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  Article Image gallery (27) Chassis (2) Specifications  
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Country of origin:United States
Produced in:1985
Designed by:Bill Riley and Gary Pratt for Protofab
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:October 31, 2014
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAhead of the 1984 season, Ford enlisted the services of Jack Roush to construct and campaign a Mercury Capri in the SCCA Trans-Am Championship. Very much an engine specialist, Roush called in the help of specialist company Protofab to construct the purpose-built chassis. Established by Charlie Selix, Protofab employed the services of engineers Bob Riley and Gary Pratt to design the chassis.

Very much a silhouette formula, the Trans-Am cars of the 1980s only resembled the road cars they were based on from a distance. Under the broad fibreglass body, the Roush Capri featured a steel tubular frame with all-round independent suspension, provided by Protofab. Roush focused his efforts on the highly tuned naturally aspirated Ford V8. Despite breathing through a single carburettor, the engine was good for at least 650 bhp and as much as 800 bhp later in its career.

Although facing seemingly more sophisticated turbocharged rivals, the Mercury Roush Capri proved hugely successful, winning 12 of the 18 Trans-Am races during its debut season. Tom Gloy was the first 'Ford' driver to be crowned champion since 1970. Towards the end of the year, Roush also created a Mustang bodied version, built to the nearly identical GTO specification. It was raced in the IMSA season finale at Daytona, scoring a debut victory.

During the following season, Roush fielded the Capri in Trans-Am and the Mustang in IMSA GTO. The two cars were so closely related that the same chassis was raced as a Capri one week and a Mustang a week later. It was another hugely successful season for the team, clinching both championships. For 1986, Roush switched to the Mercury Merkur for Trans-Am, while the Mustang continued to dominate the IMSA GTO class.

By 1987, the the Roush-prepared Mustang was finally showing its age, although Tom Gloy still placed second in the IMSA GTO championship. Over a dozen of these silhouette racers were built and several were raced for many more seasons with a wide variety of bodies.

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  Article Image gallery (27) Chassis (2) Specifications