Enter the Capri

Cars

A homage to the Ford that changed everything...

The first Ford Capri wasn’t a Capri. Not as you know it.

The first Ford Capri was actually a a sleek, two door streamliner version of the odd looking Consul. it was, as Billy Bragg suggested to us a couple of years, ago – like a spaceship.

Shot through with all the Jetson-like chrome and wings of a mid century shot of Americana, the Consul Capri was instantly desirable, instantly recognisable – and instantly dragged Ford – at least in Britain – into a new era of aspiration.

Few people these days, aside from the aficionados and wool-died rockabilly rebels, think of the Consul speedster as the first Capri – favouring the sleek two door, long-bonneted MK 1 coupé as the birth of the mark.

And in a sense, the Mark 1 was indeed the first real pony car. It was launched right from the start in 1969 as a European version of the Mustang – which had taken the US market by storm a few years earlier, setting hearts aflutter with its uniquely compact, resolute sporty profile.

The first Mustang was no genuine muscle car – and neither was the Mk 1 European Capri. Look at them now and they instantly strike you as dinky, super compact, more like a contemporary sportster like Toyota’s GT86 than a muscular straight-liner.

Built in Dagenham and Halewood UK after its launch at the Brussels car show in the spring of 1969, there were many mechanical elements shared with the Cortina – and right from the start there was a full range of Capris that would reach out to the everyman hero as well as the boy racer – but it was the latter who would take these cars to their hearts.

The acreage of the front end allowed, of course, for a lot of engine. The lowlier models came with the the 1.3 and 1.4 litre v4 engines – and through each iteration, all the way to 1986 – the upper echelons were loaded with 3.0L V6 that enabled the car to walk as well as talk.

The cars were instant successes both on the A-roads of England and the endurance tracks of Europe – and they were known of course for their pulchritude and reliability as much as their handling and accessibility.

This month we pay homage to our favourite Ford.



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