F O R D  C A P R I  -  H I S T O R Y  O F  M K I  T Y P E  



pre 1965 - Consul Capri history in short

The Ford Consul Classic 315 was produced by Ford UK and intended to be the flagship mid-size car, positioned between the old Prefect and the MKII Zephyr. Originally planned to appear before the new 105E Anglia, a shortage of the older sidevalve engines meant the new `Kent' engined small car was needed first, and the Consul Classic 315 was put on hold while the development of the Anglia was pushed forward. The Classic 315 was styled at `Dagenham by Dagenham people' (Ford UK), however the design borrowed heavily from the styling products of Dearborn (Ford US). This combination resulted in the radical styling that now clearly evokes the fab 60's.

Below the waist line the Classic 315 and Capri bodies are identical, the only significant differences being the fastback styling and interior trim. The Consul Capri was Ford UKs attempt to follow the successful American `personal car' trend. The Consul's design was finalised, however, and it was launched, with the usual Ford fanfare, during the middle of May in 1961. Dealers all over Britain held launch parties, and one even created a civil disturbance, to which the police were called. (The enterprising sales manager filled the boot of a new Classic with five lightly clad ladies, and attracted 4000 people to the launch, instead of the expected 500!) The Classic 315 was destined to be short however, ending in September 1963 - due to competition from within Ford itself, in the guise of the slightly smaller Ford Consul Cortina. As these production figures show, the Consul Classic 315 never came close to the success or popularity of the Anglia, Cortina, or later Escorts all of which were sold in quantities well over a million. Even within Ford UK, the commitment to the Classic 315 was limited as the newer Cortina design approached completion, demonstrated by the use of short life `kirksite' softmetal dies to stamp out the body parts. The mechanical parts are standard Ford UK, sharing the same same corporate parts bin as the later Consul Cortina, Corsair, and even the much later Escort.


With tremendous success with the Mustang in the United States, Ford decide to build the European 'Colt'. They aimed to create an
attractive four-seater with dramatic styling, good handling, and quiet performance, while at the same time maximising the use of existing Ford components.

John Hitchman and his team of British engineers start design work on this 'Colt' project. Meanwhile consumer research is carried out.

Prototypes are out and tested extensively in Britain and Belgium.

On 14th July, approval is given to make the Capri a production reality.

The car officially assumes the 'Capri' title in November.

Production starts in November at Halewood, near Liverpool.

World debut at the Brussels Motor Show on 24th January. Advertising and sales launch, Europe, in February.
The various models:

British Capri
type of engine
0-60 mph
max. speed
1300 1298 cc Kent 52 ~20 sec. 85 mph
1300 GT 1298 cc Kent 64 15-16 sec. 92 mph
1600 1599 cc Kent 64 16 sec. 90 mph
1600 GT 1599 cc Kent 82 13,5 sec. 100 mph
2000 GT 1996 cc V4 Essex 93 11 sec. 105 mph
German Capri
type of engine
0-60 mph
max. speed
1300 1288 cc V4 50 23,8 sec. 82,5 mph
1500 GT 1488 cc V4 60 19,4 sec. 87 mph
1700 GT 1688 cc V4 75 14,6 sec. 96 mph
2000 1999 cc V6 85 13,3 sec. 101 mph
2000 R 1999 cc V6 90 12,5 sec. 103 mph

Suspension:     Macpherson struts in front, leaf springs in the rear
Steering:       Rack and pinion
Wheels:         13x4.5" steel rims, radial-ply tires on GTs
Brakes:         Front discs/Rear drums

'X' Pack - reclining seats, 2-tone horns, twin interior lights,
           dipping rear-view mirror, handbrake warning light,
           reversing lights, etc.

'L' Pack - bumper over-riders, bright wheel and bodywork trims,
           locking petrol cap, extra badges, 'dummy' air scoops.

'R' Pack - 5" steel wheels with pressed mock spokes, sports
           steering wheel, fog and spot lights,
           map-reading light.

In March, at the Geneva Motor Show, Ford announces two exciting capris:

Capri 3000E - the luxury version of 3000GT
Capri RS2600 (German) - the 1st production fuel-injected Capri.

In September, the Capri goes to the U.S.A. Only two models: one with a 1.6L Kent engine and one with a 2.0L Pinto.

Ford of Germany produces the 2.6 litre GT replacing the 2300GT. The 2000 was discontinued leaving the 2000GT.

Improvements on existing models: most notable in the uprating of in-line Kent engines through modification to the valve timing, porting, combustion chambers and revised carburettor jetting.
     1300 - 5 bhp increase
     1300GT - 8 bhp increase to 72 bhp
     1600 - 4 bhp increase to 68 bhp
     1600GT - 4 bhp increase to 86 bhp
The Capri wins several European Championships and Rallycrosses: The European Saloon Car Championship, clinched by Dieter Glemser, in the 4-hr race held at the Spanish Jarama circuit, on 3rd October; wins in the Brno Grand Prix, the Nurburgring Touring Car Grand Prix, the 24hr saloon car race at Spa, Belgium, and the 12-hr race at the Paul Ricard circuit in the South of France.

September. The first Capri Special based on the 2000GT - XLR announced. Only 1200 were produced.

October. RS2600 gets vented front discs; UK 3000GT now 138bhp and fastest UK production Ford at 122mph.

The Earls Court Motor Show revealed the 'Caprice' - the convertible Capri, produced by Crayfords, of Kent.

February. UK GTs - 1300, 1600, 3000, supply ceased.

July. UK 3000E ceased.

September. UK range update with 151 detail improvements including anti-roll bar instead of link rear axle, softer suspension, two-spoke steering wheel, revised fascia and larger lamps front and rear; 3000GXL takes quad lamps and uprated gear box.
UK Range: 1300L, SOHC 1600XL/GT, 2000GT(V4), 3000GT/GXL.

October. Parallel German revisions. All V4s dropped. SOHC 4-cyl engine: 1300L, 1600XL/GT; V6: 2300GT, 2600GT,
3000GXL. RS2600 remains in production with style and mechanical revisions. Anglo-German race Capris carry drivers to
European, Belgian, German and Finnish Ice Racing Championships. Also finish 8th & 10th Le Mans 24-hrs; 1-2-3
Spa-Francorchamps 24 hrs and win all but 1 round of 1972 European Touring Car Championship outright.

August. 1,000,000th Capri produced in Cologne.

December. Production of original Capri ceases. Very limited RS3100 Capri production in Halewood, UK. RS2.6 now
dropped; >4000 made.

February. Capri II announced.

End of the line. Last of the MkIII Capris - Brooklands 280, 19.12.1986

(Text and pics was taken from my books and internet)

Last updated:  18-04-2005