You’ll often hear this factoid before, but we’ll express it again – during the mid-Sixties it required Ford under 2 yrs to market millions of Mustangs. It was not especially advanced, however it was good-searching, fast, cheap and practical enough to capture middle America’s imagination.
Ford quite appropriately deduced that this type of vehicle would prosper in over the pond too, so only a couple of several weeks following the Mustang’s April 1964 launch it greenlit Project Colt – kick-beginning the introduction of an effective two-door coupe tailored towards the most peculiar tastes people Europeans.
The finished article emerged in 1969, 5 years and ￡20million-odd later. Capri was its name, also it was “The vehicle you usually guaranteed yourself,” approximately the ads claimed. Purposely it had been (and continued to be until manufacture of the MkIII stopped within the late Eighties) the nearest factor to some Mustang which was readily and formally obtainable in the United kingdom.
Powertrain and trim options were numerous, much like its Yankee cousin. And costs were low. The MkI started at ￡890 in 1969, using the 52bhp 4cyl pinched in the Escort (-62mph in 23.0secs. Really). In the current money, that’s around ￡13k. The Capri being offered in america and Canada (and New zealand and australia) for any couple of years through Lincoln subsequently/Mercury dealers. In most, Ford offered something similar to 1.9 million of these.
Ford didn’t provide a proper rear-drive, two-door blue-collar coupe in Europe for many years publish-Capri (no, the GT doesn’t count). The Probe and Cougar that been successful it were front-wheel-drive and, if we’re honest, a little tragic, and also the (admittedly brilliant) Puma only agreed to be a Fiesta inside a fancy frock.
However with the announcement from the 2015 Mustang came this news that, the very first time ever, Ford would sell the right-hands-drive pony vehicle within the United kingdom Body particularly targeted at britain’s distinctively terrible roads. This news was met, predictably, with much fanfare, and also the selling of numerous a large number of cars. Mostly V8s.
The very first time because the demise from the Capri, Brits can enter a Ford dealer wallet in hands, and drive in a meaty, rear-drive coupe. And also the Capri is definitely meaty. This one’s a 280 Brooklands, all of the 1,038 created to connect just shy of two decades’ price of Capri production. With simply 160bhp from 2.8 litres, it isn’t the fastest factor by modern standards.
However the delivery is lusty, lazy, and also the seem sonorous and reassuring. There’s an natural Eighties-liness into it that’s difficult to go beyond, however. The brakes don’t actually work, the gearlever’s throw seems like a complete feet . 5, and also the interior – while improved through the well-set Recaros from the 280 – isn’t everything.
They are driving it feels… old-fashioned, in the perfect way. Slow, heavy-set steering discourages quick corner entry, however the whole experience is really a satisfyingly compelling one.
Today’s Mustang is really a sharper factor. In no way an engaged tour de pressure, however for an ostensible muscle vehicle, really quite good. Neutral, with decent steering and enough provocation in the 5.-litre V8 to hurtle it along at whatever speed you admire. It’s good, and more importantly, relatively affordable.
But most importantly it’s a survivor. The Capri might have lasted for 18 years, however the Mustang, well that’s still going strong after 52. Legendary barely covers it.