..at least in the minds of Ford marketers in Europe. This morning’s press release from Ford of Europe highlights a television show tonight (only available in the U.K.) that will feature one of the best Capris of them all, the 1986 Ford Capri 280 “Brooklands” – named for the green color of this limited edition 1038-car production run. This was the last model for the European Capri – and the last true Capri (the next Capri being simply a rebodied Mustang – albeit a good car, and the last being a Mazda 323-based convertible built in Australia).
At this point in the life of the original Capri, the car was becoming dated and needed a replacement – however no development funding was available. The chassis and drivetrain were essentially the same as the original 1st generation car (which itself, like the Falcon chassis to the Mustang, went back even further into the ’60s), although Ford invested in “labor of love” updates all along including a new sleek hatchback body for the second generation, a new front end for the third generation, fuel injection for the V-6 engine, and the option of Recaro seats. However, imports to the North America had ended (where the Capri hardly fit into the Mercury dealer lineup), and the market was moving to front-wheel drive cars.
|Engine||6-Cyl. V-formation at 60 degrees|
|Crankshaft||Four main bearings|
|Bore x Stroke||93mm x 68.5mm (3.66in x 2.70in)|
|Capacity||2972cc (107.4 cu in)|
|Fuel system||Bosch K-Jetronic injection|
|Maximum power||160bhp at 5700rpm|
|Maximum torque||162 lb ft (22.5kgm) at 4300rpm|
|Transmission||Five speed manual, limited slip differential standard|
|Gear Ratios||5th 0.825, 4th 1.00, 3rd 1.26, 2nd 1.81, 1st 3.36, rev 3.37|
|Top gear speed||25.7mph (41.4kmh) per 1000rpm|
|Brakes||Ventilated Front disc / rear drum, servo assisted|
|Wheels / Tyres||7x15in alloy wheels with Pirelli P7 195/50 15 tyres|
|Front Track||53.3in (1353mm)|
|Rear Track||54.5in (1384mm)|
|Unladen weight||2712lb (1230kg)|
|Top speed||130 mph (210kph)|
We’re an original Ford Capri owner ourselves, and were sorry to see the car leave the market. Ford did move quickly into the front wheel drive enthusiast market; one example we were very fortunate to encounter in person was this Escort RS1600i in 1983. It’s where the market went, and stayed. The Focus ST is the direct descendant of the RS1600i, as is the last Focus RS, which we recently found an example of live and in person.
Ford has in the past considered a 2-door version of a rebodied Focus a new Capri, but no known movement is occurring. We’d personally much rather have that than a 4-door Focus ST since we have no use for the extra doors (or length). The market here is driven by Europe, where 2-door hot hatches are rare and of course the economy is in extremely bad condition.
Ford of Europe Press Release follows:
Ford Capri featuring in Jamie Oliver’s Food Fight Club
BRENTWOOD, Essex, 6 December, 2012 – The last Ford Capri ever produced by Ford will feature in Jamie Oliver’s latest TV project – Food Fight Club. Jamie has joined forces with his old friend Jimmy Doherty to take brilliant British food to the Continent in the most entertaining way possible.
Partly filmed in front of an audience in a café on Southend Pier, Essex, the show aims to bring the country together in their love of British food. Jamie has high ambitions for Food Fight Club: “It’s set up to be the most exciting, interesting and funny cooking show ever to be shown on TV.”
The Ford ‘Brooklands’ Capri was chosen by Jamie since he and Jimmy have been friends since the 1980s and despite having a Ford Fiesta, the Ford Capri was the car that they both aspired to when they were growing up together in Essex.
Developed by the then Ford Special Vehicle Engineering (SVE) division at the Dunton Technical Centre in Essex, the Ford Capri 280 was limited to a production run of 1,038 units. It has a five-speed, manual transmission and a 2,792cc V6 OHV engine capable of propelling the coupé to a top speed of 127 mph.
Food Fight Club airs tonight on C4.
# # #
A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, this poor tortured driving enthusiast used to live exist just outside of Buffalo NY. For a driving enthusiast, the climate was the problem: for half the year it was great, and for the other half was a frozen & miserable hell.
The month of October was tailor-made to induce severe depression as every weekend was spent trying to get in a last few events before the approaching and inevitable “end”. As the season wound down to a close, there were the last couple of auto-crosses, a track event at the ‘Glen, the “Discover America” TSD rally (still being run by our old friend Tom Krajewski), a Halloween rally run by the South Towns Rally Club, and then in the last weekend of the month the last autocross of the season in some obscure little town such as Painted Post, where it would likely snow in the middle of the event. That was the absolute end of the race season. Then the winter started full-blast and everyone reverted to a sort of “Stockholm Syndrome”… staying inside and warm was a defensive reaction to the forced captivity. Read more
Auto Express reports that Ford will introduce a 3-door coupe version of the Focus at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this January. And that it will possibly be named “Capri”!
Auto Express also provided their own conceptual image of what this might look like. It’s nicely done, except for the Nissan 370Z wheels, tires, and brakes. Somebody knows how to use Photoshop… although they did neglect to design some appropriate wheels… with the right offset.
It’s well known that Ford has been wanting to offer a coupe along the lines of the Capri for some time… and failing so far to show a 3-door version of the new Focus was likely a tip-off that something special was up. There have also been references to further products built off the new platform. So a Capri is entirely possible. We’ll know more in the coming weeks…!
What we won’t see is the likes of a Capri commercial like this one!
Catching up on some old Top Gear episodes today, we came across Series 13 Episode 5. Our three heroes face yet another cheap car challenge – this time a drive to France in three old rear-wheel drive sports coupes (pronounced “coupe-aaa…” in British): a Porsche 944 (Clarkson), a 300ZX (The Hamster), and a Capri 2.8 Injection (Captain Slow, although with a reasonable 160 HP).
Several tasks were given, including trying to beat The Stig around a race track. Everybody failed at that, and of course the Capri over-heated (giving us a deja vu moment… in our own Capri, an earlier 1974 model, the over-heating occured in the dead of winter, requiring a major repair in sub-freezing temperatures and a wind chill well under zero degrees).
And then there was the braking test: in 200 meters, accelerate to 60 MPH and then brake. If you fail, you run into one of your favorite possessions. Of course, Captain Slow crashed into his own piano and destroyed it.
Another test was a race on a snow track at a French ski resort. This brought us to another deja vu moment: the purpose of our own Capri was as a “winter car”, so that we could keep our 1979 Mustang Indy 500 Pace Car in the garage for the duration. Our Capri certainly wasn’t as nice as this well-equipped blue example from Europe. The model Top Gear used was of late-seventies vintage, which was not imported to North America. That’s a shame, because Bosch mechanical fuel injection replaced the previous (and miserable) carb and the car reached an all-time peak of capability. And a great set of cloth Recaro seats was offered as an option – which the blue car above has. Unfortunately, the Capri terminally expired and was left by the side of the road. James Mays was switched to a backup Morris Marina. The final test was a race on snow and ice and - STOP THE PRESS – Captain Slow beat both Clarkson and The Hamster.
Getting back to the real world, this week’s track test pitted the new supercharged Jag (direct-injected DOHC 5 liter V-8, with 6-speed auto) against an M5. We have to admit, we liked the Jag – despite the anti-Jag jokes that Clarkson weakly offered (because when did he start standing up for the Germans?). During the timed track test, The Stig listened to Scottish music, which Clarkson characterized as “the sound of beats being offered inside a stomach lining”. We definitely don’t want to know about the cultural reference there, although we think we’ve seen a reference to it an old Monty Python sketch.
Anyway, the Jag was only a 1/2 second slower around the test track than the M5. We think our next European car needs to be a Jag - now that we’ve had a Capri (of simiolar reliability).
For more Ford Capri coverage on DrivingEnthusiast.net, follow the link below.
For those of us who love Capris, this press release from Ford reminds us that somebody somewhere inside Ford remembers… and perhaps… is considering a new Capri for production.
Ford Press Release follows:
A TRUE PROFESSIONAL – THE FORD CAPRI AT FORTY
BRENTWOOD, 05 May, 2009 – The Ford car designed for the young at heart is refusing to grow old gracefully as the Ford Capri celebrates it 40th anniversary.
Although production ended in 1986, Capri lives on within many owners’ clubs who will be celebrating the anniversary with events planned from Scotland to the South West. Fans are getting together at Castle Combe, Wiltshire (6 June), Grampian Transport Museum, Alford, Aberdeenshire (30 August), Ace Café in London (5 September) and Brooklands Museum, Surrey (26 September).
Launched in January 1969 and marketed as “the car you always promised yourself”, the Ford Capri was unashamedly aimed at a style-conscious generation. In just 18 years the European answer to the Ford Mustang sold nearly two million units and achieved iconic status with its target audience.
From the outset the Capri was about choice, with a range boasting 26 derivatives. A mixture of engines – 1.3-, 1.6- and 2.0-litre four-cylinder units and a 3-litre V6 – catered for all tastes, while optional custom packs allowed a degree of personal customising that broke new ground in the industry. For the serious drivers there was the Cologne-built RS2600 and the short-lived Halewood-built 124mph RS3100.
A global oil crisis failed to slow the Capri’s progress and in 1974 the Mk II was launched. Smoother design lines and simplified option packs ensured the Capri appealed to a wider market.
Star status was assured with regular Capri appearances in TV shows such as Minder and The Professionals.
From 1978, the Mk III saw a tidying up of the Capri body and several special editions such as the Calypso and Laser. In 1981 Dunton’s newly-formed Special Vehicle Engineering department unveiled their first project, the 160bhp Capri 2.8 injection. The limited edition Capri 280, also known as the Brooklands Capri, signalled the end of the Capri era and the last car left the line in December 1986.
While the Capri is not the biggest seller in Ford history it is evident from the devoted fan base that it is certainly one of the most fondly remembered.
Over at Car Spy Shots, somebody has gotten a copy of Auto Bild from Germany. An article speculates that Ford will bring a new Capri to market in Europe and that this is allegedly it.
If so, we hope not. It’s clumsy, crude, and looks far to heavy from all angles. Lets face it, it’s ugly. If there is to be a follow-on Capri from Europe (versus the US or Australia), then it should functionally follow the original rear wheel drive European Capri. And the form should be long hood and large greenhouse – a school of thought that says “form follows function”. This school of design produces cars for people who want to be recognized for the technology and capabilities of the car they drive, not it’s styling. The conceptual drawings above violate that idea. The original European Capris did not violate that principle, and they were very popular cars. We’re a former owner of an original European Capri we liked the idea of it immensely.
You never know how these things get started, or where drawings like this come from. One of the “big three” monthly mags has published another drawing showing a curved side window just like the early European Capris.
We suspect that there has been discussion inside Ford on whether or not to counter the new VW Scirocco. If so, then drawings could have been made… even leaked to gauge customer reaction. Well, we’ve offered our reaction and it’s negative. FWD doesn’t have the traction or poise (despite the MazdaSpeed3), AWD is too heavy and expensive for this market space. And Ford doesn’t have a rear wheel drive platform to put this car on. That leaves the idea of a new Capri – a true Capri – impossible.