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The Ford Capri Laser Page

On a wing and a Prayer…

For this restoration I was determined to try and re-fit original Ford Capri wings as the last time pattern parts were fitted and they never looked that great despite a lot of fettling.  If you get a genuine wing side by side with a pattern part you instantly see why:

1) The genuine wing is made of much thicker gauge steel and is considerably heavier.
2) The pattern wing is so flimsy you can easily distort the metal with the push of a finger.
3) The folds and creases are sharper on genuine wings.

Having had both (we did actually buy a pattern wing at one point) I can tell you there is a World of difference.  As they can be quite hard to tell apart and having spoken to a few people I can reveal the following tests to confirm they are genuine.

1) Most importantly genuine wings have a unique feature that can be felt by rubbing your finger underneath the front edge (the part that goes over the headlamps).  On genuine wings there is a circular feature you can clearly feel with your fingers about 1.5” in diameter.  Patter wings won’t have this feature.

2) Genuine wings have the folded metal lip around the wing arch folded more into a “V” shape whereas on pattern wings the lip is at 90 degrees.

3) Genuine wings have a row of raised spots running along the middle of the wing rail (a bit like Braille). Pattern wings will be smooth.  Note that as in the case of mine, one of the rails was missing so was impossible to see this but the pattern was visible on the offside one.

4) Note that it is unlikely that either genuine or pattern wings will be stamped in any way and Ford used to only use factory stickers on the inner metal which will be long gone.  I did find a few numbers stamped on the wing rail towards the back (near the A post).  But theses are less relevant than the other features above.

5) Genuine wings are heavy and very stiff.  You can’t dent them with your fingers!

So don’t fall victim to buying cheap pattern wings fobbed off as genuine.  A brand new genuine wing would cost upwards of a thousand pounds today if it ever came on the market!  Expect to pay at least £200 for useable second hand ones requiring TLC.  At the time of writing a pattern wing was around £120 - £170.  They are made by different companies and Dennis believes that some are much better than others.  But they are made on 25 tonne presses where the original Ford wings would have been stamped on 100 tonne presses; hence the thicker gauge.

Using genuine Ford Capri wings that are serviceable is not as easy as it sounds as they are pretty much impossible to find anymore.  Finally after six months of searching daily on sites such as Ebay I found a pair for sale in Northern Ireland.  They were advertised as second hand but restored and looked pretty good in the pictures.  Certainly there was no serious rot for thirty year old metal.  I made an offer just under four hundred pounds plus shipping which was accepted.

The wings turned up just about in one piece.  On first inspection they looked pretty good with no visible rust.  The near side wing had a new wing-rail welded in place as the original metal had come apart during removal.  And on closer inspection there were numerous minor dents, blemishes and distortions.  Dennis the panel beater from Quest brothers came to have a look at them and was a bit under whelmed on first inspection.  He thought (wrongly) I could just get brand new ones at a click of a finger.  A closer inspection and he thought they could “possibly” used but he had major concerns for the repaired nearside wing as the rail had clearly been welded in place of the car and the wing looked distorted as a result.  Still I was stuck with them and there was only one way to find out if they would fit.

So with a pair of wings in the shed things gathered momentum and on my return from a business trip to Taiwan I got a call from Quest Brothers saying they were ready to take the car in and start…..

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If you study the “new” genuine Ford  wing above the wheel arch you can see the distortion on the top section that was going to cause problems!