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The Ford Capri is a fastback coupe that was produced from 1969 to 1986. The auto was designed by Philip T. Clark, the person who designed the Ford Mustang. In fact, the Capri was a copy of the Mustang for the European markets. The model was rather successful (about 1.9 million units were sold). The Capri took over a lot of technical details from the Ford Cortina. Although there isn’t an official substitution for the Capri, they affirm the Probe played this role.
1969-1974: The Ford Capri Mk I
The Ford Capri was unveiled at the Brussels Motor Show in 1969. The automaker intended to build an analogue of its Mustang model so popular at home but for the European market. The new model was manufactured in the UK, Belgium, and Germany. Due to a rather vast model range, the Capri was affordable for people from different social classes – they could choose an engine type for their future car. Ford offered the 1.3 and 1.6-litre Ford Kent inline-four engines (they used to be built in the British autos); 1.3, 1.5, or 1.7-litre Ford Taurus V4 engines (for continental Europe); 1.7 and 2.0-litre Ford Essex V4 and 3.0 and 3.1-litre Essex V6 motors (built in Britain); 2.0, 2.3, and 2.6-litre Cologne V6 engines (built in Germany); as well as the 2.0-litre Pinto inline-four and 8.0-litre Windsor V8 motors.
In 1971, the Ford Capri Vista Orange Special was launched. In total, just 1,200 units were made. Based on the 1600 GT and 2000 GT models, it came with either 1.6 or 2.0-litre engines. The Special had inertia-reel seat belts, push-button radio, heated rear screen, black vinyl roof, hazard lights, opening rear windows, map reading light, etc. Rear window slats and a spoiler are main features that made the Special look like the Mustang.
In 1972, at the company they decided that the Capri should have been improved. Eventually, the auto acquired new suspension and seats, larger tail- and headlights and even quad headlights, and rubber-covered bumpers on some models. An engine was also changed: there was the Ford Pinto instead of the Kent.
1974-1978: the Ford Capri Mk II
Design of the Ford Capri Mk II (or just Capri II), which started to be delivered in 1974, was determined by two major occasions in the company and the world – more than a million of Capris have been sold at that moment and the world endured an oil crisis of 1973. It prompted designers and engineers at Ford to reduce the car’s bonnet although the cabin and boot remained pretty large. Besides, the hatchback rear door, alternator, larger front disc brakes were added. All these, along with other features, made the Capri II a very reliable and safe vehicle.
The Capri II was really similar to the Mark I from a technical point of view. With this in mind, Ford’s engineers did their best to make it truly unique externally. Hence, the new model got smaller steering wheel, larger body, up-to-date dashboard, large rectangular headlights, etc.
In Germany, people could purchase the Capris powered by 1.3 L, 1.6 L, 1.6 L GT, 2.0 L inline 4-cylinder, or 2.3 L V6 engines mated to either 4-speed Ford Type 5 manual or C3 3-speed automatic transmissions while in Great Britain, a 3.0 L V6 engine was available.
1978-1986: the Ford Capri Mk III
Although rather few things distinguished the Capri Mk III or ‘Project Carla’ from its predecessor, the Capri Mk II, it was referred to as a separate model. Actually, two years prior to its launch, in 1976, its main features were already introduced as a part of the Capri II facelift. They included ‘sawtooth’ rear lamp lenses and black ‘Aeroflow’ grille in particular. These elements were adopted by the Cortina 80 (1979), Escort Mk III (1980), and Granada Mk III (1981) later. Improved aerodynamics contributed to the Ford Capri Mk III’s better performance and fuel economy. It made the Capri Mk III the most popular sports car in Britain of the time. Interestingly, the model was also officially acknowledged as the most frequently stolen auto of the 80s and 90s.
The Ford Capri’s Resurrection
In 2003, Ford introduced the Ford Visos concept car at the International Motor Show (Germany) that could be a prototype of the Ford Capri, which ceased production in 1986.
The Visos got new, up-to-date design although it had some features characteristic of some Ford’s production models. What immediately drew attention were narrow headlights, massive air intake on the front bumper, and rear wing slats. A three-door Capri version of the next generation global Ford Focus also got large alloy wheels, LED taillights, roof spoiler, and short overhangs. These features contributed to the Visos’ sports appearance that must attract the youth, people who know a thing or two about style and appreciate stylish stuff. The centre console was based on the latest version of the Ford’s Human Machine Interface system.
The Visos promised to be powered by a variety of engines such as a 1.6 L 128 bhp TDCi diesel, 2.0 L 168 bhp or 197 bhp motors, or a 2.0 L EcoBoost one while a 1.6 L 148 bhp or 178 bhp petrol coming as standard. As for transmission, manual was standard with the Powershift twin-clutch being at option. They say that the auto can be estimated at €20,000. So what? The Ford Capri is ‘the car you always promised yourself’.
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