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Tickford is an automobile engineering and testing company with an almost two century-long history of coachbuilding and is now famous for tuning and such products as the 140 mph Tickford Turbo Capri.

Car tuning practice of modifying automobiles

Car tuning is the modification of the performance. Most vehicles stay stock for an average driver's expectations and conditions, although tuning has become a way to personalize the characteristics of a vehicle to the owner's preference. Cars may be altered to provide better fuel economy, produce more power, or provide better handling and driving.

Turbocharger forced induction device for internal combustion engines

A turbocharger, colloquially known as a turbo, is a turbine-driven forced induction device that increases an internal combustion engine's efficiency and power output by forcing extra compressed air into the combustion chamber. This improvement over a naturally aspirated engine's power output is due to the fact that the compressor can force more air—and proportionately more fuel—into the combustion chamber than atmospheric pressure alone.

Ford Capri fastback coupé manufactured by Ford Motor Company

The Ford Capri is a fastback coupé built by Ford Motor Company between 1968 and 1986, designed by American Philip T. Clark, who was also involved in the design of the Ford Mustang. It used the mechanical components from the Mk2 Ford Cortina and was intended as the European equivalent of the Ford Mustang. The Capri went on to be a highly successful car for Ford, selling nearly 1.9 million units in its lifetime. A wide variety of engines was used in the Capri throughout its production lifespan, which included the Essex and Cologne V6 at the top of the range, whilst the Kent straight-four and Taunus V4 engines were used in lower specification models. Although the Capri was not officially replaced, the second-generation Probe was effectively its replacement after the later car's introduction to the European market in 1994.


Salmons & Sons' patent Tickford winding gear. A crankhandle winds the luxurious and heavy roof up or down Tickford patent winding gear.jpg
Salmons & Sons' patent Tickford winding gear. A crankhandle winds the luxurious and heavy roof up or down

History 150 years of coachbuilding

Salmons & Sons

Tickford Limited grew from the very substantial coachbuilding business founded in the 1820s by Joseph Salmons later known as Salmons and Sons at Tickford on the east side of Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire. Their products bore the brand-name Tickford. With the advent of the internal combustion engine, Salmons & Sons progressed into developing coachbuilt cars as early as 1898 and prospered. [1] In 1925 they announced their Tickford "All Weather" body, a drophead with the hood mechanism operated by inserting and turning a handle in the rear quarter-panel. [2]

Tickford Priory

Tickford Priory was a medieval monastic house in Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire, England.

Newport Pagnell town in Buckinghamshire, England

Newport Pagnell is a town in Buckinghamshire, England. In the Borough of Milton Keynes, it is separated from Milton Keynes itself by the M1 motorway, on which is Newport Pagnell services. The Office for National Statistics records Newport Pagnell as part of the Milton Keynes urban area.

Internal combustion engine engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber

An internal combustion engine (ICE) is a heat engine where the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber that is an integral part of the working fluid flow circuit. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high-pressure gases produced by combustion applies direct force to some component of the engine. The force is applied typically to pistons, turbine blades, rotor or a nozzle. This force moves the component over a distance, transforming chemical energy into useful mechanical energy.

During the 1930s Salmons built standard catalogued Tickford drophead bodies for: BSA, Daimler, Hillman, Lanchester, MG, Rover, Standard, Triumph, Vauxhall and Wolseley. [3]

By the late 1930s 450 people were employed producing 30 car bodies a week. Their London showrooms were at 6–9 Upper Saint Martin's Lane WC2.

Austin 16 car model produced 1927-1938

The Austin Sixteen Light Six is a British car that was made by Austin from 1927. Announced in October 1927, the first deliveries were planned for March 1928.

Tickford Limited

In 1943 following Ian Boswell's purchase of Salmons & Sons Limited the company changed its name to its trademark, Tickford Limited. [4]

Donald Healey Motor Company company

Donald Healey Motor Company Limited was a British car manufacturer.

1955–1981: Aston Martin Lagonda

In late 1955 Tickford Limited was bought by David Brown, [5] owner of Aston Martin since 1947 and Lagonda since 1948 both always fitted with Tickford bodies. He soon moved Aston Martin onto the site at Tickford Street where it remained until Ford moved DB7 production to Bloxham and then to Gaydon for the DB9 and DBS.

History of subsequent diversification

1981–1990: CH Industrials

In 1981 Aston Martin created an engineering service subsidiary and chose the name 'Aston Martin Tickford', rekindling the specialist service available to all vehicle makers, which had been the Tickford philosophy for the first half of the century. With the changing fortunes of Aston Martin, the company moved into a purpose-built facility in Milton Keynes under the separate ownership of CH Industrials plc and despite carrying out a lot of unseen, “back-room” engineering projects for major manufacturers, gained most publicity from adding engineering and tuning to its coachbuilder roots allowing it to develop special products like the 140 mph, turbocharged Tickford Capri for Ford. After the Capri, Tickford worked with among others, MG to create the Maestro Turbo and Ford to create the road-going Sierra Cosworth RS500 and the homologated version of the RS200. These vehicles were made in a factory set up near Coventry and a railway division was set up in Nuneaton to design interiors for underground and mainline train carriages.

The roof of the Jaguar XJS cabriolet was also designed by Tickford. These cars were originally converted by Tickford themselves, but it was so successful that Jaguar set up a convertible production line to cope with demand.

1990–2001: Independence

During the collapse of the CHI Group in 1990, the directors of Tickford executed a buy-out and saved Tickford from going into receivership, partially funded through the sale of the railway division to Babcock International. Tickford was now back in its roots of engine and vehicle engineering and worked on developing new markets. The company won projects in Detroit and the Far East and set up liaison offices in the USA and Germany.

Tickford set up a production line in Daventry to convert the Ford Puma into the limited edition Ford Puma Racing (just 500 were built) and did most of the engineering design and development of the Ford Focus RS at Milton Keynes, also providing a build facility next to Ford's Saarlouis plant.

Tickford Vehicle Engineering & Ford Tickford Experience

After a Worldwide search, Ford Australia selected Tickford as a joint-venture partner, resulting in Tickford Vehicle Engineering Pty Ltd (TVE)being established in 1991 as the high performance car division of Ford in Australia. [6]

TVE is best known for building the Ford Falcon XR6 and XR8 models for Ford. It also engineered a range of higher performance cars, the T-Series [7] with TE50 & TS50 models based on the Ford AU Falcon [8] and the TL50 derived from the Ford AU Fairlane. The T-Series models were launched in October 1999 under the FTE name, [9] FTE being an acronym for Ford Tickford Experience. [10] The "T-Series" was produced in very limited numbers with less than 500 built. The third series, known as the T3 was the final resting place for the Ford Windsor V8 engine and the last model from TVE.

2001–2005: Prodrive

In 2001 the whole Tickford Group in UK, Germany, Australia and USA, was acquired by Prodrive, the British motor sport company and, in 2002, its Australian joint venture with Ford, Tickford Vehicle Engineering, was rebranded as Ford Performance Vehicles. The Tickford name disappeared again.

2006–2012: Tickford Powertrain Test

In December 2006, the management team of Prodrive Test Technology, running the former Tickford site at Milton Keynes, purchased the business from Prodrive, renaming it Tickford Powertrain Test. The company now focused on the independent engine and vehicle testing needs of vehicle manufacturers, component companies and the catalyst and petroleum industries. In June 2007, the company acquired Scott Gibbin Ltd, a Peterborough-based engine test and development company. In the spring of 2009 the Peterborough site was closed and the work transferred to the Milton Keynes facility in Tanners Drive.

2013–present: Intertek

Intertek Group plc, a provider of Assurance, Testing, Inspection and Certification services to a wide range of industries worldwide, acquired Tickford on 31 December 2012 from its management shareholders. Traded as Intertek Tickford for 12 months and then latterly just Intertek.[ citation needed ]


Tickford built on its engine performance heritage with the development of V8 racing engines for Aston Martin. These were raced in Nimrod and EMKA chassis and powered Nimrod to third place in the 1983 World Endurance Championship for Makes. Tickford also developed Cosworth engines for Ray Mallock Racing and Ecurie Ecosse, with the latter gaining second place in the C2 Class of the 1987 World Sports Prototype Championship for Teams.

In the late 1980s Tickford designed, developed and built Formula One engines, including some with unique 5-valve cylinder heads. A Tickford 5v version of the Judd V8 was commissioned by Camel Team Lotus for Nelson Piquet and Satoru Nakajima to use.

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Tickford Vehicle Engineering (TVE) was responsible for numerous automotive projects and upgrades for Ford Australia between 1991 and 2002. In 1999, TVE setup Ford Tickford Experience (FTE) as a competitor to Holden Special Vehicles (HSV). In 2002, the operations changed to Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) coinciding with Tickford's global operations being bought out by Prodrive.


  1. Aston Martin Lagonda, Newport Pagnell Historical Society accessed 5 April 2019
  2. Newport Pagnell's finest bodies. Ian Morton, The Times, Saturday, 9 August 1997; pg. 7[S1]; Issue 65964
  3. p.77, Michael Sedgwick, Cars of the Thirties and Forties, Hamlyn, London 1975 ISBN   0600321487
  4. Dennis C Mynard, Salmons & Sons, The Tickford Coachbuilders, Phillimore, Chichester / Tempus, 2007 ISBN   1860774229 ISBN   978-1860774225
  5. The David Brown Corporation Limited. The Times, Thursday, 19 April 1956; pg. 18; Issue 53509
  6. Tickford in Australia Retrieved from www.webarchive.org on 28 November 2008
  7. "T-Series" Information Retrieved from www.tseries.info on 28 November 2008
  8. drive.com.au (4 October 2016). "Jaguar F-Type Project 7". Drive.
  9. Ford Tickford Experience set for Launch in October Also engineered the greatest LPG system even designed in Australia.Archived 28 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved from www.autoweb.com.au on 28 November 2008
  10. FTE Questions & Answers Retrieved from www.internetarchive.com on 28 November 2008