The Full Story
Right from the start, Ford's Capri was a star, and in the showrooms it could do no wrong for several years. Like the Mustang that inspired it, the Capri appealed to a class of driver who had been ignored for far too long.The Capri was just right for drivers who needed more than two seats but still hankered after a sports car, and one with family-
The opposition reeled, went green with envy, and looked around to see how they could fight back. It took years before they made it, and it was never easy. Every time a rival produced a car to fight the Capri, Ford moved on another step. The restyled MkII, a hatchback instead of a coupe, arrived in 1974. The smoother MkIII followed in 1978, while the best Capri of all the 2.8i did not appear until 1981.
This is a story that doesn't only bristle with mushy memories of style and performance, but with the sheer volume of sales. This is an 18-
One figure tells the story: between 1968 and 1986 no fewer than 1,886,647 Capri's were built. Perhaps the Mustang had sold faster in the USA in the 1960s, but in European terms these sales were unique. In the 1970s the sales figures proved that Ford had got its forecasting exactly right. In 1970, the first year in which all Capri types were on sale at the same time, no fewer than 238,914 were produced. Nearly a quarter of a million in a year! That's impressive enough but there's an even more impressive statistic that shows how well the Capri was received -
The MkI Capri, complete with cramped four-
Anyone who missed the launch was blind, out of the country, or asleep. This was the period in which 1.3, 1.6 and 2.0-
Incidentally, scat belts (fixed or inertia reel) cost extra. Prices? That was the most amazing thing. The base 1300 sold for £890, the 2000GT for only £1088. So many different types of Capri were available that no dealer could possibly stock them all. If the truth were told, there were too many derivatives at first. This catalogue traffic-
It was no wonder that the public flocked to Ford showrooms to buy the car 'they always promised themselves'. For the next two or three years the Capri always seemed to be in the news, for this was the period in which Ford aimed for market leadership.
Motorsport at Boreham built a handful of four-
The company organised one model celebrity races in which characters like Colin Chapman and Frank Williams behaved like bump-
Many more Capri's were built in Germany than at Halewood, because a large number of Capri's were exported to the USA, where they retailed through Ford's Lincoln Mercury Division. Here in Britain, the hairy-
The 1300s were puny, entry-
The millionth Capri was built (an RS2600, in Germany) in August 1973. By the end of that year, though, the MkI Capri's career was almost over. There was one final flourish: limited numbers of the RS3100 'homologation special' were built at Halewood. Then, at exactly the time when the prospects for fast motoring in Europe were at a low ebb due to the energy crisis, the original car gave way to its successor.
Perhaps this change came quicker than most enthusiasts had expected, but the second version was more versatile than the original. A total of 1,172,900 MkI Capri's were built. Officially the new MkII Capri was a re-
The truly important change was that the MkII was a hatchback, with a slightly bigger and more-
There were only six MKII Capri models, starting with the 1300L and topping out with the 3000GT. It wasn't long, though, before a new trim specification -
The fact was that in Europe, as in the USA, the public was now getting a wider choice in the Mustang/Capri market, and in any case the fizz had gone out of this sector. In Europe, the Capri had to sell against Opel's Manta, a good and pretty car, no matter how pro-
The first firmer-
The arrival of the MKIII did not make many headlines, for it was no more than a mild facelift. here is no doubt that this was an even-
It was so easy to convert a MkII into a MkIII that Ford Motorsport issued conversion kits -
The Capri was still a handsome car, but it was not moving with the times, and until 1981 there were no mechanical innovations. Limited-
At the 2.8i's peak, nearly 5000 were sold in a single year in the UK. But the public was clearly getting bored with what was obviously an old model, and the end of the car's career was within sight. Without buoyant sales of 1600s and 2000s in the UK the model would have disappeared long before it did. Ford Germany built a limited number of Capri Turbos (we never saw them over here), the 2.8i was given a five-
By this time, Tickford had put their heavily restyled Capri Turbo on sale, but in the end only 100 of those very-
The final fling came in 1986 when the last limited-
This web page is owned
and operated by Mark Swetnam
Last updated 12/1/20
©1995 to 2020
Keeping 'The Legend Alive' on the World Wide Web since 1995!