it. One such example, however, is this bespoke 1981 Ford Capri, a car built exclusively for Ford II to drive across Europe whenever he visited. And now, it can be yours to do exactly the same.
The original Capri was intended to be Europe's Ford Mustang. It was a rather American car with a tinge of European styling, and over the years morphed into something that looks a bit more like a rowdy Pinto. And at the tail end of 1981, the flagship began rolling off the assembly line complete with its all-new, 158 horsepower 2.8-liter V6—the perfect car for Ford's former CEO and Henry Ford I's eldest grandson.
As the car made its way through Ford's assembly plant in Cologne, Germany, workers made sure that the car left the factory a in tip-top shape. That means extra strenuous quality control checks and ensuring the car had a few extra layers of its two-tone Graphite Grey and Strato Silver paint.
The car was then shipped to Ford's Dunton Technical Center where it underwent further modification to ensure it was worthy of being driven by a Ford. Dunton has historically been perhaps one of the most monumental facilities to Ford Europe, housing projects like Special Vehicle Engineering team, which would later become Ford's RS division. But in December 1981, the Technical Center had just one goal: make a good car for Henry Ford II.
Despite the significance that Dunton brought to Ford's performance over the years, the Capri remained as it was from the factory with no extra go-fast bits. However, it's worth noting that the car was equipped with the 3-speed automatic from the then-current generation Mustang was instead of the 4-speed manual gearbox in the name of convenience. Ford's design team, however, immediately got to work. It created custom leather seats and matching door cards for the Capri. And as unusual as it may seem, the team reportedly was sure to build a slightly wider driver's seat to accommodate Ford's girth.
The car was delivered to the Ford family's country residence in Buckinghamshire, about an hour's drive north-west of London where it became Henry's daily driver until 1983 when he returned to the United States. The Capri was then purchased by a VP at Ford and eventually five other owners who amassed a reasonable 68,958 miles, of which 6,800 miles were put on over the past three decades.
The Capri is being offered for sale at a U.K. auction house called Car & Classic. The firm estimates that the car will sell for somewhere between the U.S. dollar equivalent to $34,800 and $48,800. At the time of writing, the top bid was $33,986 with just a few hours remaining.
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