The following is taken from:
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 1970
s and 1980
s 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 Supra
s and Subaru Impreza
"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.