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No, The Ford Capri II Was NOT More Exciting Than The Original

And that’s a fact. I am pretty sure even Ford were aware of that and therefore intentionally produced an advert which stated the opposite.

The advert mentioned is the one below and you need minimal automobile knowledge to recognise that the bold statement was pure fudge. Refresh your memory of the Capri II-look below, please:

Observant readers will note that this is an American ad for the Capri MkII. But it is still wrong.

I guess reactions at the time must have been fury, outrage and pure desperation as this was in 1976 and therefore we’ll before the advent of fake news. At that time it was generally accepted that there was a difference between right and wrong, but Ford seemed indifferent to that and went ahead with the advert anyway.

Now 1976 was of course two years after the Capri Mk2 was launched, so a lot of people must have called their bluff: The updated car was intended to be more practical and not as outright sporty as the original, and although the overall lines were clearly still Capri, the bonnet was in fact shorter. Gone were also a lot of the lovely design features of the original “hockey stick” Capri – as was the ambitious and quite successful racing programme in the European Touring Car Championship – arguably the zenith of Capri history.

The original Capri of 1968 was much more delicate.

So how the Capri II was supposed to be more exciting than the original is beyond me. Fact is – it wasn’t. Unless you find a rear hatch exciting – in which case you’d probably prefer a Volkswagen Golf anyway. Which on a positive note, didn’t suffer from a bland front AND rear either.

More evidence: The Capri MkII had to rely on “The Aeroplane Trick” to make it look sexy in marketing.

If you’re still not convinced about the non-excitingness of the Capri II, you just need to look forward to the Mk3 of 1978: Still using much the same platform but this time with bodywork updated as though somebody actually meant it, the Capri regaiI’ve asked for info on roster patterns, pay and pension. Will report back if I get a reply…ned some of its old form. Definately still not as elegant as the original, but on the other hand decidedly more modern, macho and agressive, even – could it be the first example of “angry”-headlamps in automotive design?

No plane needed as the MkIII was sexy all by its own.

The pulled down leading edge of the bonnet concealing the tops of the quad headlamps, a low stance and plenty of matte black details certainly contributed to give the Capri its mojo back. This would of course only be clear with the benefit of hindsight, but as that is a favoured discipline here at ViaRETRO it somehow only proves our point, doesn’t it?

The Capri celebrates its 50th this year and we can comfortably determine the first is definitely the best. But I quite like the last ones as well. And oh, any Capri is better than no Capri, of course.

The last piece of evicence we’ll produce today is that of market value: Generally the Capri II is the cheapest of the three. And that, dear friends, is because the market, the buyers, enthusiasts, you, have spoken with your wallets and declared the MkII the LEAST exciting Capri. But at least that 1976-advert got the bit about the price right, then.


5 Responses

  1. yrhmblhst

    Well, we never got the Mk 3 over here, so I cant comment other than to say I really, really like the looks of it. BUT… we did get the first two, and I might hafta disagree with the author here just a bit.
    I imagine that the debate may well be due to my limited experience with the Mk I and the diferences in engines available in our respective markets to be fair, but personally, I found the Mk II to be a nicer car. Were the bumpers more / too bulbous? Yes, but thats not Fords fault is it? I think they did a good job considering. The Mk 1 was available with only the 1600 and 2.0 litre 4 as I remember. A friend had a 1600 engined car that I got to drive; nice little car – have always loved the looks of the Capri – but really anemic. Steered nicely, handled well, braked well. But really short of breath.
    The second gen tho was available with the OHC4 or two versions of the 2.8 six as I remember. When the larger engine was installed, the car became fun. The interior was nicer also. Tried to buy a red 2.8 engined RokStok modified car, and owned a bright yellow [stock] 2.8 manual trans unit for about 30 minutes…but thats another story for another time.
    Theyre about as rare as piles of unicorn potty over here these days, else I would seriously consider a Mk II – preferrably in yellow – as a fun car to this day.
    YMMV, different strokes, etc etc.

  2. Claus Ebberfeld

    Well, @yrhmblhst , if you only got the Mk1 with the fourpots (I had no idea and it DOES sound very strange) I can certainly see your point. I’d still say the original design and its details were both better and bolder, but of course there should be something to back it up.

    In Europe there was: The 3-litre Essex V6-engine (the same as in my Scimitar GTE, by the way) was enough to give the Capri a definite (for Europe…) muscle car-attitude, and they do really sound quite lovely. Even better than the 2,8-litre Cologne V6, that it seems the US got? And which Europe got in the Mk3 as well.

    As the Essex formed basis for all the early motorsport (with the Mk1) it is for me an integral part of the Capri-history. Without that in the Mk1 I’d be inclined to agree with you.

    Or I’d just jump straight into the Mk3 2.8i!

  3. Tony Wawryk

    At the time, I used to think of the Capri as being a Cortina in drag, but have modified my view over the years and quite like them nowadays. A friend of mine ran no fewer than four 2.8i Mk III’s (consecutively, not concurrently!) and it wasn’t hard to see the appeal, but I’m with Claus on this one – if I were to pick a Capri, it would be a Mk1 from a styling perspective, but I’d take a Manta A over any except perhaps the 3-litre.

  4. Dave Leadbetter

    I had a couple of MKIII 2.8 injections around the millennium, when I lived in Essex; the spiritual home of all fast fords. They were great fun when they could be picked up for £2k but I’m not sure they’re such a good bang for your buck at five or ten times that. Nice cars though, and ones I should have stashed in the barn I didn’t have.


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