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Modern classics: Ford Capri

The Ford Capri was the coupe designed to challenge the big European brands by providing driving thrills and great styling at a price within reach of everyone.

It was created by Ford to be Europe’s very own Mustang, and despite Car magazine calling it a Cortina in drag, its bold American styling made it an instant classic.

The Mk1 Capri

When the Mk1 Capri hit the market in 1969, sales were decent from the off. The car was designed to appeal to all budgets and was available in a number of different engine sizes, from the underpowered 1.3-litre up to a meaty 2.0-litre V6. With production taking place in Germany and the UK, there were some differences in engine type (Ford Kent and Ford Essex V4/V6 in the UK and Ford Taunus and L engines in Germany).

The Kent engines offered sluggish performance, and the Essex V4 was woefully unreliable, but the Essex V6 was a great engine and is the most desirable today.

The ride was uncomfortable, and the handling was terrible, but Ford addressed many of these issues with a facelift version in 1972, which was available until 1974 when the Mk2 came along…

The Mk2 Capri 

The Mk2 Ford Capri was a fantastic car that proved that Ford listened to criticism. With its shorter bonnet, larger cabin and hatchback, it proved to be as popular and practical as it was reliable. The hatchback was a revelation (it was Ford’s first) and showed the way forward for future Ford designs. Despite being a better car in every way than the Mk1, sales were slower around Europe, so when it came to updating the Capri in 1978, Ford focused the majority of its marketing on the UK sector.

The Mk3 Capri 

The Mk3 looked the business. Its sharper lines and double headlights made it look like it could eat other cars for breakfast! Whereas the model to own was always the 3.0-litre V6 (thanks to the TV show, The Professionals), the later 2.8-litre injection provided even more thrills. Its 160 bhp output kept the Capri on the heels of the chasing pack… the new kids on the block that came to be known as hot hatches.

There are loads of Capris on the market for the classic car enthusiast, and they’re all fairly easy to work on, which makes them a tempting buy. Expect to pay anything up to £40,000 for a mint large engine model, though, which means the Ford Capri is no longer an everyman sports coupe!