THE FORD CAPRI

Classics Monthly - - Capri Mkiii -

Al­though the Con­sul Capri bowed out in 1964, this stylish fast­back is of­ten re­ferred to as the spir­i­tual fore­run­ner of its later name­sake, the MkI Capri. Styled by US de­signer Philip T. Clark, the MkI Capri’s flow­ing lines were based on the iconic Ford Mus­tang, hence the Capri be­ing de­vel­oped un­der the code name Colt. Fol­low­ing a pri­vate un­veil­ing in Bonn, the MkI Capri made its first pub­lic de­but at the Brus­sels Mo­tor Show in Jan­uary 1969.

En­gines avail­able at launch ranged from a 1.3-litre Kent unit right up to a gusty 93bhp 2.0-litre Es­sex V4 in the MkI 2000GT. In Septem­ber 1969 Ford moved the goal­posts with re­gards to the com­pe­ti­tion when it in­tro­duced the 3.0-litre V6-pow­ered GT and GXL. The de­sir­abil­ity of get­ting be­hind the wheel of a V6-pow­ered Capri was fur­ther re­in­forced when the limited edi­tion RS3100 was launched for ho­molo­ga­tion pur­poses in 1973, a move that al­lowed the MkI Capri to go rac­ing.

De­spite all its well-doc­u­mented prob­lems, the V4 re­mained un­der the MkI’s long bon­net right up to the in­tro­duc­tion of the much-im­proved three-door MkII Capri in 1974. Al­though the new Capri re­tained the out­go­ing model’s rear-wheel drive un­der­pin­nings, a 2.0-litre ver­sion of Ford’s re­cently in­tro­duced Pino sin­gle over­head cam in­line-four now re­placed the trou­ble­some V4. The 2.0-litre Pinto had a swept vol­ume of 1993cc and power out­put from this tough unit was a very re­spectable 98bhp at 5200rpm, a slightly bet­ter fig­ure than the V4 could pro­duce.

In 1977 Ford dropped the GT badge on the MkII V6 Capri and re­placed it with the S, while plusher ver­sions re­ceived up­mar­ket Ghia badg­ing. A third ver­sion of the Capri was de­vel­oped un­der the code name of Carla and the cov­ers came off the MkII in March 1978. The most no­table dif­fer­ence was the new model’s quad round head­light set up, a pair of ribbed tail­lights and the ap­pli­ca­tion of Ford’s cor­po­rate Aeroflow grille first seen on the Fi­esta. Most trim and en­gine op­tions of­fered on the new Capri were car­ried over from the out­go­ing model and im­proved aero­dy­nam­ics help im­prove the MkII’s per­for­mance and econ­omy.

By now the Capri’s pop­u­lar­ity was start­ing to wane but reg­u­lar ap­pear­ances by a pair of 3.0-litre S-badged ex­am­ples on the small screen in The Pro­fes­sion­als helped turn the Capri into a cult model in the UK. Never shy to ex­ploit a sales op­por­tu­nity, Ford cap­i­talised on the Capri’s ris­ing cult sta­tus by pro­duc­ing the 2.8 in­jec­tion mod­els for the 1982 model year and Capri 2.0-litre pro­duc­tion now cen­tred around one model, the S. One of the fi­nal limited edi­tions was the fully loaded Brooklands 280 and Capri pro­duc­tion fi­nally came to an end in 1986.

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