The Ford Capri's launch back in 1969 was timed perfectly to take advantage of Britain's rejuvenated economy which, after a couple of decades of post-war austerity, had fully enjoyed the swinging sixties. This was a time when the UK had re-established itself as a global centre for fashion, music and art, and Ford's existing line-up of comparably sensible models did little to take advantage of it. So a new car was developed to ride the wave - and nothing could do the job better than a two-door coupe with a sporting silhouette and angular lines like the Capri.
It was an instant hit, satisfying a burgeoning demand for a European Mustang and creating a new breed of stylish coupes that the working man and woman could afford. Against a backdrop of copy and paste designs the Capri looked like a premium product, although what lay beneath its fashionable exterior was actually tried and tested stuff - or, to be frank, old technology borrowed from the Cortina. But it equated to something fun and cool, which is probably what mattered most to those who bought one.
Still, there was an option for everyone, with the 1300 representing a cheap entry point, albeit with a measly 58hp on offer, while a V6 brought the muscle others so desired. Capris of differing variations sold in enormous numbers, so much so that when production ended in 1986, more than 1.8 million had been built. Although arguably the Capri's heyday had long since passed by that point, the peak having been and gone in the 1970s.
That wasn't just in sales terms, either, but in popularity as well. The officers of The Professionals drove Capris, with several filmed being flung around the streets of London in hot pursuit of a criminal in an old Jag. It was just cool. Sure, the Capri had a crude live rear axle suspended by leaf springs, but it rode and steered surprisingly well and offered proper rear-drive handling. When the 2.8i V6 was introduced, it had some decent poke, too.
Launched in 1981, the larger capacity, fuel injected six-cylinder engine had 162hp at 5,700rpm, enabling it to accelerate the now third-gen Capri from 0-60mph in 7.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 127mph. The then fashion icon of the early 1980s, the Golf GTI, could only manage 113mph with its 110hp four-cylinder - although by this point sales of the Capri had long been slowing. A two-door coupe, as desirable as that sounds today, just wasn't so hot back when the hot hatchback was beginning to find its form.
Nowadays, a two-door with lines as retro as the Capri's and a naturally-aspirated V6 driving its rear wheels is, well - see for yourself. Prices have been heading northwards for several years now, to the point that the highest spec Capri, the last of the line Brooklands, now commands £45k. Even today's Spotted, a very (very) late example of the aforementioned and far more common 2.8i, is up for thirty grand. Is a Capri, which, let's not forget uses suspension technology first developed for horse and cart, worth that much? To someone who wants to relive the glory days, quite possibly.
SPECIFICATION - FORD CAPRI 2.8I
Engine: 2,792cc, V6, fuel injection
Transmission: 4-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 162@5,700rpm
Torque (lb ft): 162@4,200rpm
Top speed: 127mph
First registered: 1987
Recorded mileage: 25,000
Price new: £8,995
Price now: £29,995