1969 - 1986 The Ford Capri - The European Pony Car That Came Before the Mustang
When you think Ford, you think the GT40 or the Mustang, both of which American models with great heritage. Before the Mustang became global, however, Europe had its own equivalent of the pony car. The Ford Capri was a rear-wheel-drive, 2+2 coupe that could be both a commuter and a weekend warrior. Although the Capri name, as we know it, has been retired, it has a long history and we are about to share with you everything we know about the car, sometimes referred to as “the European Mustang”.
Is the Ford Capri Coming Back as the Mini Ford GT We All Deserve?
Ford has brought back the Bronco and Puma name, and let’s not forget about the revival of the Ford GT, so what’s next on the Blue Oval’s plate? Well, word has it that there could be a revival of the Capri name, and we’re thinking it could be a smaller sports car that would fill the gap between the Mustang and the Ford GT – a BIG gap, I know – and it could even take on the likes of cars like the Jaguar F-Type, Porsche 718, or the Audi TT.
Car for Sale: 1985 ASC McLaren 5.0SC Convertible
Ford moved the Mustang to the then-new Fox platform for the 1979 model year and, at the same time, Mercury introduced the second-generation Capri as a Mustang with a posh interior that was more expensive but, mechanically, almost identical. The cream of the crop were the Capris modified by ASC and McLaren between 1984 and 1986 and, with only 933 Capris ever updated to ASC/McLaren specification, they are particularly rare and hard to find. This one you see here was offered on Craigslist and is said to be one of just 257 units converted in 1985 and one of just 94 originally painted in Oxford White that year.
In the ’70s, if you wanted to try out Ford Cologne’s attempt at building a Mustang for the European market but you didn’t live in Europe, you got yourself a Mercury Capri. As a $2,300 (in 1970) economical sports coupe, the original Capri was what’s known as a ’captive import’ - a car made outside of the U.S. borders but sold Stateside under a different badge while not carrying any divisional identification. In ’72, the Mercury Capri became the first car sold by a Ford-owned brand in the U.S. to feature a V-6 as Mercury introduced a version powered by the 2.6-liter Cologne V-6 engine. In 1976, Mercury followed in the footsteps of the Europeans and started selling the Mark II Capri but the drivetrain remained common with the Ford Pinto, Ford Mustang II, and Mercury Bobcat. The ties between the Capri and the Mustang became closer three years later when the Capri returned on the market as a sports car based on the Fox platform. This is where the story of this car begins in earnest.
Capri was a name used by Ford for three different generation models: one from 1961 to 1964, one from 1969 to 1986 and another one from 1989 to 1994. Now the company plans to reborn the Capri name. In order to celebrate 40 years of Capri, Ford will bring a concept model that will be followed by a production version in 2012.
During a recent interview design boss Martin Smith said: "Our plan was always to get the basic Ford product line-up successful. Now we have done that, we can start to build more exciting products – and we’ll show how we’re going to do this at Detroit."
What can you understand from this statement? You will see in fact a coupe version of the current generation Ford Focus, that will be sold under the Capri name. It is expected to also see a convertible version for it. Looks like we are facing at a new war between car manufacturers, a war of legendary comebacks, a war where the only winner is the consumer, meaning us. This war will surely motivate car manufacturers in producing new cars with better engines, better design and better fuel-economy.
Hit the jump to read more about the future Ford Capri.
There are quite a few hot hatches on the European market these days. Volkswagen has the new Scirocco, Renault has unveiled the new Megane Coupe and even Opel has the Astra; but what about Ford?
The blue oval brand is planning to bring back the Capri nameplate in a big way. The automaker will bring a concept to the Frankfurt Motor Show this September and are planning a production version for 2010. The future Ford Capri will be inspired by the Iosis Max concept that was unveiled the Geneva Motor Show back in March. However the production Capri will feature a pair of sleeker LED headlamps complimenting the more aggressive front end.
Under the hood Ford will use one of their new turbocharged EcoBoost power plants. Like the 1.6 Liter four cylinder making anywhere from 148 HP to 178 HP, or the TDCi diesel displacing the same amount making 128 HP and even the 2.0 Liter four making 168 HP or 197 HP. However, the top of the line Capri will be powered by the 200 HP 2.0 Liter EcoBoost four cylinder.
The Ford Capri was Europe’s answer to the Mustang; sure the vehicle was equipped with a smaller engine, but it was still an attractive, rear wheel drive sports car that offered good performance for the money.
Blue oval fans have been spreading rumors about a comeback for the Capri for over a year now. They are saying that Ford will release a Capri concept sometime this year, and hopefully, followed by a production version for 2010.
If the plan does come to fruition, the new Capri would share the same front wheel drive platform as the Ford Focus and will benefit from the company’s new “Kinetic Design.” If the Capri ever hits the streets, look for it to be lining up at stoplights for impromptu time trials alongside hot hatches, like Volkswagen’s new Scirocco.
40 years ago, 1969 more precisely, Ford was unveiling at the Brussels Motor Show a car that has been called at that moment "an unusual vehicle for a common market." Capri, or Colt how it was initially called, was a car designed for young people and pretty soon it became a huge success on the market.
Capri 1300, Capri 1500, Capri 1700 GT, Capri 2000, Capri 2300 GT - this were the models of the first generation. With power between 125 bhp, the Capri could make the 0 to 60 mph sprint in 9.8 seconds and hit a top speed of 118 mph.
In February 1974, Ford launched the second generation Capri (project name "Diana"). The new generation came with new design, but also new engines: 1,3 and 1,6 liter with output o68, 72 and 88 hp.The 2600 GT has been taken from the program. There also was a 2,3 liter V6 with 108 hp and the 3.0-liter "Essex" engine with 138 hp.
March 1978 was the month when the third and last generation (project "Carla") Capri was launched. It came with new dual-halogen lamps and light bonnet overhang into the wind, an integrated front spoiler and improved aerodynamics.
It is rumored that for 2009 we will see a concept version of the Capri at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
History seems to be repeating itself. The original Capri was sold as a "baby Mustang" for the European market, and made its first appearance in the U.S. as a Mercury. Now that Ford intends to revive the Capri name, it seems certain that it will also be coming to the U.S. as (you guessed it) a Mercury.
The new Capri concept is being prepared to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the name. Now that Mercury will become the small car arm of Lincoln, it only seems fitting that it will receive a premium version of a small European car. The concept will be developed on the next-generation global Focus platform and Ford Visos will serve as a muse of inspiration for the styling part. The first production version of the concept will arrive in the US market by 2010.
Coupes seem to be the next big thing. In Europe, for example, Ford is considering bringing back is the legendary Capri as a competitor for the newly launched Volkswagen Scirocco. At the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show Ford will celebrate the coupe’s 40th anniversary with the launch of a concept version of the future Capri. This follows the footsteps of the Visos concept launched in 2003 at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
After the concept version, the Capri will be unveiled as a coupe and probably also as a convertible model. A six-cylinder engine is expected, but a possibility is also new four and five-cylinder engines to give the car a power range from 140 to 250 hp.
Because the Capri is expected to be built on an existing small or mid-sized car platform, it may be chosen to come to the U.S. along with other smaller European Ford models.
Ford has already announced the intention to reborn the Capri, a model that left the scene in the late Eighties. A concept version will be unveiled at an international motor show in 2009, and the production version will follow the next decade.
Inside, the Capri will offer a 2+2 seating layout, with a cabin inspired by the current-generation Mondeo’s. Under the skin, it’s likely that Ford will follow Volkswagen’s approach with the Scirocco, which sits on the Golf platform, and base the car around the Focus. That will mean a front-wheel-drive layout and a similar engine line-up to the family model, with the range topped by the 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged unit from the ST hot hatch.
Ford will also work on a RS version, powered by a 3.2-litre six-cylinder motor and offering four-wheel drive.
Motivated maybe by the recently launch of the new version of the Vw Scirocco, Ford, the American manufacturer is planning to develop a new concept which will be used to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the well-known Ford Capri Mk1 launched in 1969. The concept will reveal a new vision of the old Capri equipped this time with the latest technology available.
According to the German magazine Autobild, the new car will feature four, five an six-cylinder engines capable of developing between 140 and 250 hp. The price of the car will also be close to the one of the VW Scirocco, €20,000.
Looks like we are facing at a new war between car manufacturers, a war of legendary comebacks, a war where the only winner is the consumer, meaning us. This war will surely motivate car manufacturers in producing new cars with better engines, better design and better fuel-economy.