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Tim Cox MKIII 3.0S VHK 493S Ford Press Launch Capri
S.T.B (Start of Training Build) is how VHK 493S started life back in December 1977. Ford Capri 3.0S VHK 493S was one of three pre-production 'Press' cars that were built in December 1977 during the Christmas factory shut-down at Ford's 'Niehl Pilot Plant' (plant 482) in Cologne, Germany. This plant was used for producing prototypes and preparing cars for the 'Press' to use. Components and procedures were tested on a small scale before full scale production started.

The body-shell for VHK 493S was actually assembled on the 'MKII' Capri production line and this MKIII Capri does share some trim details that were found on the MKLII Capri such as chromed air vents and seat belt retainers. When completed, VHK 493S travelled to the UK on a covered truck to prevent anyone from getting a glimpse of this new Ford model.

During here first two months at the Ford Press depot in Iselworth, London she was chosen along with two of her stable-mates, to attend a photo shoot for AUTOCAR magazine - the March 1978 edition of which would feature the launch of the MKIII Capri.The photo shoot was staged in a quarry in Buckinghamshire. The cover photo of the AUTOCAR March 1978 edition features VHK 493S being 'ragged' at high speed through the mudy quarry by the then AUTOCAR magazine Artwork Manager. After here 'muddy hell' she was returned to the Ford Press depot for a hose-down and full valet in the official Ford 'Wash Bay'.

After the initial Press lauch, VHK 493S was moved to Ford's 'Frog Island' compound where the Press cars were disposed of. VHK 493S was sold to the Ford main dealer in Maidenhead where it was subsequently sold on to eight other owners from 1979 to 1984 in the south of England. In 1984 things went badly wrong for VHK 493S .. she was filled up with petrol and driven from the petrol station with payment that year and then shortly afterwards was reported "stolen".

Records show that VHK493S then remained in a Police compound for 21 years!

After 21 years in the compound, VHK 493S was in a very 'sorry state', but in 2005 she was bought and was put back on the road - soon to be sold to the late John Phelps. John was a true 'Capri' enthusiast and knew the value of this Capri and restored it to a very high level - it was on our Capri Club International stand at the 2008 NEC Classic Motor Show (below).


Current owner Tim Cox bought VHK 493S in April 2017 and he has undertaken extraordinary research into the history of this iconic Capri. Former owners have realled their time with this Capri and in 2019 Tim visited the Ford Press Depot in London for many of the photos in the above slide show. VHK 493S toured the UK in 2019 attending many of the 'Capri 50 Years' celebration events at Silverstone, Ford Warley HQ, British Motor Museum gaydon, Ford Dunton Test Track, Brooklands Motor Museum. Photographed at Silverstone with the final MKIII Capri Brooklands D194 UVW as part of the slideshow above.

In 2021, VHK 493S was on the Capri Club International Club stand and was displayed on a reproduction of the famous AUTOCAR magazine cover image - splashing through the muddy quarry. Tim even sprayed mud on his Capri to give that realistic effect!

In the summer of 2018 Tim had a fantastic opportunity for a photo shoot
in a traditional Ford Main dealership showroom.
Thanks to Sidney Jackson & Son (Prestbury) for the opportunity
including the amazing photo with a Model-T Ford