Thursday 21 January 2016
The Ford Capri is a fastback coupé that was built by Ford Motor Company from 1969 to 1986, It was designed by American Philip T. Clark, famous for being one of the main designers of the Ford Mustang, which until 2010 was an unknown fact. Using the mechanical components from the Ford Cortina and intended as the European equivalent of the Ford Mustang for the European markets, the Capri went on to be a highly successful car for Ford, and sold nearly 1.9 million units in its lifetime. A wide variety of engines were used in the Capri, throughout its production lifespan, which most notably included the Essex and Cologne V6 s at the top of the range, whilst the Kent straight-four and Taunus V4 engines were used in lower specification models. Although the Capri was not officially replaced by any Ford model, the second-generation Probe was effectively its replacement after the later car's introduction to the European market in 1992.
The Capri Mk III was referred to internally as "Project Carla", and although little more than a substantial update of the Capri II, it was often referred to as the Mk III. The first cars were available in March 1978, but failed to halt a terminal decline in sales. The concept of a heavily facelifted Capri II was shown at the 1976 Geneva show: a Capri II with a front very similar to the Escort RS2000 (with four headlamps and black slatted grille), and with a rear spoiler, essentially previewed the model some time before launch. The new styling cues, most notably the black "Aeroflow" grille (first used on the Mk I Fiesta) and the "sawtooth" rear lamp lenses echoed the new design language being introduced at that time by Ford of Europe's chief stylist Uwe Bahnsen across the entire range. Similar styling elements were subsequently introduced in the 1979 Cortina 80, 1980 Escort Mk III and the 1981 Granada Mk IIb. In addition, the Mk III featured improved aerodynamics, leading to improved performance and economy over the Mk II and the trademark quad headlamps were introduced.
At launch the existing engine and transmission combinations of the Capri II were carried over, with the 3.0 S model regarded as the most desirable model although the softer, more luxurious Ghia derivative with automatic, rather than manual transmission, was the bigger seller of the two V6-engined models.
Ford began to focus their attention on the UK Capri market as sales declined, realising the car had something of a cult following there. Unlike sales of the contemporary 4-door Cortina, Capri sales in Britain were to private buyers who would demand less discounts than fleet buyers allowing higher margins with the coupé. Ford tried to maintain interest in 1977 with Ford Rallye Sport, Series X, "X Pack" options from the performance oriented RS parts range. Although expensive and slow selling these proved that the press would enthusiastically cover more developed Capris with higher performance.
Despite being the most popular sporting model in Britain for most of its production life, the third generation Capri was also one of the most stolen cars in Britain during the 1980s and early 1990s, being classified as "high risk" of theft in a Home Office report.
The 3.0 S was used extensively in the TV series The Professionals, with characters Bodie driving a silver 3.0 S and Doyle a gold 3.0 S, which was credited with maintaining interest in the car in the UK.
The last Capri was produced at the factory in Cologne, West Germany, on 19 December 1986, ending an 18-year production run which had seen nearly 1.9 million units produced, and covered three generations of the basic design, with two major facelifts during the 1970s. For its final year production, it had only been produced in right-hand drive form for the British market. There was no direct replacement for the Capri, as demand for sporting coupes of this type had fallen in recent years and many competitors had already withdrawn from this sector of the market, including British Leyland, which had not replaced its MG or Triumph sports cars when they were discontinued at the beginning of the 1980s. Ford was, however, enjoying success with high performance versions of traditional family hatchbacks like the Escort XR3i and RS Turbo.
From July 1981 to September 1982, German RS dealers marketed a limited edition, Zakspeed inspired, left-hand drive only, 'Werksturbo' model with 190 PS (140 kW), which could propel the car to 220 km/h (137 mph). Based on the 3.0 S, this derivative featured widened series X bodywork, front and rear 'Ford Motorsport' badged spoilers, deep 7.5j four-spoked RS alloy wheels and an RS badged engine. The engine was based on a normally aspirated carburetor equipped 2.8-litre Cologne V6, Ford Granada (Europe) engine using electronic ignition and a single Garrett T4 turbocharger providing 5.4 psi of boost, a limited slip differential, Bilstein dampers all around, an anti dive kit, uprated RS anti roll bars and single rear leaf springs, the engine put out 188 Hp at 5500rpm. Figures of around 200 produced examples are common, but numbered transmission tunnels possibly indicate 155 conversions were made.
- engine: V6
- capacity: 2800 cc
- horsepower: 160 HP
- gearbox: 5+1
- top speed: 210 km/h