Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!  

Aston Martin recently unveiled their fiddy grand version of the tiny Toyota IQ, the Cygnet. That brand bastardization may be the most extreme, but as today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Tickford Capri demonstrates, it's hardly the first. This Capri's price however, may just tick you off.

There used to be a chain of Supermarkets here in California - hell, I think they were all over the Southwest - called Alpha Beta, a name based on a marketing concept of alphabetical merchandise organization. Playing off that name, one of the car mags of the day - Car and Driver, as I recall - led a comparison test of two Italian coupes with an image of the pair nose to nose in front of an Alpha Beta store. Those cars of course were an Alfetta and a Lancia Beta. The grocery chain is now long defunct, but at least one Lancia Beta has survived and yesterday we all kicked its tires - not too hard mind you, lest they fall off - to see if its amazing survival was worth $4,500. Turns out, in a narrow 51% to 49% vote, you thought it was.

So far this week it's been nothing but ‘70s European coupes, and we've gone one for two, that Lancia piquing the ardor of more of you than did Monday's lackluster BMW. Today we're keeping the dream alive with a Ford Capri that's even more rare than a functional Lancia - a 1986 Aston Martin Tickford Turbo Capri - one of only 100 ever molested by the Newport Pagnell coach builder.


Now, you may note this car's actual model year and cry foul, foul I say! as it is not from the seventies like our earlier contestants. But despite its continued availability to the MTV generation, the Capri hatchback is a car that's rooted in the disco era. Hell, here in the U.S. the Capri (known here as a Mercury and saddled with a superfluous II) went away while Jimmie Carter was still in office, having fallen victim to unfavorable exchange rates. By the time this car was having its interior trimmed in rich Connolly leather and Wilton wool carpeting the American Capri had morphed into a fox-platform Mustang twin. The later ‘90s Capri was even farther removed, being a Mazda 323-based convertible two seater that was like the Miata's fugly cousin.

But in Europe, in the eighties, the Capri still was a Capri, and this special edition of the MK III may have been its ultimate expression. Tickford had a long history but like many British automotive industrials suffered crushing financial difficulties. The company was purchased by David Brown in 1955 joining Aston Martin and Lagonda in his harem. Brown deprecated the Tickford name - appending it to Aston Martin and offering Aston Martin Tickford as an engineering service made available to other car makers for the development of specialty vehicles. Since then the Tickford name and engineering rep has changed hands several times, at one point being owned by Prodrive, and today it remains as a spin-off from that company named Tickford Powertrain Test, and is located in Milton Keynes.


Prior to all that, they built one of the stonking-est street Capris ever. Modified at Ford's behest, the Tickford Capri sports a completely 1%-ified interior with hand-stitched leather covering everything that the lamb's wool carpeting or burled walnut veneers do not. Ford's Capri in Europe had played the role of pony car, much like its fat American cousin the Mustang did here. As such, the car should have been more about the go than the show, and remarkably the Tickford Capri represents on that front as well. Under the hood is a 208-bhp edition of Ford's evergreen 2.8-litre Cologne V6, an engine that could be considered the continental equivalent of the Windsor V8. That pressurized pushrod six was claimed able to propel the manual-equipped car to sixty in a damn fast for mid-1980s 6 seconds. Keep in mind that meant it would keep pace with a Ferrari 328 GTB from the same year, at least to its 140-mph top speed.

The Tickford looks the part too, with an extroverted body kit designed by Simon Saunders who later went on to design (?) the Ariel Atom. Common among the freight train edition Aston Martins of the era, the Tickford uses a blocking plate in place of a grille and out back sports a massive spoiler on the hatch and louvered tail lamp filler. Underneath, disc brakes fill all four 15" alloy wheels, while suspension mods help keep the Capri from embarrassing its fitted Aston badge. Slightly embarrassing to anyone within 12 feet of the car is the gold script PMR on each door. That's probably the initials of the previous owner noted in the ad, but the fact that it also stands for Profound Mental Retardation might make you want to break out the rubbing compound upon purchase.


As I noted, the Euro-Capri stopped coming here long before this car was built, and the 100 or so Tickfords were never, ever, ever offered in the US, because of something to do with the Revolutionary war. This white over grey example - claimed #98 - is presently in Canada, and does sport the sort of side marker lights you'd expect on a grey market car. That being said, a much easier route to it sporting a pair of vanity plates from your state and reading TICK is to do what 2CV owners have been doing for years and stick a VIN plate from a pre-'75 edition on the car and call it a day.

Of course to do so you'll need to actually buy the car, and to do that you'd need to come up with - wait for it - $65,000. Across the pond these cars goes for considerably less - meaning half that - but keep in mind that someone has already gone to the trouble of luring this one to Canada - probably with the promise of free candy or to help find a lost puppy. As it isn't a native, and its naturalization papers are open to question, it naturally is a right-hooker, and its price reflects its uniqueness.

The question is, does that price make it a deal? What do you think, is $65,000 for what is probably the only Tickford Turbo Capri in Canadamerica a price that would make you tick the buy it now box? Or, is this an Aston, that you think is fit for passing?


You decide!

Canadian eh-Bay or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to lemons944 for today's hookup, and apologies to solracer for forgetting to tip him for yesterday's.


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