A squarer, boxier version of the Mazda Miata. Built by Ford Australia, it was actually exported to the United States. While it was quite successful at home (despite a slight reputation for being a lemon), nobody Stateside has ever heard of it.

A different car of the same name was produced by Ford in Europe in the 1970s and early 1980s. A fastback sporting saloon - a couple of inches too much legroom in the back to count as a 2+2 but not enough to use the back seat for any practical purpose - with engines up to 3 litres, it was a favourite of boy racers and police forces in the UK. It combined the worst of all possible worlds: zero carrying capacity and rubbish performance for all but the largest engined versions. Its owners tended to be deeply sad men desperately trying to fight off middle age and proto-yuppies in the jobs before they made the breakthrough to the Porsche.

The following is taken from:
http://motors.loot.com/scripts/lootsite.dll?page&pageid=pages/motors/classic/capri/1/default.htm

An article I wrote in October 2000 for Loot.com. It's impossible for people who did not grow up in the UK during the 1970s and 1980s to fully appreciate the cultural impact this car had; nowadays, it is increasingly a relic of the past, replaced in the minds of boy racers by old Toyota Supras and Subaru Imprezas.

"Few things have seen their public image rise so high, and fall so far, as the Ford Capri. Launched in 1969 as a European equivalent of the wildly popular Mustang, the German-built Capri was a rear-wheel-drive, four-seater sports coupé with a variety of engine options borrowed from contemporary Ford saloons. The elongated snout, sporty engine range, and low price appealed to young motorists who were looking for something with which to impress, and the extensive use of the car in the popular television series 'The Professionals' boosted both the popularity of the car, and its macho image.

Unfortunately for the Capri, the world turned a corner in January 1980 and, as with anything that had been popular in the ’70s (with the exception of 'Star Wars'), the car was considered dated in the new decade. In the age of the 'hot hatch', the Capri was yesterday's news, and the car conjured up images of ageing 'boy racers' who could not afford a Ford Sierra Cosworth. What goes around, comes around, however, and almost fifteen years after discontinuation, the Capri is almost trendy again - well-kept models (especially V6 'Lasers') are increasingly sought after as practical grand tourers.

There were three major Capri variations, although the shape remained the same throughout. The easy way to tell the difference is to remember that the Mark I had mock cooling vents drilled into the bodywork ahead of the rear wheels, the Mark II did not, and the Mark III had four headlights. Other than that, the only differences were engine specification – the entry-level models used base-model 1.3, 1.6 and 2.0-litre engines from the Ford Escort, with a range-topping, fuel-guzzling 3.0-litre V6 taken from the Ford Granada. In the ’80s, the car was offered with a popular 2.8 litre, fuel-injected engine – these are the most sought-after nowadays, as they offer a mixture of performance and reasonable fuel economy.

In typical Ford fashion, the Capri is a practical, relatively tough car. While not particularly complex, the mechanics are reliable enough and, although rust is a problem, a regularly maintained and well-cleaned Capri will have aged considerably better than most contemporaries.

Although the Capri spawned no derivatives (except perhaps the derivative Opel Manta), there were a few interesting special editions. The first was the extremely rare 1973 RS3100, a 148, 3.1 litre model with a large spoiler. Only 200 were made, and it is unlikely you will see many for sale. Even rarer was the mid-80s Tickford Capri, the result of a collaboration between Ford and Aston Martin, several years before the former bought the latter. Painted bright white, with a turbocharged, 205bhp engine and an extreme, Vantage-inspired body-kit the Tickford had a top speed of 140mph.

Slightly more common are the final 1,038 cars, all of which were 2.8 litre, fuel-injected models painted 'Brooklands Green'.

If you're curious, Bodie and Doyle of 'The Professionals' drove various Mark II, 3.0-litre 'Ghia' and 'S' models, painted bronze, silver and gold.

Contrary to the overused and inappropriate description "boy racer", the Capri was an extremely popular and an extremely versatile car, setting the standard for European "super coupes" for decades. The Capri was one of the first production cars to utilize McPherson strut suspension and was one of the first autos whose suspension was designed to maximize the advantage of radial tires.

The Capri was indeed designed to be the European Mustang, and the codename for the Capri while under design was "Colt", the intended name for the car until Chrysler branded their import by the same name prior to the Capri's introduction.

The Capri was available with very small, economical 1600cc four cylinder engines for economy, up to 3000cc "Kent" English V6 engines and 2600 & 2800cc "Cologne" V6 engines for the rest of the world. The car remained very popular well into the 1980's, remaining in production (and demand) until 1987. The Capri, in America, also could be equipped with the "Pinto" 2000cc four cylinder, and the 2300cc four cylinder engines. So, very much in the same vein as the Mustang, the Capri could be purchased in every performance variation you could desire from a basic 1600 cc economy car, to a ground pounding RS2600/3100 or even a v8 powered monster. But no matter what performance level was selected, the same good looking, great handling and comfortable platform remained.

The Capri Mk1 was introduced in 1969 as a 2+2 Coupe, and in 1973 (in Europe, 1975 in the US) the car was transformed into a hatchback (MkII). The hatchback version remained in production in Europe until 1987, with minor cosmetic and equipment changes resulting in a later MkIII version. The car was also a true world car, manufactured in England, Europe and even South Africa. The South African variant, the "Piranha" came equipped with a 302ci (5 liter) Ford V8, and is still the scourge of rally competitions across the world.

In fact the car had a terrific racing history as well, regularly winning the European GT Championship year after year, regularly trouncing the more powerful and expensive BMW's, again well into the 1980's. The Capri also had overall wins or class wins or in every major European competition, including a class win at LeMans.

In the US, the Capri was the only import to outsell the VW at the height of the VW era.

The Capri ceased to be imported to the US in 1977, after Ford decided that its continued sales were detracting from its domestic counterparts, the Pinto and the Mustang II. This was not a surprise, as the Pinto and Mustang II used drive components (the 2.8 engine and transmissions) from the Capri, but were between 600-1000(+) pounds heavier than the Capri, resulting in much poorer performance when compared to the Capri.

The Capri V6 was manufactured in Cologne Germany, and started as a 2000cc power plant, which later became 2300cc, 2600cc, then 2800cc, and continued as a 2900cc used in the Ford Ranger and even into the 21st century as a 4.0 version in Ford trucks and SUV's.


The Capri is, as is its American "cousin" the Mustang, extremely collectible in the US and throughout the world.

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