Saab 92 aerodynamics

Talking, as I have been, about manufacturers’ publicity pictures, I always liked cutaways. It’s the engineer in me. Nothing ever conveyed a car’s structure like a good graphic. The Motor road tests used to do it well, showing how the mechanical bits of a car fitted in with rather stiff-looking occupants. The Saab 92 (left), produced from 1950-1955, makes the point. You can see where the tiny engine leans forward ahead of the front wheels, which it drives, and where the radiator is mounted to catch the air-flow. The upholstery looks a bit thin and rear people have to tuck their feet below the front seat.

In 1950 they made 1246 Saab 92s, every one the same shade of green. It was more important to get production started, and eliminate bottlenecks in the paintshop, than offer buyers a range of colours. It’s said the aircraft factory had over-stocked on green paint for its aeroplanes. Modest power propelled the little car at barely 100kph (60mph). There were only three gears and reaching 50mph occupied the best part of half-a-minute. It scarcely mattered; there was no shortage of customers in 1950.

Although slow, the Saab had clear-cut qualities. Encouraged by the success 2-stroke DKWs had in Sweden before the war it went for an engine cheap to make and simple. A parallel twin-cylinder 3-port 2-stroke of 764cc (80 x 76mm) with Schnürle scavenging, producing 24bhp at 3,800rpm, it was narrow enough to be set across the front with an aluminium head and flat-topped pistons. It had three main roller bearings, a built-up crankshaft with a pair of 180-degree-spaced crankpins, and three main bearing journals pressed into disc crankwebs. Only the small-end bearings were plain, not ball or roller. An extension from the crankshaft carried the cam for the dual-coil ignition, and lubrication was by 4 per cent oil added to the petrol.
A single-plate clutch and 3-speed gearbox, with synchromesh on third and top and a steering column gearshift, formed a unit with the engine. Engine mountings were unusual, a single transverse leaf spring supporting the forward part on rubber torque-resisting buffers, and a rubber cushion at the rear. The result was virtually vibrationless, especially at low revs.

Laurence Pomeroy, who had conducted experiments on aerodynamic cars at Brooklands in 1939, tested a 92 in 1950: “… a most interesting example of the type of car which emanates from an aircraft factory, and shows the benefits of clean lines by giving nearly 65mph (105kph) on less than 25bhp. Excellent roadholding and direct steering were also characteristic of this model, but, as is often the case with 2-strokes, the fuel consumption was not the best feature, failing to reach 40mpg (7.06l/100kms).”

Pomeroy’s advocacy of the slippery shape was only partly justified, for far from being worthy of an aircraft manufacturer, the Saab fell short of ideals laid down by German aerodynamics pioneer, Paul Jaray. Despite the classic teardrop shape, it had a thoroughly average air drag coefficient of 0.35. The bulbous front wings gave an unnecessarily large frontal area so the puny power had a lot of air to displace at 60mph (97kph). Had it been slimmer below the waistline, fuel consumption might have been better.

On the steering, however, Pomeroy was characteristically correct. The Saab’s rack and pinion took only 1.75 turns from lock to lock so it was high-geared, light, accurate and by comparison with nearly all its contemporaries (with worm and nut, cam and roller, recirculating balls, and other nightmares) sheer delight. Tactile, direct, strongly self-centring, drivers could feel road shocks but they could also feel what the wheels were doing, adding amply to the control that compensated for the car’s relative sloth.
In 1950 The Motor commented: “The Saab's layout is ingenious both in conception and in detail. Its unorthodoxy sets a reviewer a task which is difficult yet exceptionally interesting: difficult because of lack of standards for comparison, and interesting for revealing the gains and losses resulting from new layouts and construction methods.” The Motor wanted to be convinced. Its authors liked the principles Saab employed, but they were not finding the results entirely bore out their expectations.

It says something for the speed expected of a 1940s small car that they observed: “The surprise comes in experiencing the power. The car is fast, but what distinguishes it is acceleration in top gear in the vital 15-45mph speed range, which would not disgrace a car of twice the engine size.” There were doubts about refinement: “The Saab lacks the smoothness and silence which the average baby car has acquired between 1940 and 1950.”

The problem of stiffness around a boot lid aperture was solved by not having one on the 92. Access to luggage was through the rear seat. The smooth underside had stiffening ribs and box-section sills, its flat profile a great boon on loose, gritty Swedish roads while the designers concentrated the strength of the body in the middle. The burden of suspension loads were fed into the strong central structure by mounting the front torsion bars in the forward scuttle with tubular bolsters. Torsion bars for the trailing arm independent rear suspension were well forward of the rear hubs, so that the length of the frame subject to suspension-induced loads was less than 85 per cent of the wheelbase.

It was a strategy adopted more than a decade later by cars as diverse as the D-Type Jaguar and the Rover 2000, both of which had stiff centre sections carrying the strain of the suspension, so that the outermost extremities of the car could be thin-skinned and light weight. Above: prototype Saab 92s. Below, later Saab 96 with in-line engine.

Coalition car

Dual Controls on a Ford Prefect. Just the car for coalition partners. All they would need to agree on is what gear to be in. The Prefect only had three, with synchromesh on second and third. Steering left or right would depend on who was stronger. Easier if you wanted to keep to the middle ground. Designed for driving tuition, this car pre-dated David William Donald Cameron and Nicholas Peter William Clegg by some 18 years.

1945 Prefect E93A (from: The Ford in Britain Centenary File, £27.50 Dove Publishing, 2011)

Dagenham’s millionth car was an E93A Prefect. The rounded grille and so-called “alligator” front-opening bonnet lent it a vaguely exotic air when it was relaunched only as a 4-door. Tourers were unwanted interruptions to the serious business of resuming car production. With rationing still in force economy was important, even though low-quality Pool petrol was only 2 shillings (10p) a gallon, but Purchase Tax at 33.3 per cent raised car prices against those of 1939. An annual road tax based on cubic capacity had been proposed but it was not invoked until 1946. The distorted market reversed the pre-war position in which Anglia outsold Prefect. Now the 10HP car outsold the 8 by almost two to one, although both were virtually unchanged from 1939. The Prefect had a bigger dynamo, and the seats tubular frames, which were not only cheaper to make but also more comfortable. There were minor differences in trim and colour but by 1948 The Autocar was finding the Prefect noisy and the handling indifferent. There was body roll on corners and a lot of pitching. “The system of suspension,” it observed icily, “gives comfortable riding in the sense that it takes the shock out of poor surfaces, and allows the car to be driven over really bad surfaces, without causing one to feel it is being done any harm.” Post-war designs were appearing with unitary construction and independent front suspension. Even in a buyer’s market customers were becoming choosy.

Outpost of Empire. E93A Prefect overseas.

INTRODUCTION October 1938, production to January 1949.
BODY saloon; 4-doors, 4-seats; weight 15.7cwt (797.6kg) (1758lb).
ENGINE 4-cylinders, in-line; front; 63.5mm x 92.5mm, 1172cc; compr 6.6 x:1; 30bhp (22.4kW) @ 4000 rpm; 25.6bhp (19.1kW)/l; 97.8lbft (132.6Nm) @ 2400rpm.
ENGINE STRUCTURE side valve; gear-driven camshaft; cast iron detachable cylinder head and block; aluminium pistons; Zenith downdraught carburettor; coil ignition, and mechanical fuel pump; 3-bearing counterbalanced crankshaft;
thermo-syphon cooling; splash and pressure lubrication.
TRANSMISSION rear wheel drive; 7.375in (18.73cm) sdp clutch; 3-speed manual gearbox, synchromesh on 2; torque tube; spiral bevel final drive 5.5:1.
CHASSIS pressed steel channel-section frame with three crossmembers
and lowered central box-section; suspension, transverse leaf springs
front and rear with triangulated radius arms; pear-shaped Luvax dampers;
rod actuated 10in (25.4cm) drum brakes; Burman worm and nut steering; 7 gal (31.8l) fuel tank; 5.00-16 tyres; steel spoke welded wheels.
DIMENSIONS wheelbase 94in (238.8cm); track 45in (114.3cm); length 155.5in (395cm); width 57in (144.8cm); height 63in (160cm); ground clearance 8.75in (22.2cm); turning circle 36ft (10.97m).
EQUIPMENT 6 volt electrical system; fixed-rate charging; 10amps at 30mph; rear window blind; cloth upholstery, leather trim £7 13s 4d (£7.67p).
PERFORMANCE maximum speed 59.7mph (95.8kph) The Motor; 0-50mph (80.3kph) 26.9sec; 26.6kg/bhp (35.6kg/kW); fuel consumption 33.8mpg (8.35l/100km).
PRICE 4-door £275 plus PT £77 2s 9d, £352 2s 9d (£352.77p).
PRODUCTION 1938-1949 120,505 including 1028 tourers, 667 coupes. 10,163 Tudors, 37,502CKD.

1949 Prefect E493A

Porsche - Peter Schutz

My BMW Z3 and road test Porsche
I once stood with Peter W Schutz, the American chief executive of Porsche AG, as he waxed eloquent over the quality and longevity of his cars. “You know what,” he said to me. “Every time I see a Porsche leave the factory I know not only have we sold a car, but also we will go on selling it spares for years.” True. The factory had a bodyshell in primer parked outside in all weathers and it never decayed. Maybe it’s still there. They had to sell bits for crashed Porsches, worn-out Porsches and in due course restored classic Porsches as the cherished things lasted for decades.

Porsche sold spares at premium prices. It sold everything at premium prices. Schutz, who replaced Dr Ernst Fuhrmann as CEO in the 1980s, knew that replacement components’ business was a bankable asset. Why, a Porsche headlamp glass could cost £100 when everybody else’s were a couple of quid. Now high-power flush-fitting Halogen units are £400 and upgrades to Xenon or Litronic levelling ones are £800.

Ford Focus headlight features on new Dove book, out March
Now everybody has caught on. Headlights are much superior to those of only a few years ago. I notice it going from a newer test car to my BMW or Nissan. Those that swivel with the steering are especially clever. How like cranky American politicians to ban them on Citroëns.

The cost of headlights has gone up and up on ordinary cars well below Porsche in the price pecking order. Audis run from £270 for an A3 to £390 on an A6. But are the distinctive LED running lights strictly necessary? They seem to me more like advertising gimmicks to identify drivers of upper-class cars.

Nothing’s new. Our family Wolseleys had a little light-up badge in the middle of the radiator proclaiming our social status after dark. You didn’t want to be confused with Austins, Morrises or Vauxhalls. As a small boy I was proud of that little light and cross with father when he refused to replace its single festoon bulb. Like festoon bulbs in Trafficators it failed. Father didn’t understand status.

Montagu Award

Rob Halloway of Mercedes-Benz, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, Eric Dymock

I could not have put it better myself. Clive Jacobs’s introduction to the award at the Guild of Motoring Writers’ dinner in the Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall, was gracious.

“There was a very large entry for this year’s Mercedes-Benz Award for the Montagu of Beaulieu Trophy. A tough task for the judges then in deciding who in 2009 made the greatest contribution to recording, in the English language, the history of motoring.

But in the end they reached an accord and the trophy will be jointly presented by Lord Montagu and Rob Halloway, Public Relations Manager of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

The winning citation says – "this book is beautifully written, well laid-out and provides a very thorough history of an important British marque that is equally attractive to both enthusiasts and passing browsers. With its company chronology and history of production models and prototypes it is also a comprehensive reference work."

That book is…”The Complete Bentley”… and the author and publisher is Eric Dymock.”

There were lots of people to thank. Clive’s reference to the book’s layout was a tribute to Andrew Barron’s design. It was good that Martin Broomer of Bentley Motors was on hand; he was encouraging throughout the book’s production. The reviewers have been generous, particularly Stuart Bladon in the Jewish Chronicle: “A brilliant production, The Complete Bentley deserves to be recognised as one of the great works of motoring history and merits a place on any keen motorist’s bookshelf, eminently worth its price of £55.”

Malcolm Tucker wrote kindly, in the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Bulletin: “Buying a book by Eric Dymock is a bit like eating a meal prepared by Gordon Ramsay, watching a film starring John Travolta or visiting The Dorchester Hotel in London; you expect something special. This does give us the whole panoply of Bentley lore.”

There were more to thank, including Richard Charlesworth, Julia Marozzi, Denis Miller-Williams and other members of the communications staff at Rolls-Royce and Bentley, Crewe. Thanks were also due to Philip Hall of the Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation, who was especially helpful in providing access to the photographic archives of the Foundation and the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club. Alan Bodfish administrator of the WO Bentley Memorial Foundation and the Bentley Drivers’ Club provided many photographs. Motoring art collector Tony Clark of Burrington, Cherry Garden Lane, Wye, Ashford, Kent gave permission to use artwork items loaned from his extensive collection. More photographs came from Frank Dale and Stepsons and LAT. Michael Turner allowed us to reproduce his 1984 painting of a Bentley at Mulsanne. It was thanks to Warren Allport, formerly of Autocar and editor of Queste, who read the manuscript and made valuable amendments and corrections that The Complete Bentley is notably accurate in the detail of the specifications and descriptions. Notable Bentley book writers whose work we consulted include Malcolm Bobbitt, Jonathan Wood, Graham Robson and Richard Feast.

As with all Dove Publishing books, my thanks also went to print consultant David Bann, publishing director Mike Roberts and most of all Dove Publishing’s finance director Ruth Dymock.

At 83 His Lordship is taking time to get over an injury to his head, suffered when he fell out of a bunk on a rolling ship, sustaining an injury requiring 13 stitches. He couldn’t quite make the podium for the presentation. We are fortunate that Mercedes-Benz is so mindful of its heritage role that it can sponsor an award like this, which inevitably can feature rival makes of car.

This was our second Montagu Award. In 1997 the Guild presented it for Saab, Half a Century of Achievement.

Guild Award winners including, from sixth left Ray Hutton (Bentley International Award), Tony Dron (Rootes Gold Cup), Rhian Angharad Jones (Sir William Lyons and Phil Llewellin Awards), Ray Massey, Daily Mail (Journalist of the Year) and Eric Dymock.

Buxton and Crich Tramway Museum

Enjoyed a 1977 Ford Capri 1600L on the Guild of Motoring Writers Classic to Buxton and the splendid Tram Museum at Crich. A 1.6 is no flyer, see entry from The Ford In Britain File below, but it drives nicely. I collected it from Ford’s historic collection, housed in a modest little building in the middle of the Dagenham complex. What a treasure-trove. A hundred cars from Ford’s past, from GT40 to Model Y. The Capri is typically well-maintained. A lady, who didn’t want it to fall into some boy racer’s hands, donated it to the collection when it had only 25,000miles on the clock.

Crews confer, Crich Tramway Museum

Curious to drive with such a narrow-rimmed steering wheel. Was it somehow fashionable then? I remember Rolls-Royces had them. Steering wheels are now fat and chunky following the style set by racing cars of the 1960s. Drum brakes didn’t feel bad although I didn’t work them hard. Fade resistance was one of the advances discs made, but they weren’t spongy or slow to react and stopping distances seemed about right. We weren’t going very fast. Four speed gearbox. You stop looking for a fifth after a time. No rev counter and a plain facia of plastic-looking wood. Two speed wipers – the intermittent control was very intermittent indeed, sometimes stopped the wipers in the line of sight and they weren’t self-parking. The windows have a novel system for disappearing into the doors – a handle that you wind round and round. Amazingly simple and effective. No electric motors to go wrong. Comfortable seats but no head restraints. I was glad nobody ran into us from behind. Good boot. Good quality materials for carpets and facia although a lot of black made it look a bit gloomy. Low road noise, narrow tyres, didn’t drive much in the wet but it seemed stable enough. Heavy steering at parking speeds was hard work. Engine tolerably quiet and visibility good with narrow screen pillars. The ride was even and showed no sign of aging with effective dampers. What a commendably good-value classic; the Capri looks the part and people certainly look at it and smile. The L was fairly basic with cloth and leathery-looking upholstery. It’s odd not having central locking. Ruth remembered to hold the handle up when you shut the door – just the way you used to lock yourself out of a car with the key inside. Wheels typically Ford painted to look like alloy or Rostyle. The bodywork has lasted amazingly well.

The Capri was well proportioned – not quite like Lyons’ old SS with long bonnet, low roofline and not much accommodation. It’s quite roomy and although there is some wasted space in the engine compartment, there is not as much sacrifice for style as one remembers. Splendid radio with buttons that went straight to Radio 4 on long wave and never varied wherever you were. Absence of airbags makes an airy interior. Gearshift crisp. Vinyl roof is a big fashion statement – hangover from Riley RM and others that looked like faux convertibles but only had them to conceal bad presswork and ugly joints. They had a lot to learn about shut-lines in 1977 – you could get your fingers down the sides of the bootlid, although the water channelling was good and nothing leaked even on this 32 year old car.

From The Ford in Britain File: 1974 Capri II 1300 and 1600

With the world in the grip of the first oil crisis manufacturers seized the opportunity to put now model announcements on hold. Not Ford. It took the plunge with the already successful Capri to introduce styling changes, provide more room inside, and while remaining strictly 2+2, introduce the hatchback making the car far more practical. Folding down the rear seat gave huge luggage capacity. It was surprising really that it had not been done in the first place following the example of the MGB GT. The crease along the body side was discarded, and the dummy air intakes ahead of the rear wheel arch dispensed with, giving a smoother more sophisticated appearance. Slimmer windscreen pillars and bigger windows gave better visibility all round and although the innovations with their attendant reinforcement round the double-skinned gas-strutted tailgate increased the body weight by 27.22kg (60lb) they were well worthwhile. Using much the same Cortina underpinnings the 1300 had a pushrod crossflow Kent engine and the 1600 the latest Pinto overhead camshaft engine giving it a lively turn of speed. Capris continued to be made in Britain until 1976-1977 when production was concentrated in Germany. The array of trim packs available with the first Capri was reduced; buyers had been confused and in many cases dealers ordering cars for stock failed to identify the most popular options. 224

Autocar 30 March 1974 road test

INTRODUCTION Dec 1973 production to Oct 1976 in Britain and Jan 1978 in Germany

BODY coupe; 2-doors, 2+2-seats; weight 1010kg (2226.65lb), 1600 1040kg (2292.78lb)

ENGINE 4-cylinders, in-line; front; 80.98mm x 62.99mm, 1297cc; compr 9.2:1; 42.51kW (57bhp) @ 5500rpm; 91 Nm (67lbft) @ 3000rpm; 32.8kW/l (44bhp/l). 1600 87.7 x 66mm; 1593cc 53.69kW (72bhp) @5200rpm; 33.7kW (45.2bhp)/l; 118Nm (87lbft) @ 3000rpm. 1600GT 65.62kW (88bhp)

ENGINE STRUCTURE 3034E pushrod ohv; chain-driven camshaft; cast iron cylinder head, block; Ford GPD carburettor, centrifugal and vacuum ignition; mechanical fuel pump; 5-bearing crankshaft. 1600 ohc, 1600GT Weber carb

TRANSMISSION rear wheel drive; 19.05cm (7.5in) (1600 GT 21.59cm (8.5in)) diaphragm spring cable-operated clutch; 4-speed manual all-synchromesh gearbox; hypoid bevel final drive 4.125:1. 1600 3.77:1. 1600GT 3.75:1

CHASSIS steel monocoque structure; ifs by MacPherson struts and anti roll bar; live rear axle with half-elliptic springs and anti-roll bar, telescopic dampers; Girling hydraulic disc brakes at front, 24.4cm (9.61in); 20.32cm (8in) rear drums (1600 22.86cm (9in)); dual circuit; optional vacuum servo (1600 std); rack and pinion steering; 57.73l (12.7gal)(15.24US gal) fuel tank; 165-13; 185/70 – 13 optional radial-ply tyres, 5Jrims

DIMENSIONS wheelbase 256cm (100.8in); track front 135.38cm (53.3in) rear 138.43cm (54.5in); length 434.09cm (170.9in); width 169.93cm (66.9in); height 129.79cm (51.1in); ground clearance 10.41cm (4.1in); turning circle 10.67m (35ft)

EQUIPMENT toughened glass windscreen, laminated extra, brushed nylon seats extra

Maximum speed 167kph (104mph) 1600, Autocar
1300 26.17kph (16.3mph), 1600 28.57kph (17.8mph), 1600GT 28.73kph (17.9mph) @ 1000rpm; 0-100kph (62mph) 11.4sec; fuel consumption 10.2l/100km (27.7mpg)

PRICE 1300L £1336.25, 1600L £1415.83, 1600GT £1632.92
PRODUCTION 84,400 all Capri II in Britain

Ford Capri

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