Ford’s affordable four-seat sports coupe arrived in 1969 as Europe’s answer to the Ford Mustang, immediately developing a cult following that continues to this day. When we asked our readers which fantasy cars they most wanted to see built, the Capri was a leading contender.
Since Capri production stopped in 1986, there has been periodic speculation that Ford might re-launch the Capri name – usually in the form of a more-or-less direct fourth-generation replacement in traditional coupe form.
These rumours suffered a blow two years ago, when Ford’s head of European marketing and sales Roelant de Waard played down the chances of a spiritual successor to the Capri in form or name.
Add to that the imminent arrival of the new Mustang, available in the UK with right-hand drive for the first time, and it seems the chances of a new Capri anytime soon are slim.
That said, given the growing interest in Ford’s popular muscle car, the manufacturer could try and capitalise by launching a sub-Mustang coupe. Affordable and performance-oriented, there would surely be few models better suited to inherit the Capri heritage.
Dubbed “the car you always promised yourself”, the Capri offered customers varying blends of performance and economy thanks to a wide choice of engines, ranging from a four-cylinder 1.3-litre to the range-topping 3.0-litre V6
Fastback styling eventually gave way to a slightly more practical hatchback body with the launch of the Mk II Capri in 1974, and although this did nothing to spoil the eye-catching looks, sales gradually began to decline.
In October 1976, all manufacturing transferred to Germany, although the car continued to be sold in the UK. Such was its popularity over here that from late 1984 onwards, even though sales on the continent wound up, Ford continued to offer the Capri in Britain.
The end was in sight though and after three generations and over 1.8 million cars built, production of the front-engine, rear-wheel drive sports car eventually ceased in 1986.