Hooniverse Weekend Edition Showdown: Two Rare British "Pony Cars"

It has been a while since we had a “Showdown” here on the Hooniverse, and it’s time to dust off this category for the weekend. Thanks to our own Alex Kierstein, We have brought to you what is probably two of the raddest British “Pony Cars” ever offered to the general public. Say hello to the Ford Capri Tickford, and the Vauxhall HP Firenza “Droopsnout”.

This is a 1986 Ford Capri Tickford Turbo, which was developed by Aston Martin Tickford Ltd, with the prototype unveiled at the 1982 Birmingham (UK) Motor Show. According to the auction listing:

Developed by Aston Martin Tickford Ltd (the famous Newport Pagnell manufacturer’s special projects wing), the newcomer was based on a standard MKIII Capri 2.8 Injection. Visually distinguished by the lift-reducing GRP mouldings that Simon Saunders (latterly of Ariel Atom fame) devised for its nose, flanks and tail, the fixed-head was credited with a 0.37 drag coefficient. Reworked via the addition of an IHI turbocharger and Garrett intercooler, its 2792cc Cologne V6 drove the rear wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox. 

Credited with 205bhp and 260lbft of torque, the high-performance model was reputedly capable of 0-60mph in 6.0 seconds and 139.8mph. Priced at an immodest £14,985, it came with Recaro front seats and a leather-topped walnut dashboard as standard. The plan was to reconfigure 250 examples and an initial batch of 100 Injection Capris was purchased from Ford. However, at some 200 man-hours per conversion, the cars proved expensive to build and expensive to sell. Ultimately just 85 or so are understood to have been completed.

The Auction Estimates (which is scheduled for this weekend) is between £7,500 – £10,000 See the Auction Listing here.

The next car is the 1975 Vauxhall HP Firenza ‘Droopsnoot’, which is an offshoot of the Vauxhall Viva Coupe. By 1972, the Viva line included a 2279cc Sport model producing some 122 HP, and these were the versions that were fielded by Dealer Team Vauxhall in various events throughout the UK. According to the auction listing:

However, overall the range was recognised as a trifle dull and in need of a more dramatic figurehead – enter the High Performance (HP) Firenza. The 2.3-litre OHC Slant Four engine was uprated to 131bhp courtesy of 175 Stromberg carburetters, high-lift camshaft and free-flow tubular exhaust manifold. Suspension was uprated and lowered, the brakes improved and five-speed ZF dog-leg gearbox installed. The newcomer rode on Avon Safety Wheels and all examples were finished in Silver Starfire and featured a largely black interior with silver-grey cloth seats. 

Last, but certainly not least, was the dramatically-styled GRP nose, housing two pairs of Cibie headlamps behind toughened glass covers – a distinctive feature that understandably earned the model its nickname of `Droopsnoot’. The model was launched with great panache by a celebrity race at Thruxton, which was won by Barrie `Whizzo’ Williams. The bad news for Vauxhall, but good news for anybody that now owns an HP, is that a mere 204 examples were sold versus the projection of 30,000!

Auction Estimates for this very rare Vauxhall is between £8,500 – £9,500. See the Auction Listing here.
[poll id=”74″]

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  1. autoidiodyssey Avatar

    How can you not vote for something called "Droopsnoot'?

    1. PFG Avatar

      I'll give you 139.8 reasons why not.

  2. RichardKopf Avatar

    I love the Capri; the wheel weights are unfortunate.

    1. theTokenGreek Avatar

      You'd think they could have hidden them, eh? It is a gorgeous car though. "Being awesome" seems like a trend with British market Fords…

    2. CJinSD Avatar

      I love the wheel weights. The body kit and turbocharger are unfortunate.

  3. Alff Avatar

    As much as I like the Capri II, that body kit makes it look too much like a Saab Aero. I'll take that Opel looking thing.

    1. Mr_Biggles Avatar

      Indeed it does. In fact the front dam almost looks home-made blocky. But I will forgive it as it wears little gold Aston Martin wings on the grille. That goes a long way for me.

  4. tonyola Avatar

    As interesting as the droop snout Vauxhall is, I'd pick the Capri because it has more power and a much nicer interior. However, there was a 2-door wagon version of the droopsnout called the Magnum Sports Hatch. This could be a winner. A warning: this generation of Vauxhall Viva/Firenza was sold by Pontiac of Canada for a couple of years. Apparently, the rust and reliability problems were so bad (even compared to American-sourced Pontiacs!) that a class action lawsuit was brought against GM by the owners. GM settled in the '90s.
    <img src="http://www.droopsnoot.co.uk/Photos/Gallery044.jpg&quot; width=500>

  5. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    With the auction estimates in the same ballpark, price becomes a non-factor in choosing a favorite, and while I am a GM junkie, the Capri with its tuxedo black exterior, and higher power output engine earns my vote.

  6. Jim-Bob Avatar

    I have to go with the Capri here. The Vauxhall just doesn't look right to me while the Capri just looks the business. I'd be chuffed to bits to give the Ford a bit of wellie. Yes, the body kit is a wee bit chav, but the Aston Martin badge more than makes up for it.

  7. Tomsk Avatar

    As menacing as the Capri is the Firenza looks so much more lithe and athletic. Plus it would be a breeze (theoretically) to import and register even here in CA (1975 being the cutoff for smog checks) and be a guaranteed attention grabber at any of the local car shows, particularly the all-British and all-GM ones.

  8. njhoon Avatar

    I have always loved Capris. Add an Aston Martin badges and I am sold.
    The site that these came from has some really cool stuff.

    1. sudden1 Avatar

      Yeah, like a Lola, a Muira, a Cooper- thanks for letting me know..

  9. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    The Capri is gorgeous and has the beans, but she's a dirty dirty girl inside. But the price seems fairly reasonable for what you're getting. Still prefer the original Capris beyond any sane reasoning.