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The car you always Promised yourself? The British Mustang,maybe no but what a great fun car! I helped my brother find one of these when he was just finishing Uni and starting work.He needed wheels with street cred,had about £1000 and wanted do let his faithful Talbot Horizon 1.5 GL go.
I suggested the Capri,his eyes lit up! Don't worry trust me I know what I am doing,I had had alot of success finding cars for friends,family and myself with very few mistakes even my sceptical old Dad believed in me now rather than himself when it came to cars.
I found two good prospects,a 1985 metallic red 1.6 Laser and a superb 1982 white 2.0 S the one with the black go faster stripes down the sides with the all imortant "S" for sport just like the TV cops,"The Professionals" it even had Recaro trim with fishnet head rests,black with red horizontal stripes,so cool,so it was a no brainer really.It had only 2 owners from new and had just gone over the 100,000 miles but who cares,it drove ace and sounded right to me.
The Laser was fine had 60K on the clock,bog standard interior,a well cared for car but that 1.6 engine was just not up to the job of hauling such a heavy car around,I never drove a 1.3,that would have been hopeless so best avoid.I knew my brother deserved the best for his grand and a lesser model would have disappointed and tarnished my big brother knows best image.
The 2.0 S had more than enough power to smoke the tyres and do Banzai starts at the Traffic lights! OK the 3.0S 6 pot or 2.8i would be even better but he was under 25 and the insurance for the 2.0 S was £1000,as much as the car cost,ouch!Petrol costs as ever was a consideration and the 2.0 S managed an average mid 20s mpg,not too bad really.
He managed a year trouble free putting 10,000 more miles on before in concked out big time but a replacement engine,a recon was fitted at a nominal cost around £350 only and included 3 month warranty too.Beat that,only Ford eh?
He had the car about three years and decided that the Capri had to go,he had started to get a problem about its bad boy image and wanted something sensible.It was looking a bit sad too,knackered tyres,poor alloys,rusty arches starting to show,he had kept it outside and neglected it,naughty boy.
It was so good mechanically ,a good solid car that I bought it from him,my first classic car purchase? It was a 1982 Y reg car and this was back in the late 1990s now,it was a 3rd even a 4th car at the time for me,but he let me have it for £400 probably the cheapest car I ever bought!
I took it to a mate who owned a body/spray shop and he cut out the rusty bits around the rear arches and gave it a part respray.I refurbished the wheels and bought brand new Dunlops all round.It looked the business now,my brother could not believe it! Well worth rescuing,I couldn't stop looking at it,how sad is that! I owned some serious other metal back then,Twinturbo Supras,GTOs and the like that were miles ahead in performance and everything else but it had Character.
My girlfriend was shocked when I turned up for a date in it,what have you got that for??
I got out rolled over the bonnet just like one of the Professionals and she thought I flipped my lid.She did laugh about it,thats what it was all about really,a bit of fun.
Driving one is fun but remember they are pretty basic no frills cars,no power steering,poor headlights,no ABS,wind up yourself windows,that sort of thing but this is part of the classic car charm.Bits for these are cheap and plentiful and easy to work on,no reason why you could not use it every day.Rust is probably the major issue,wings,arches,floor etc etc so finding a solid one will be a challenge.The engines very basic,reliable,easy to fix or replace and should not cause major problems.Buy the best you can afford,avoid rusty wrecks,check it over carefully.
If you have never owned one then what are you doing,buy one now! They are becomming very popular,all old fast Fords in nice condition are fetching a premium and I feel like crying when I realise how cheap I sold mine for,but hey thats the breaks.
Thanks for reading my review and I hope you found it interesting.If this has been useful to you and you take time to leave Your rating it will be appreciated and hope you will take a look at my other reviews sometime.I also leave reviews on the Ciao website about this and other items,many thanks!
~ ~ The title of this review The Car You Always Promised Yourself was part of the Ford advertising campaign for the Ford Capri when it was first released back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was designed to appeal to the hearts (and loins) of a motoring public at the time when the best affordable cars the motoring public were being offered in the UK were awful dogs of automobiles like the Austin 1100, Hillman Avenger, and Morris Marina. Indeed, my one and only Ford Capri replaced a bloody dreadful Austin 1100, which was about as much fun to drive as a three-wheeled bicycle!
~ ~ The Ford Capri was produced at the old Ford Halewood factory in Liverpool, and also over in Germany, and when it was first unveiled to the public at the Brussels Motor Show in January, 1969 it caused a major sensation in the motoring press. Based on Fords already very successful American car, the Ford Mustang, it was a breathe of fresh air in a stale and boring motoring market place, and the demand for the car was instantaneous. Best of all it was affordable, with prices ranging from £890 for the base 1300 model, up to a £1,000 for the 1600GT.
~ ~ So just what was it about the Capri that made it such an instantaneous hit with motorists all over Europe, to such an extent that even today, nearly 20 years after the last Capri rolled off the production lines over in Germany, it still remains a much sought after classic? Well, the main ingredient of the Capris success had to be its design. Whatever about the performance, handling, comfort levels, etc, the Capri simply looked the part with its dramatic sports car appearance. Riding along the highway in a Capri it was easy to imagine yourself as a real jack the lad, and the car drew admiring glances wherever you went. For this reason it was the choice of successive generations of boy racers, and even in the design conscious 21st Century its design still holds up well against many modern alternatives. Who will ever forget Del Boys famous pratmobile, the Capri Ghia in the smash hit comedy Only Fools And Horses, or Body and Doyle dashing around the place in their souped-up Capri in the famous 70s crime series The Professionals. (Both series are currently showing on UK Gold, the satellite channel)
~ ~ I must admit that I made a mistake when I purchased my 1300XLR model Capri back in early 1973. Of all the different models of Capri, (and the choice was huge) the 1298cc model was without a doubt the worst car, inheriting an engine from the staid and boring Ford Escort that quite literally couldnt pull its way out of a wet paper bag! It produced only 55bhp from its four cylinder engine, took about 20 seconds to reach 60mph, and had a top speed of only 89mph. You might well LOOK like a boy racer in the 1300 Capri, but believe me it was very hard to act out the part, as the car had about as much poke as an old bag of chips! But I was on a budget limit from my company, (they were paying for the car) and unfortunately it didnt stretch to the awesome Capri 3000GT I would have preferred to purchase.
But the appearance was everything. I invested in all the little extras and bells and whistles with my Capri, (this is what the XLR badge meant) and it looked an absolute million dollars. Reclining seats, extra badges, 5 steel spoked wheels, a tiny sports steering wheel, fog and spot lights, a map reading light, and those absolutely marvellous air scoops stuck onto both sides of the car which did absolutely nothing at all except sit there and look good! In sparkling diamond white, and with lots of go faster stickers adorning the bodywork, I could at least imagine I was some sort of racing or rally driver, even if the cars actual performance dented the desired image somewhat.
~ ~ The Capri basically had a sports car body, with a couple of small extra seats tagged on at the back in order to ostensibly make it a family car. It was comfortable enough for the driver and front seat passenger, but I really wouldnt have fancied travelling for any length of time cramped into the back seat. Later models of the Capri (from 1974 on) abandoned the boot in favour of the far more practical hatchback, which gave you a far better carrying capacity in the back for luggage. But my version only had a rather small and cramped boot, which caused me some problems at times when I was carrying a lot of samples or equipment. (I was a salesman at the time)
~ ~ It had lots of other little extras like a two-tone horn, interior lights for the driver and passenger, reversing lights, a locking petrol cap, and a dipping rear view mirror. These extras (part of the XLR pack) cost you about an extra £100 or so on the basic price of the car, and though they may sound old hat now in todays terms, they were highly innovative at the time when most cars had no extras whatsoever, and sometimes even a heater was considered a luxury!
No fancy CD or MP3 sound systems in these days, in fact, it was just about this time that the old 8-track stereo systems were first becoming available for cars. (Anyone remember these?) I had an old radio, (manual tuning) which I inherited from my old Austin 1100 and a couple of basic door speakers for sound. But I thought it was the bees-knees!
~ ~ As I have already mentioned, the 1298cc version of the Capri was never going to win you any races at the traffic lights, but it was comfortable enough to drive. The four-speed gearbox was adequate, and you never had any problem finding the gears, and the steering was tight and precise. Handling was again (at best) adequate, although with its rear wheel drive and somewhat soft suspension it had a disconcerting habit of allowing the back end to fishtail rather dramatically if you happened to go to fast into a corner, or accelerate too hard out of it. Fuel consumption was around the 30mpg mark, which for the time was about average.
~ ~ One thing you couldnt really fault the Capri on was its reliability. I was living in the Home Counties of England at the time, and used to travel up and down to my home in Scotland about every fortnight (a round trip of about a 1,000 miles), as well as doing countless numbers of miles around my sales patch of Oxfordshire and Berkshire. In the year and a half I ran the car it only ever let me down badly on one occasion, when the coil decided to pack up on the M1 one dark and miserable winters evening, and the car simply died! But an hour or so later I was up and running again with the invaluable assistance of an AA mechanic.
Servicing was simple enough as the engine was fairly basic, but I have no idea how much it cost as my company footed the bill. But certainly the engine was accessible enough for basic maintenance to be carried out with no trouble or difficulty.
~ ~ In later life (1980s) I briefly had another Capri as a company car, the 2.8-litre JPS (John Player Special) model. Now compared with my early Capri 1300 this WAS a true sports car, with scintillating performance and comfort. (0 to 60mph in about 8 seconds, and a top speed of around 130mph!) But thats another review! I will always remember my early Capri with affection, although if I was considering buying one today (theyre still readily available second hand) I would without a doubt go for one of the later performance versions.
© KenJ December 2004
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa > > > > > > > > > > > > > After my forays into the arts namely film,book and music reveiws I intend to return to more familiar territory - is that a collective sigh I hear?As you've probably guessed all ready I'm reviewing a car(presumeably you noticed that!!) For my return I have decided to reveiw a car that is personally very familiar to me,having had many of these 'Essex man' favourites.I would like it known however that apart from one summer fruit picking I have spent next to no time in Essex and have at no time worn a large gold medallion around my neck.Nor use brut,or wear sunglasses on dull overcast afternoons. Backg
round ********** In the fifties Ford produced simple,rugged and reliable family cars that were cheap and,quite frankly,boring.Having but a very limited motorsport program,Ford of Britain were quite content to continue like this as long as people flooded in to buy their safe and conventional products.However,as the fifties became the sixties and people began to demand more from their cars fords rivals,particularly in America,started cashing in on motorsport success Ford USA performed a U-turn and implimented a 'Total Performance' policy which left Ford of Britain to develop and run it's own competition cars and program.The first car to be developed under the new mindset was the Lotus Cortina.Colin Chapman,of Lotus fame,was developing a new twin-cam engine based on a Ford bottom end and Ford of Britain's Public Affairs Chief Walter Hayes put a proposal to him,how would he like to put this engine in 1000 Cortina shells for Group 2 production racing and rallying.Going on sale in 1963 you could have it any colour you like aslong as it was white with a green stripe.With the new Escort released in 1967 this engined was squeezed,just,into it's engine bay to produce the Twin Cam. In 1964 Ford of America released Lee Ioccoca's now famous brainchild the Mustang was watched closely by the marketing men at Dagenham and this coupled with several fastback four-seater version of saloon cars being released by rival car makers e.g,Hillmans Rapier of '67, helped spur the release of the Capri. The MKI Arrives *************** 'The Car You Always Promised Yourself' was released in 1969 and shared it's wheelbase with the Corsair at 100inch and it's front and rear track with the Cortina at 52inch.As in the case of the Mustang their were many extras and option packs you could buy to make your car more individual.X,XL,XLR-Packs included - reclining seats,handbrake warning light,two-tone horn,reversing lights,bumper
over-riders,and matt black bonnet,door sills and boot panel while for £14 0s 9d got you a pair of inertia reel seat belts. Model 0-60mph Max.Speed FuelCons. stand.1/4mile ***** ******* ********* ******** ************* 1600GT 13.4s 98mph 24.8mpg 18.8s 2000GT 10.6s 107mph 22mpg 18.2s 3000GT 10.3s 113mph 16.7mpg 17.6s Engine Cyl. Comp.Ratio Power(bhp) Torque(lbft) ****** **** ********** ********** ************ 1,599cc 4 9.2:1 82@5400rpm 92@3600rpm 1,996cc V4 8.9:1 92@5500rpm 104@3600rpm 2,994cc V6 8,9:1 128@4750rpm 173@3000rpm The 2-door body with long bonnet,boot,rounded rearside windows and those distinctive air vents in front of the rear wheel arch make for an instantly classic look and the MkI sold extremely well,being face-lifted in 1973 when it recieved larger tail lights and the dash layout it would keep until its demise. RS Models ********* Two Rs models of the Capri were released during the MKI phase,one being a German model and one a British model. RS2600 The German RS2600 released in 1970 and running until 1973 were mean,moody versions with Krugelfischer mechanical injection systems number,in total,nearly 4000.Using a 2637cc version of the German cologne V6 engine putting out a reliable 150bhp,and fitted with quarter bumpers,black bonnets and a stripped out interior these were quick and rare competiton-bred cars. RS3100 With a bored-out Essex V6 at 3091cc the RS3100,also born out of competition needs,was instantly recognised by the large 'duck-tail' black rubber boot spoiler and producing 148bhp was also a quick car.Being produced during the winter of 1973-74 with about 200 being made make this a very sought after car nowadays. Perana Though not being either an RS model nor sold in this country thi
s model however deserves note for the fact it packs a 302cu.in. 4,942cc V8 from a Mustang.Produced in Johannesburg by South African tuning expert Basil Green it had a 460cfm Holley carb,sports cam and solid lifters making for a warmed-over version of the venerable 'Stang lump.At 14lb lighter than a V6 Capri this made for a mouth-watering version. MKII-Inroducing the Hatchback ***************************** With a total of 1,172,900 MKI's being built and sold in 5 years,the new model proved to be more versatile with a hatchback tailgate giving much more load-space.More glass area gave all round better visability.The new models recieved the 'pinto' engine from the Cortina in both 1.6 and 2.0 versions.Launched in Febuary 1974 the new model all had rectangular headlights and models were,by the next year,L,GL,S and the new Ghia designation.S replaced the GT designation. Model 0-60 Max.Speed Av.Fuel Cons. Stand.1/4mile ***** **** ********* ************ ************ 1600S 11.4s 106mph 27.4mpg 18.2s 2000S 10.4s 110mph 24mpg 17.9s 3000S 9.7s 119mph 23.1mpg 17s Engine Cyls Comp.Ratio Power(bhp) Torque(lbft) ****** **** ********** ********** ************ 1,593cc 4 9.2:1 88@5700rpm 92@4000rpm 1,993cc 4 9.2:1 98@5200rpm 111@3500rpm 2,994CC V6 9:1 138@5000rpm 174@3500rpm The sleek new body made for a much more modern looking car and the Capri II sold well but competition from GM's Opel Manta and cars like the Datsun 'Z' cars were beginning to dent it's sales figures so in 1978 the car was further updated to what is now known as the MKIII version though to Ford it was just a face-lifted MKII. MKIII The most well-known. ************************** Introduced in 1978 the MKIII as it became known is the most familiar model on our roads today.Wi
th larger tail lights and twin round head lights it is the car made famous in the 'Professionals' surely the best TV cop program of the all!!! Model 0-60 Max.Speed Av.Fuel Cons. Stand.1/4mile ***** **** ********* ************* ************* 1600S 12.7s 101mph 27.6mpg 19s 2000S 10.8s 107mph 25.6mpg 17.7s 3000S 8.6s 118mph 19.5mpg 16.6s 2.8i 7.7s 133mph 21mpg 16.2s Engine Cyls Comp.Ratio Power(bhp) Torque(lbft) ****** **** ********** ********** ************ 1,593cc 4 9.2:1 88@5700rpm 92@4000rpm 1,993cc 4 9.2:1 98@5200rpm 111@3500rpm 2,994cc V6 9:1 138@5000rpm 174@3000rpm 2,792cc V6 9.2:1 152@5700rpm 162@4200rpm The most noticeable model launched in 1981 was the 2.8injection with it's cologne engine and Bosch K-Jetronic injection system,with a 5-sd g/box offered not long after and an LSD rear axle set-up these were without doubt the best and most competent version of the Capri.Half leather Recaro front seats were an option on 'Special' models along with the afore-mentioned LSD. Personal Experience. ******************** I have owned 12 Capris in the past ranging from a 1977 R-reg MKII 1600GL to an '82 X-reg 2.8i and have found these great cars to drive.You have a 'sit on the floor' driving position and once you get used to nosing that long bonnet out of restricted junctions they are easy enough to drive though they are not the kind of car you can point in the right direction and then drift off like modern cars they do require drivers input.At speeds of over 130mph they do tend to rattle and shake while the handling road-holding is a lot better than what you initially feel they are.The trick is,when you put them hard into a corner and the front end goes worryingly light,if non-exsistant,trust it because they do grip well and if
your driving a more powerful version apply more throttle and the steering will begin to feedback more.While the driving experience is good and they make for,in the case of the V6's at least,fast cars they do use fuel,I used to find fuel returns of around 15mpg out of my 2.8 when I played with it so be warned. If you want a more involving and different to the modern euro-boxes type of car then a Capri makes a good choice.I highly recommend them and would have another with no problems at all.
This will be a brief summary as my car is now a fully-fledged circuit racer so current opinions will not be relevant to many other people. However, despite its reputation, the Capri changed the face of relatively high performance coupes and made them affordable. Like the XR3 that followed it, this affordability and therefore the mix of drivers that bought them gave them a poor reputation, but actually is was a good car. And don't believe stories about poor handling because they are fairy tales that have been told so often people now believe them. Mine is a 23 year old mark 1 which has been developed over the years into a circuit racer, though it remains road legal as my class demands it. It is a very sensible car to modify because they are cheap to buy, parts are cheap (well they were 12 years ago when I started) and most development has been done before on Capris or Escorts so it is easy to avoid being experimental. Mark 1s are now considered to be classics and suddenly people appreciate them for what they are. Trouble is, that means the price is going up. Scorings are for a Mark 1.
I have owned my capri for 4 years and hold no regrets. Though I will say that they are not for the shallow of pocket. In petrol mainly, also watch out for exhaust problems, mine often works loose from the engine, when driving on bumpy roads. There is of course their rep for rust, which is unfortunately well founded. Look out for probs with the electrics, check rear wipers, petrol guages any inside switches. Also I find that being on level with newer cars headlights, makes driving at night somewhat painful! Though I have to say that mine handles beautifully, the myth reg the rear swing on turns was obviously started by someone who has little experience of rear wheel drive. Excellent drivers seat comfort, bit snug in the back, tough cars, I was hit once by a big volvo, and it came off worse! All accounted for I love my capri, it truly is a little different, in the world of the bubble car I wouldn't swap it .
I've always had bad luck with any Ford I have bought, and my Ford Capri was no exception. I bought it from a colleague of mine at work, and she had had no problems with it. To be fair it was a good lucker, a fairly basic model 1600 in lime green, and I thought I was the bee's knees driving off from her driveway with this sporty looking car. However, fortune was not to shine on my new acquisition.It did break down a few times after I purchased it, and then the key jammed in the steering column, and broke off.It was expensive to have a new steering column put in. Probably the finl straw was when it was stolen one evening, but the police did eventually find it...was I pleased? Two weeks later however, the same person came abck to my house, and stole it again,only this time he was foiled by the steering lock, and left it blocking the people in in a close! I did feel closed in, maybe it just wasn't me, but I was used to cars with a more open feel, I did not like the feel of the steering, nor the brakes, in fact did I like anything about my Capri, I think not.
The capri is an interesting car it has become a kind of cultural icon it has been cut into slices covered in fake fur covered in ciggies and such like but that isn't what the car is about. The capri first and foremost in my opinion is the best production dragster that has ever been made in britain. It is or rather was a poor mans racer. The huge power plants put in the capri accelerate it fast and to high speeds it is only when u turn a corner that your life flashes before your eyes. I have had the pleasure of owning a knackered one and they are nice cheap cars. I threw it away cause it bust.
‘The Car You Always Promised Yourself’, enthused the adverts for the Ford Capri, and in the case of the Flying Tiger, we did … three times. As passionate Capri enthusiasts, the number we have owned easily exceeds fifty. They are usually bought cheaply and either restored and kept by us for a while, or if they are too far gone, the useful parts are taken out and transplanted into Capris that would otherwise remain on the ‘critical list’! I always find it hard to watch as the corpses of the donor cars are carried off to the scrap-yard, but comfort myself with the thought that one more Capri is going to stay on the road because of it. They come and go at such a rate that I’ve kind of gotten used to it over the years. The Flying Tiger was different though. From the moment I first saw her it was a ‘lurve’ thing. A 2.8 mkI, she had the elegant lines common to all Capris, but she had an indefinable something else too – she was a head turner. She got her name partly because of her speed and power, but primarily because of her colour, gleaming orange, with a black vinyl roof. Everywhere we went with her, people would stop us to ask questions about her, or simply stand and stare. Her finest hour came when, all dressed up with white ribbon, she took us down to the registry office where we were married. The wedding proved to be her undoing – it had made a huge dent in our finances and that, together with the fact that, at around 15mpg, she drank petrol faster than the Queen Mother drinks gin, led to my husband’s reluctant decision to sell her. A few boring but practical Vauxhall Cavaliers later, funds were looking healthier, and my husband was browsing the papers for another motor when he spotted an advert for a very familiar sounding Capri … and the Flying Tiger was on her way home again. She had been very much neglected, and was absolutely filthy inside and ou
t, but a thorough cleaning and some minor cosmetic repairs soon had her pulling in the admiring glances once again. Men can be very fickle however, and while I’ll admit it’s not easy squeezing three kids and a weeks worth of shopping into the back of a Capri, I was nonetheless amazed when my husband commented that we could do with something bigger – ‘something like a Ford Granada’. Once more, she played a part in sealing her own fate - the roar of her engine as she fired up on a morning and her outrageous good looks had attracted the attentions of a neighbour – who just happened to be growing tired of his Ford Granada! Much to my disgust, the deal was done, and the Flying Tiger went to live next door, and life for her went on in pretty much the same way as before. Then one day I came home to find her in a very sorry state. Always unconventional, she’d decided to give the brakes a miss and use the car in front to stop herself instead. The front of her was completely caved in, and the bonnet and one wing were badly buckled. I was heartbroken. For months she stood on next- door’s drive, deteriorating daily, while I just tried to ignore her. Our neighbour seemed to be trying a lot harder as he had by now transferred his affections to an American Camero. He had offered her back to us for sale, but taking into account the cost of having her repaired, the asking price was just too high. Her luck changed on New Years Eve last year when we met our neighbour at a party, and managed to negotiate a price that was acceptable to all. By now he wanted her out of the way, we just wanted her back, and she was ours … again! Midnight, and the dawn of the new Millennium found me sitting alone in the Flying Tiger with rockets going off above my head, and the whole world enjoying one big noisy party. Magic! It took just six weeks to restore her to her former glory. To date, she has had more
than a thousand pounds spent on her – but she is worth at least double. She was recently shown for the first time, with the South Glos. Capri Owners Club, at the Bristol Classic Car Show, and even our neighbour turned out to see her. She still experiences the odd problem – both she and her sister, 1.3 mkI ‘Crapi Capri’ are currently being a pain in the back axle – but this time, she’s definitely home for good.
I wanted a Capri for years - they ran in the family. When I passed my test there was no way I could afford to run one - the insurance costs were ridiculous. When I was 18, I was offered my Grandfathers 1978 1.6GL, but insurance costs of £850 for third part fire and theft meant I didn't hang onto it for very long. A couple of years later though, after a string of Ford Fiestas had built me up some no claims bonus, I found that insurance for a 1.6 had dropped to a far more sensible £300 fully comprehensive - little more than I was paying for a Fiesta 1.1 Ghia. So I started hunting around. A surprising number of large garages had Capri's knocking around - usually because someone had a soft spot for the car and didn't want to see it end up at the auctions. There were a fair few scarily rough and cheap examples, but for a little extra cash there were cars really worth investigating. First was a beautiful 13 year old British racing green 2.0S, but at £2000, the price was a little optimistic, and I had to walk away. Next I found a Rover dealer selling a 12 year old 1.6LS, with 35000 miles on the clock. The owners were apparently in Saudi Arabia and now wanted to get rid of the car. It was in first class condition, but for one wing which had been badly replaced. Rust had taken hold in the seam, and pushed the wing out so that was no longer flush with the rest of the car. The owners wouldn't budge from £1250, and I could see that with it's metallic blue paint, sorting the wing out was going to be an expensive job. Finally, I came across an 11 year old white 1.6LS with 50-odd thousand on the clock at another Rover dealer, again priced at £1250. The old guy who owned the garage was one of those with a soft spot for the car. He could tell I was genuinely interested, and immediately dropped the price of the car to £1000. That's still expensive for an 11 year old car, but it was in pretty good nick, low mileage and included a full MOT and
3 month warranty. And it had had some useful bits of work done to it - the gas struts that support the boot when it opens had just been replaced at a cost of about £60, and the poor Ford radio had been replaced - not with anything special, but it meant the job of carving the old style radio out had been done making my job of fitting something halfway decent much easier. The car takes some getting used to. It's much lower than your average car - a complete change from the Fiesta I was used to. The long bonnet seems huge making the road seem a very long way away, and rear visibility is pretty poor. It's not the easiest car in the world to get used to parking. The driving position is comfortable, and the seats in my LS are firm - better then the late 70's GL that I used to own. The car is fairly quiet, but suffers slightly from only having a four speed gear box. The gear box is smooth and feels nice to operate. Performance from the 1.6 engine isn't incredible - you'll often find nasty little hatchbacks outgunning you but it pulls well and overtakes reasonably, and is capable of a pretty respectable top speed. Although the car feels very different from your run of the mill hatch to begin with, it really doesn't take long to get used to. After owning it for only a week, climbing back into the Fiesta was not a pleasant experience. The driving position felt too upright and far forward, the car was noisy and slow, and the gearbox frankly appalling. Life with a Capri is pretty painless, and a lot of fun. The car has been very reliable. I had to have the carburettor reconditioned when the car started getting a bit thirsty, but this only cot me about £30. Fuel consumption is normally in the region of 30mpg, but can be better if the car is driven carefully (not something that tends to happen to often with me, unfortunately). Most problematic have been the brakes, but this is work that only tends to come to light at MOT time, and is
never too expensive. The radiator has been replaced (£60 for a reconditioned unit), and it's had a couple of exhaust sections replaced (£30-£40 a piece). Apart from that, I've had no major expense in 20000 miles of driving. When I bought it, it stood on it's original steel wheels with rather skinny looking 165X13 tyres, which really didn't look nice as they left the wheel arches looking very empty. A friend of a friendly mechanic was selling a set of alloy wheels from a 2.8i Capri for £50. Three of them had massive 205/60X13 tyres fitted, and two had no tyres at all. I bought a couple of 185/70X13 remoulds for the front for about £50 which have lasted me ever since. When the time came to replace the big rear tyres, I managed to get hold of a pair of 205/60X13 Michelin MXVs part worn for £35 - tyres that would have cost £70-£100 each new. When things do go wrong, the fact that the car is a Ford has it's advantages. Parts are cheap, and many of them are shared with Cortinas, Sierras, Escorts - you name it - of various ages, ensuring there's a steady supply of most things. Anything that Ford doesn't make can often be found being made by specialist companies, such is the Capri's following. If you buy a Capri, your mates WILL take the mickey. That's guaranteed. I've found however, then taking them for a spin around the block will soon change their minds - especially of you floor it out of junctions, making the back end give a little twitch. You get the occasional idiotic boy racer in his Nova try to give you a race, but my preferred method here is to let them zoom past. They'll think they look great until they realise you're not playing, then they just look stupid. One of the nicest aspects of ownership, is that fellow Capri drivers will wave and flash their lights as you pass. The problem is, now there isn't really another car I fancy owning. The car is nearly 16 years old now, and rust has t
aken hold in the typical Capri places - front of the wings, back wheel arches - all due to a design that traps mud and moisture. I thought about getting another car, but what could be as much fun to own and drive, yet be so cheap to run. So, the solution? The car is soon off for major surgery. The front end will be taken off and new wings will be put on (with plenty of underseal and waxoyl all over the undersides), and the old 1.6 is getting swapped for a reconditioned 2 litre unit. Then I'll be ready for my Capri's next 16 years.