What Went Wrong in the End?

 

The Tickford Capri was a beautiful, but very labour-intensive, hand-built car.
 
 Each vehicle took over 200 hours to complete.
 
It was designed by some of the best automotive brains in the business,

but they were not so used to working within cost restraints.

 
Tickford were banking on the support of Ford with the marketing,
but sadly this never really came to fruition.
 
The Tickford Capri only ever featured in two Ford brochures - February and March 1984.
 
 It never appeared again in Ford advertising and some dealers didn't even realise that
Tickford were still producing the car!
 
Although no official statement was ever made, it is generally felt that Ford took this stance
because they wanted to favour their own Cosworth Sierra RS500
(which ironically had been partly-developed by Tickford).
 
That suited the dealers fine, as the profit margin for selling actual Ford cars was higher and the
warranty costs of supplying customers with Tickfords were becoming a headache for them.
 
Some dealers were supportive of the Tickford Capri, but not enough to really make a difference.

    

 
Example of one Ford dealer in Kent supporting Tickford

 

No matter what was going on the the background, the delivery of a new
Tickford Capri to its first owner was always a special day for them.

 

 
In the above photo, the first owner of green Build 027 takes delivery from
Michael Broyd, Chairman of Dinnages Ford in Haywards Heath
 
(Photo courtesy of Paul Windram)

 

Brett Wilde was the Sales and Marketing Manager for Aston Martin Tickford Ltd.
 
He wrote to Ford dealers in December 1983 with details of the selling
arrangements for the Tickford Capri.
 
 Dealers were offered two different mark-up rates, depending on whether they wanted
to be classed as a Higher Margin or Lower Margin dealer.
 
A Lower Margin dealer would receive a 5.5% mark-up and in return,
all they had to do was sell Tickford Capris.
 
A Higher Margin dealer would receive a much more substantial 14%, but in returnt hey had
to offer support for the cars and would be given official "Tickford Dealer" status.
 

Brett stated that Ford would be promoting the car in the New Year,

which they did.................briefly!
 
Below you will find scans of Brett's letter and Tickford's terms of sale,
together with schedules of customer and wholesale prices.
 
The customer price for a basic Tickford Capri was 14,985.
 
Each scan is a link to the full-size document that will open in a new window.

  

   
   
   
   
   
   

 

With escalating costs and the lack of support from Ford, Tickford quickly found it necessary

to increase their price to 15,999 before options, with effect from 1st July 1984.

 
Below are scans of the letter sent to the higher margin Tickford dealers by David Johnson
who was Head of Sales and Marketing at Bedworth.
 
In addition to telling dealers about the price change and increasing the dealer margin from
14% to 15%, he also states that Tickford would pay any salesman who secured

the sale of a Tickford Capri during July a personal bonus of 50!

 

 

When production started at the end of 1983, there had been a huge choice
of options on the pricelist.
 
The scans above indicate that Bedworth were now only offering the painted road wheels,
 stainless steel exhaust and electric pack.
 
 What had happened to all the really expensive stuff like the full leather interior

with Wilton Carpet and pearlescent or coach finish paint?

 
It would appear that the luxury options were still available, but had been farmed back to
"Tickford Coachbuilding" based at HQ in Milton Keynes, with a large rise in the prices.
 
Below is a scan of a separate sheet offering these options.
 
 It must date from 1985 as the name "Aston Martin Tickford Limited" is used, but with
 the later Tickford wings badge rather than the earlier Aston Martin wings.
 
The wording was certainly designed to appeal to a particular type of customer with expressions

like "For many the goal of ambition, for the few the foundation of a masterpiece".

 

   

 

By 1986 the price of a basic Tickford Turbo had increased to 17,220 and Ford
were winding-down the entire Capri range.
 
At that time, you could buy one of the final Capri Brooklands 280s for 11,999 and as
they were not selling, Ford dealers were even allowed to drop
the price of the 280 to 9600 for a while!
 
Tickford issued a press release announcing the introduction of their new 1986 model.
 

  Apart from the price increase, the only real change was the addition of

a remote control alarm system.

    

 

Tickford produced a nice black & white photo of the 1986 car to accompany the press release.

 

 

The news subsequently appeared throughout the motoring press.

 

 
Fast Lane reports on the upgrades for 1986

 

The beginning of 1987 saw the final Tickford Capris being built, together with a
further price increase to 18,581.
 
To be fair, this included the pearlescent white or Flaxen Mist paint that was
previously offered as an optional extra.
 
These final cars were also the ones to have the boost gauge and clock moved
 from the centre console up into the main dashboard and then, on the final
two cars, the walnut veneer changed to black ash.
 
Tickford organised a special launch day for the new 1987 model, but it appeared
 to be a bit of a damp squid, as observed by one Tickford Owner who attended.

   

 
Short article about the launch day, courtesy of the Tickford Owners Club

 

 
An article from the Hereford Times on 4th December 1986

 

Tickford ended-up managing to sell just two of their 1987 cars

and one of those only after it had been re-sprayed black!

 

 

 
Taken outside the Bedworth factory in July 1987 - this is the single Flaxen Mist car awaiting delivery to its
first owner - Tickford were concentrating on the Cosworth RS500s by then

 

 
The car has gone through several registration changes since, but retains its unique colour

 

They had originally envisaged building 400 cars overall and were quoted
as aiming for 200 - 250 in the first year.
 
This target was later reduced to 250 in total, which is the figure often mentioned in the press.
 
When they finally stopped production, it was reported that only 100 cars had been built.
 
Well not quite!  The whole issue of build numbers is very confusing
as the cars were not built or sold in strict sequence.
 
 I am indebted to Shaun Skinner for helping me try to get my head around it!
 
It is known that Tickford did not keep a large stock of 2.8i Capris ready for conversion
and they were generally bought from Ford as and when required.
 
It does appear however that at two points during production, they
did build-up a small stock.
 
This first happened in 1984 when Tickford Capris were being ordered and put
through the factory at quite a rate.
 
A further stock was accrued after Ford announced the end of Capri production.
 
In both cases, Tickford ended-up selling some unconverted cars
to get the stock level back down under control!
 
During the years of production 1983 - 1987, a total of 100 2.8i Capris were
bought by Aston Martin, but only 85 of them were claimed
to have been re-sold converted to full Tickford Turbos.
 
The remaining 15 cars were sold on after production ended as standard
 2.8 Injection Specials, all registered as Fords on 9th April 1987. 

 

  Registration Colour Status  
         
  D560FKV White Unknown  
  D562FKV White Scrapped 2007  
  D563FKV White SORN  
  D564FKV White Scrapped 1992  
  D565FKV Black SORN  
  D980FKV White On the road  
  D981FKV Black On the road  
  D982FKV Red Scrapped 1988  
  D983FKV White Unknown  
  D984FKV Red Scrapped 2002  
  D985FKV Black SORN  
  D986FKV White SORN  
  D987FKV Black Scrapped 1993  
  D92GVC White On the road Note - not original registration
  A6FAO White SORN Note - was D990FKV

 

   
   
   
This is quite sad - the last car that Tickford sold from the 15 unconverted 2.8 Injections at the end,
originally registered as D990FKV and offered for sale on eBay at the beginning of 2012

 

Even the figure of 85 is not totally correct, as earlier during production Tickford had sold
10 unconverted cars from the stock of standard 2.8i Capris
that they had built-up at the time.
 
They were B-reg and currently, none of these cars have been located, although
there is some information held about chassis numbers

 

  Chassis Registration Colour Sale Price Intended Build Number  
             
  EB98305 B385PKV Black Not known 52  
  ER10760 Not known White 5956 65  
  ER17277 B366PKV White 6558 68  
  ER17278 B364PKV White Not known 57  
  ER17279 B383PKV White Not known 66  
  ER22749 Not known White 5956 62  
  ER22750 Not known White 5956 61  
  ER22751 B378PKV White 5956 67  
  ER22752 Not known White 5956 63  
  ER22753 Not known White 5956 64  
 
*  Data originally published by the late Mick Millward, organiser of the Tickford Register

 

It is known that 3 Tickford Turbos were built with build numbers exceeding 100 and one
was built to a specific customer request long-after production had ceased.
 
There is also one full Tickford that doesn't have a build number at all!

 

 
The last Tickford Capri to go through the company books, registered
on a much later J-plate, but confusingly Build 095
 
Logic would say that builds 086 to 100 should have been
the ones sold unconverted!

 

   
The recently beautifully-restored 001 that Tickford 097 is a full Tickford, pictured here for sale at the
sold after they had finished using it for the 1983  Yeovil Festival of Transport in 1988 for 15,995
 Motorshow and early 1984 Ford advertising  

 

 
My own car Build 002 was the first one that Tickford sold
 
The number plate is very apt as John Miles assures me Tickford envisaged
building 400 vehicles originally and not the 250 often quoted in the press

 

Then there were pre-production prototypes that didn't receive build numbers.

 
The original white Motorshow car FMJ624Y, that appeared in many of the early

road tests, disappeared without trace and has never been re-located.

 

Another prototype, the red FMJ625Y, is still in existence.

 
In the beginning, a Forest Green 2.8i Capri was used for the bodywork development
only, so we won't count that one, but there was also an early black
engine-development car registered as BHK573X that has
joined the list of "missing in action".

 

   
These rare photos of the engine-development prototype have only recently been unearthed
(courtesy of Steve Saxty)

 

I believe that BHK573X was the original car given to Tickford by Ford as part of the
initial deal agreed by John Miles, Victor Gauntlet and Bob Lutz in November 1981.
 

   It seems that Ford used a few cars from this series of registration numbers as demonstrators.

 

 
The prototype car's brother BHK571X featured in an article
about handling run by Street Machine in August 1983

 

It is hard to summarise the all-too-short production years of the Tickford Capri
without feeling more than a twinge of sadness.
 
Such a great concept - thank goodness Tickford decided to give the project a go
and stick to their principles in spite of the odds stacking up against them.
 
Overall, a very tragic end to the production of what many people quite rightly consider
to be the ULTIMATE CAPRI!

 

 

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