The Ford Capri was European sibling to the mighty Mustang – a massive seller in the US. In essence, the Capri was a standard 4-seater GT. There would be many a variation on that theme, however … enough to give a spare-parts dealer palpitations! The Capri was manufactured in GB and West Germany. The first model came with the same 1.3-litre in-line four engine as the Ford Escort. In the UK, there were 1.6- and 2.0-litre V4 options. Add to that, a 3.0-litre V6. Germany weighed in with 1.7- and 2.3-litre versions. Stock-taking was already getting complicated. And that was before the cornucopia of trim options kicked in!
The entry-level Capri was the L. The XL was mid-range. At the top of the heap were the GT – and luxury GXL. Thankfully, the body shell was interchangeable. So were the struts – and beam rear axle. There were more parts choices, though, when it came to the 4-speed gearbox. Bigger engines had auto transmission as an option. All Capris had disc brakes up front – and drums at the rear. Rack-and-pinion steering, too, was standard – except for some of the 3.0-litre models, which were power-assisted.
Many a Capri was campaigned as a \’tin-top\’ racer – often, with much success. They derived from a set of souped-up roadsters. The RS2600 Mk1, for example, was a German \’homologation special\’. It came with a fuel-injected 150bhp V6 … courtesy of top tuner Harry Weslake. In \’73, the British-built 3100 appeared – again, built for race homologation purposes. With its Weber carburettor – and over-bored V6 – it made 148bhp. These \’performance car\’ Capris featured fat alloy wheels and quarter bumpers. The 3100 sported a duck-tail spoiler. Most sought-after of all, however, was the Capri 280 Brooklands LE. Ironically, it was one of the German-built cars! Nonetheless, with its swish leather seats – and British racing green paint – it was a fitting finale to the Ford Capri story. And – as for those overworked spares departments – it is just a shame databases were still in their infancy, at the time!