The Story of Build 002

Part 6 - Winding Back the Clock

 

NO.........not the odometer!

 

Sometimes I get very nostalgic about the 1980s and 90s, when I was a young man,

a lot fitter and much less cynical.
 
In the same way that the Apollo Moon-landings would be impossible today - Health and Safety
regulations wouldn't let anyone within a hundred miles of a fuelled Saturn V rocket
for starters - the Tickford Capri belongs to an era that has long since passed.
 
The thought of huge companies like Aston Martin and Ford supporting John Miles' vision
and then a handful of engineers having a thoroughly good time developing the
prototype seems incredulous nowadays.
 
Can you imagine in today's customer-focussed business world - it would take
at least twelve months for a team of consultants to draft up an initial statement
of intent between the key stakeholders that would probably cost
more in fees than the entire Capri project back in 1982.
 
All the engineers would have to attend "corporate awareness" workshops so that
they would be able to complete a directed cost-benefits analysis every
 time they touched the development car to tweak something.
 
Naturally they would all be on performance-related pay with priority given to
 their contribution towards achievement of the business vision rather
than the ability to actually design a car!
 
Anyway, they probably wouldn't be called engineers anymore, rather
end-user expectations managers.
 
No doubt every outing in the prototype would need a risk assessment and an allowance
made for the virtual depreciation on the vehicle as a result of the journey,
 applied to the relevant engineering development cost centre.
 
 In contrast, I recall a story told by Chris Bale who was the Lead Engineer, about
using FMJ624Y to pop between Blakelands and Bedworth and one morning,
not realising that it didn't have any brakes!

 

WHOOPS !
 
Original artwork by Tone Townsend
 
Please contact me if you would like Tone to draw a personal cartoon
 caricature of your own car

 

And of course, when the whole project failed, then another team of consultants
would be paid a fortune to work out what had gone wrong!
 
Do you get the feeling I am a bit cynical about modern business practices?

 

 

Rant over.......at least the Bedworth factory and home of the Tickford Capri is still there.
 
Oh wait a minute.......no it's not!

 

 
The Travellers Rest pub is still there
 
 
 
But that's about it!
 
 
 
Hosiery Street and the factory site is now a housing estate!

 

Anyway, back to continuing the story of Build 002!

 
This time round, my ambition was to get 002 back to his original condition
as far as possible -  I felt it was important due to his unique history
and place in the whole Tickford Capri story.
 
Out came the Zemco cruise control / trip computer and all the Kenwood ICE system.
 
I managed to obtain a brand new set of Goodyear NCT tyres for the original black
pepperpot wheels and sold the 5-spoke wheels through eBay.
 
I subsequently came across a further set of standard silver pepperpots in mint
condition with new Japanese tyres, so those are actually on the car for
regular use and the original black ones are kept just for shows.
 
When I owned 002 before, the original Lucas boost gauge had failed
and I fitted an equivalent Janspeed gauge.
 
Problem was that I now needed to repair the original one,
 but it had been binned long ago.
 
The Chairman of the Tickford Owners Club, Shaun Skinner, very kindly
 let me have an original faulty one that he had in his possession
and I sent it off to Speedy Cables in Wales for repair.
 
They reported back that the gauge was beyond repair and did a beautiful job
making a replica that looks virtually identical.

      

 
Original gauge on the left,  new gauge on the right

 

The grey leather interior was starting to show its age.
 
In particular, the side of the driver's seat was quite badly worn and a split
was beginning to appear.

  

   
All the interior was intact, albeit quite dry and hard But the driver's seat needed immediate attention

 

Question was what to do about it?
 
By chance, in 2009 I came across a company called Protrim in Milton Keynes
and I contacted one of the bosses, a very helpful chap called Dave Cox.
 
Now Protrim (as of 2012, known as Prototrim) normally only do interiors for
private jets and one-off motorshow cars, but a couple of their trimmers
used to work for Aston Martin and one of them remembered
working on Build 002's interior back in 1983!
 
To cut a long story short, they informed me that they would love to have
the opportunity to work on the car and I subsequently drove 002
over to Milton Keynes for a few weeks stay in their trim shop.
 
At the same time, I could see a golden opportunity to correct the two options
that had been missed off the list when Martin Wild originally ordered
 the car back in 1983 - Wilton carpet and a wool headlining.

 

   
The freshly trimmed and re-padded front seat bottoms And immaculate stitching on the front seat backs
   
   
   
     
  The new rear seats and grey Wilton carpet with the edges  
  finished in grey leather piping  
     
     
   
     
  Even the boot and battery box received the Wilton treatment,  
  plus we took the opportunity to remove the box on the opposite  
  side that used to house the original owner's mobile phone  

 

The black wool headlining looked similarly stunning and a huge improvement
on the standard Ford sheet of perforated plastic!

 

 
The original headlining
 
 
 
The new headlining

 

I won't disclose the amount of the bill, but with some things in life,
you only get what you pay for.
 
 Anyway, I looked on the new seats as an investment and money well-spent.
 
 There was just one problem - Protrim had gone to a lot of trouble to obtain an exact
 colour match with the original leather that still adorned the rest of the interior,
but in daylight, due to the old leather having a different surface texture,
 there appeared to be a colour difference on some parts.

 

 
The seats look beautiful and match the original leather on the centre console perfectly,
but note how different the steering wheel looks!

 

To their credit, Protrim were extremely concerned about this and they felt that the
only way for the interior to be 100% perfect would be to re-trim everything.
 
 I took them up on their kind offer and at the end of 2009 delivered all the
remaining trim to Milton Keynes - the dashboard surround,
steering wheel, centre console, door cards and even
all the fiddly twiddly little bits.
 
 I kept the leather map pocket on the front of the glovebox as I wanted one
part of the original leather to remain in the vehicle.
 
True to form, Protrim sorted everything beautifully and all the trim is now
safely back home awaiting re-fitting as at the end of 2011.
 
Curiously, while removing the original trim, a factory record card suddenly
appeared out of nowhere!
 
 It is written in German and must date back to when Build 002 was being built
as a 2.8i Capri, long before Tickford ever got hold of him.
 
 Are there any Ford experts out there that can tell me what it all means please?

 

 
Can't believe this has been hidden in the car for over 30 years!

 

Although the home-made fibreglass backs on the Vitaloni electric mirrors are still
intact, the motors themselves have died of old age.
 
The "Tornado Electric" model is no longer in production and there is a big problem
trying to source "new old stock" because it was a standard fit on some
 Lamborghinis, Renault Alpines and others - new sets can reach
silly prices on eBay.
 
I managed to locate a regular car accessory shop in Germany that had
a brand new pair - you've never seen a credit card move so fast!

 

 
The above was for a single mirror with no switch!

 

So what are my long term plans for Build 002?
 
He most certainly is never going to be sold again for any amount of money
and I have actually willed him to Haynes Motor Museum to guarantee
he is ok long after I've gone to the scrapheap.
 
The mileage currently stands at 72,000 and that is without the engine
or turbo having ever been touched.
 
It would be good long-term to consider things like lowering the compression
ratio and fitting un-leaded cylinder heads, but for now if it's not broken,
then I'm not going to fix it!

 

 

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