It is always a worry when you go round a motor museum and see cars you drove on the press launch. Ford did some spectacular presentations in the 1960s, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and from 12-15 January 1969 Cyprus for The Car You Always Promised Yourself, the Capri. It had been a busy week. Monday a press conference with Colin Chapman of Lotus, Tuesday the London Racing Car Show, Thursday a meeting with Harry Ballantine of Ecurie Ecosse to learn about the apparent collapse of the team, Friday by BEA Trident to Milan in connection (I guess) with my reporting for Gazetta Della Sport, then back on Saturday by Alitalia Caravelle. I used to note in my diary what I flew in. On Sunday off again by Trident2 to Nicosia. This was a return trip to Cyprus, where ten years before, I had spent a year of my National Service with the Royal Artillery in Famagusta. On Monday we drove round the snowy Troodos mountains, Tuesday to Famagusta and beautiful Kyrenia lunching at Bellapais Abbey, returning Nicosia-Athens-London on Wednesday. I will drive a Capri on the Guild of Motoring Writers' Classic, not a mark 1 like the above but a later 1977 Mark II.
Ford had done Capris before. The first 109E in 1961 and 116E the GT with 5-bearing engine the following year based on the curious reverse-rake rear window Classic.
From The Ford in Britain File; Dove Publishing Ltd
1961 Capri 109E
The voluptuous lines of the Capri were a surprise to a British market that regarded 2+2s as sports cars, and was unfamiliar even uncomfortable with the concept of a car in which appearance took precedence over passenger space. It was legitimate if space was sacrificed to speed, but a rear window raked at 40 degrees, and an enormously long rear deck just for appearances’ sake was somehow too contrived. The name outlasted the model. It had been used on a Lincoln, and Ford now applied it to a version of the Classic intended for export, but to which the home market unexpectedly warmed. Two inches (5cm) lower than the saloon, its small frontal area gave it an advantage in top speed, but it had no sporting pretensions. Rather thin cushions could be specified for the rear shelf, normally carpeted as an addition to the enormous boot, enabling it to serve as a back seat when absolutely necessary. Luggage room was even bigger than the Classic and the boot floor, which was of pick-up truck proportions, was rubber-covered. The front seats were better shaped than the saloon’s and finished in two colours of pvc. Like the Classic however the Capri driver was still required to do a certain amount of home maintenance to ensure satisfactory running. Ten points required attention with a grease-gun every 1000 miles. Looks like Dagenham-on-Thames with 1960s river traffic
INTRODUCTION July 1961-August 1962 BODY Coupe; 2-doors, 2+2-seats; weight 2055lb (932.15kg) ENGINE 4-cylinders, in-line; front; 80.96mm x 65.07mm, 1340cc; compr 8.5:1; 54bhp (40.3kW) @ 4900rpm; 74 lbft (100Nm) @ 2500rpm; 40.3bhp/l (30.1kW/l) ENGINE STRUCTURE pushrod overhead valve, chain-driven camshaft; cast iron cylinder head and block; Zenith 32VN downdraught carburettor, centrifugal and vacuum ignition; AC mechanical fuel pump; 3-bearing hollow-cast crankshaft. TRANSMISSION rear wheel drive; 7.25in (18.4cm) hydraulic sdp clutch; 4-speed manual gearbox, synchromesh on 3; hypoid bevel final drive 4.13:1. CHASSIS steel monocoque structure; ifs by MacPherson struts and anti-roll bar; live rear axle with half-elliptic springs and lever arm dampers; Girling hydraulic non-servo 9.5in (24.13cm) disc front, 9in (22.86cm) drum rear brakes; recirculating ball steering; 9gal (41l)(10.8US gal) fuel tank; 5.60-13 tubeless tyres. DIMENSIONS wheelbase 99in (252cm) track 49.5in (126cm) length 170.77in (434cm) width 62.2in (166cm) height 54in (137.16cm) ground clearance 5.86in (15cm) turning circle 34ft (10.36m) EQUIPMENT fresh-air heater, leather upholstery, push-button or manual control radio optional extras; screenwasher standard, pvc upholstery, carpet, 12 body colours, 7 two-colour choices PERFORMANCE maximum speed 81.2mph (130.35kph) The Autocar 16.45mph (26.4kph) @ 1000rpm 0-60mph (96kph) 21.3sec fuel consumption 27.9mpg (10.12l/100km) PRICE £627, purchase tax £288 12s, total £915 12s (£915.60) PRODUCTION 11.143 including 1291 kits
The later better known Capri was destined to be a cult car yet nowadays curiously unloved, except by real zealots. You can dial the web for a hundred owners’ clubs for Capri events, spare parts and enthusiasm. There are branches everywhere yet maybe the car’s slightly louche image when it was new has not worn well. Maybe people remember the short engines that left a lot of space under the long bonnets, or the slightly tacky add-on cosmetics .
From The Ford in Britain File; Dove Publishing Ltd
1969 Capri 1300, 1300GT, 1600, 1600GT
The Car You Always Promised Yourself had a profound effect. In a sense it was like the original Capri of 1961, neither a sports car in the accepted sense, nor an everyday saloon. It created its own niche as a sort of European Mustang and enjoyed astonishing success. The long bonnet, 2+2 seating and style gave it a cachet hardly any car enjoyed before, and not many would again. The basis was typically Cortina, only the top half was really new, the first engines were wide-ranging, and an important innovation was an array of X, L, XL and R custom pack options, giving customers a wide choice of upholstery and equipment so that they could, in theory at any rate tailor their Capri to suit themselves. There were dummy air scoops, chrome wheel trims, reclining seats, map-reading light, extra lights and special paint schemes with anti-glare matt black on the bonnet just like real rally cars. Launch prototypes were shown with BDA 16-valve twin cam engines (the Escort was first to get it) but never went into production. The Capri was destined to be a huge success; it built on Ford’s mastery of production engineering through relying on components already in production. it would be made in Britain and Germany, and getting on for 2million would be sold during the next 17 years.
This looks as though it could have been photographed on the launch
INTRODUCTION November 1968 production to December 1973 BODY coupe; 2-doors, 2+2-seats; weight 1300 880kg (1940.05lb) 1300GT 900kg (1984.14lb); 1600 GT 920kg (2028.23lb) ENGINE 1300 4-cylinders, in-line; front; 80.98mm x 62.99mm, 1298cc; compr 9.0:1; 42.51kW (57bhp) @ 5500rpm; 9.2mkg Nm (lbft) @ 2500rpm; 32.8kW/l (43.9bhp/l). 1300GT 53.69kW (72bhp) @5500rpm. 1600 87.65x66mm; 1593cc; 53.69kW (72bhp). GT 65.62kW (88bhp) @ 5700rpm ENGINE STRUCTURE pushrod ohv, chain-driven camshaft; cast iron cylinder head and block; Ford GPD carburettor; centrifugal and vacuum ignition; mechanical fuel pump; 5-bearing crankshaft. 1300GT and 1600 Weber 320 carburettor; 1600GT Weber compound. TRANSMISSION rear wheel drive; 19cm (7.5in) diaphragm spring cable-operated clutch; 4-speed manual all-synchromesh gearbox; hypoid bevel final drive 4.125:1 (1300) 3.89:1 (1600). Borg Warner 35 automatic available 1300 GT, 1600, final drive 1600GT 3.777:1 CHASSIS steel monocoque structure; ifs by MacPherson struts and anti roll bar; live rear axle with half-elliptic springs and radius rods, telescopic dampers; Girling hydraulic 24.1cm (9.49in) disc brakes at front (optional 1300s), 24.4cm (9.61in) GT and 1600; 20.32cm (8in) rear drums; dual circuit; vacuum servo; rack and pinion steering; 48l (10.56gal)(12.68USgal) fuel tank; 6.00-13 cross-ply 1300, 165-13 GT and 1600 radial-ply, 4.5rims DIMENSIONS wheelbase 256cm (100.79in) track front 134.5cm (52.95in) rear 132cm (51.97in) length 426cm (167.72in) width 164.5cm (64.76in) height 129cm (50.79in) GT and 1600 128cm (50.39in) ground clearance11.5cm (4.53in) turning circle 9.75metres (32ft) EQUIPMENT SLR pack £79 12s 10d (£79.64p); fixed seat belts £8.49p, inertia reel belts £14.01p PERFORMANCE maximum speed 1300 138kph (85.96mph), 1300GT and 1600 150kph (93.44mph), 1600GT 160kph (99.66mph) 1300 26.2kph (16.32mph) @ 1000rpm; 1600GT 28.8kph (17.94mph) 0-100kph (62mph) 19sec; 13sec 1600GT
fuel consumption 9.1l/100km (31.04mpg); 9.8l/100km (28.83mpg) 1600GT PRICE 1300, £682, £890 7s 10d (£890.39p) including PT; 1300GT £985 70p; 1600 £936.9p; 1600GT £1041.83p PRODUCTION 374,700 UK Capris
1969 Capri 2000 GT, 3000 GT
The one-shape-fits-all recipe of the Capri was well judged. Buyers rang the changes with engines and accessory packs to their hearts’ content. Rear axle radius arms had been deleted from Cortina GTs on the grounds of road noise; they were reinstated on the Capri to provide GT handling and developed with care so that there was negligible sacrifice in noise vibration and harshness, the celebrated NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness) that Ford took seriously to compete with classic makes in the sporting or semi-sporting or even quasi-sporting field. By the dawn of the 1970s it did not much matter if a car was sporting or not, but it had to be refined, smooth-running, and if not completely quiet it had to make the right noises. The 2000GT V4 was not quite ready at launch, it went into production in March, the V6 3.0litre followed in September. The first addition to the range was the 3000E, technically the same as the 3000GT, but cosmetically upmarket and better equipped. In 1971 the 3.0 litre Essex V6 was revised with better breathing to provide more torque and 138bhp (102.91kW) instead of 128bhp (95.45kW), a change that was never applied to the same engine fitted to soon-to-be-replaced Zodiacs. The German Capri RS2600 was not sold in Britain and only 248 of the dramatic RS3100 with big-bore V6 of 1973 were ever made. INTRODUCTION November 1968 production to December 1973 BODY coupe; 2-doors, 2+2-seats; weight 2000GT 960kg (2116.42lb), V6 1056.89kg (2330lb) ENGINE 2000 4-cylinders, 60deg V; front; 93.66mm x 72.44mm, 1996cc; compr 8.9:1; 68.61kW (92bhp) @ 5250rpm; 141Nm (104lbft) @ 3600rpm; 34.4kW/l (46.1bhp/l). V6 93.66 x 72.4mm; 2994cc, 8.9:1; 95.45 kW (128bhp) @ 4750rpm; 235Nm (173lbft @ 3000rpm ENGINE STRUCTURE pushrod ohv, gear-driven camshaft; cast iron cylinder head and block; Weber 40 compound carburettor; centrifugal and vacuum ignition; mechanical fuel pump; 3-bearing crankshaft. V6, Weber 40DFA carburettor, 4-bearing crankshaft TRANSMISSION rear wheel drive; 22.86cm (9.0in) diaphragm spring cable-operated clutch; 4-speed manual all-synchromesh gearbox; hypoid bevel final drive 3.545:1; Borg Warner 35 automatic available. V6 3.22:1 final drive CHASSIS steel monocoque structure; ifs by MacPherson struts and anti roll bar; live rear axle with half-elliptic springs and radius rods, telescopic dampers; Girling hydraulic disc brakes at front, 24.4cm (9.61in); 20.32cm (8in) rear drums; dual circuit; vacuum servo; rack and pinion steering; 48l (10.56gal)(12.68USgal) fuel tank; 165-13 radial-ply tyres, 4.5rims DIMENSIONS wheelbase 256cm (100.79in) track front 134.5cm (52.95in) rear 132cm (51.97in) length 426cm (167.72in) width 164.5cm (64.76in) height 128cm (50.39in) ground clearance11.5cm (4.53in) turning circle 9.75metres (32ft) EQUIPMENT SLR pack £79 12s 10d (£79.64p); fixed seat belts £8.49p, inertia reel belts £14.01p PERFORMANCE maximum speed 171kph (106.52mph), V6 183kph (113.99mph) 30.6kph (19.06mph) @ 1000rpm, V6 33.4kph (20.8mph) 0-100kph (62mph) 11.3sec, V6 9.2sec fuel consumption 12.3l/100km (22.97mpg), V6 12l/100km (23.54mpg) PRICE £833, £1087 10s 7d (£1087.53p) including PT PRODUCTION 374,700 UK Capris
The Ford in Britain File; Dove Publishing Ltd http://www.dovepublishing.co.uk/