May 1975 - Thruxton
Announced August 8th 1974 in Autosport and other papers the stunning Ford Capri mark 2 brought Dave Brodie back to the tracks a year after his horrific BTCC crash at Silverstone. Built by renown builder Chas Beattie the black beast looked a million dollars and caused more positive publicity for the new Supersaloon series that had effectively replaced the British Saloon car championship as the most exciting tintop racing. Power came from an Essex-block 3.4 litre V6 rated 330bhp and the car featured torsion bar suspension. The car made it into the CCC magazine's 'Big bangers are back' article ( October 1974 ) even though it wasnt one of the cars on the famous Jeff Bloxham group shot for the cover. 'Only the front passenger area and inner front wings are now in steel ,the rest being removable fibreglass panels' it reported. Under those huge arches were Iso Marlboro F1 16-17 X 13 at the rear and 10-11 inch BBS at the front. Driving duties to be shared with Jonathan Buncombe.
The car made its debut at Knutstorp on the last day of August. Brodie had arranged for 6 supersaloons to race in an inviational and as 1st reserve had to start when Tony Hazelwood was forced to withdraw although was barely ready. He started from the from row but retired with an engine issue. By the season's supersaloon finale the Thruxton in November the car still wasnt right and not just stuck with only a 2.8 unit 'this car ,which is rapidly becoming a White Elephant through lack of races blew up in practice for another non-start' reported Autosport.
Sadly the car didnt live up to the publicity and expectation for one reason or other. It didnt really get going until 1975 and had a multitude of problems leading to DNFs. Such as shame as it really looked the part and brought Dave back into special ( super ) saloons.
In 1976 the team cut their losses and the car was bought by MacMillan Publishing company for their car collection and raced on and off by John Olding. The car resurfaced briefly in 1981 tested by Nick Whiting for CCC Magazine having been recently bought by Geoff Harris for £4000. Harris had previously raced the Viva V8 and the Capri was apparently in a delapidated condition when he obtained it. The car was still in black but now had a Zakspeed 'Mampe'-inspired livery after the first of the Group 5 Capris.
After this the car slipped into obscurity ,the decades passed and enthusiasts still today ask 'what ever hapened to the mark 2 Capri supersaloon'.
August 1974 - the publicity shots for the brand new wide-arched mark 2 Capri supersaloon made it an instant 'poster boy' for the series. It also brought the charismatic race driver Dave Brodie back to the tracks.
Sadly the car failed to live up to expectations and faded away though still remembered by enthusiasts who saw it compete.
May 25th 1975 : A rare start as Brode breifly holds 3rd at the Brands Hatch Supersaloon round before his rear torsion bar welding broke up as it had in practice. Behind Martin Birrane and Gerry Marshall on Baby Bertha's debut also retired.
''We made a big mistake with that one'' recalled Dave Brodie on the Capri. ''I built it when I came out of Hospital having broke my legs into 23 pieces ,took me 2 years to learn to walk again properly. I wanted to build a quick club car to carry on from the Escort ( Run Baby Run ). So I did the spec and Ford said they'd give me the 3.4 G.A.A engine and when I asked them they ( only ) gave me the 2.8 . That's when I should have gone off and got a small block Ford V8 'coz the diff was strong enough to take 5 or 6 hundred bhp. It was a good handling car and a good looking car but it was never the car I wanted''. Jonathan Buncombe summed the car up in 2019 with "Brodie and I had it built. Cost me all my money at that time in 1974. Was built to take a V12 Westlake engine then at the last mo changed to the new GA. The early engines were so brittle. I put two rods out the side on the first two test days!!!!! The car was never any good!!!!
When Brodie and his team decided to cut their losses the car was sold to MacMillan Publishing in 1976 who had an interest in saloon car racing. Driver John Olding had already raced in some special saloon races in the company's Chevy Camaro.
The car still under-performed and results are sketchy.
By 1981 the car had disappeared off the radar until bought by Bernie Harris ,apparently in delapidated condition for £4000. Harris had campaigned another unique supersaloon in the 70's in the form of the Vauxhall Viva V8 , see seperate page. A regular at Croft through the '70s Harris is one those drivers that despite interesting machinery rarely got a mention in Autopsort results . This can only be due to regulary finishing outside the top 3 in his class as ive failed to find any race dates for him in the Viva and the Capri ,which rather a shame.
In dazzling livery almost certainly inspired by the Zakspeed 'Mampe' Group 5 turbo Capri from 1978 the car appears to have finally got its overdue G.A.A. engine. The spec sheet seems to have a misprint as the usual capacity for a GAA is 3412 cc though it suggests it has a shorter stroke than normal. The car was track tested for Cars and Car Conversions in 1981 by retired racer Nick Whiting.
Fantastic photo of Bernie at Donington taken by Jey Cookson climbing the Schwanz Curve ( known as Coppice Wood back then ) a rare photographic spot but perfectly captured.
May 21st 1977 - John Olding in qualifying sat Oulton Park for an ESSO UNIFLO round. A time of 1min 13 was 6th fastest but along with fellow Class A entrants Alan Minshaw and Derek Barnes all did not start.