First Capri an

exotic surprise

Ford Capri

THE Capri of the late 1960s is one of the most memorable cars ever from Ford, but there was a somewhat forgotten model bearing the same name launched in the early part of the decade that had the market agape.

The Capri 109E was based in the futuristic and somewhat overblown Consul Classic of 1961, but did away with the Classic's Anglia-like inwardly raked rear window, replacing it with conventionally raked rear window and a long boot.

The reason was that the Capri was a dedicated coupe and its voluptuous appearance came as a big shock to a British market used to more conservative styling.

And in truth it was a good looker. The problem was that at the time the British market expected such cars to have a degree of sporting potential and the 109E certainly could not live up to this expectation.

It was powered by a 1,340cc four-cylinder engine which only had just over 81mph on offer and 0-60mph took a yawn-inducing 21.3 seconds.

It was not that economical because the 54bhp engine had to work hard to propel the almost arty body and therefore economy was just 27.9mpg.

But the Capri's sweepingly good-looking styling was stylish driving for one or two people. And the boot was truly massive, giving this car an unexpected bonus of practicality.

It featured better shaped seats than the saloon and as was to be expected cost more at £627.

Despite Ford's attention to glamourous looks, the early Capri could not quite drag itself away from the old tradition of home maintenance as no fewer than 10 points required attention with a grease gun every 1000 miles.

But the British market eventually warmed to the Capri and it outlasted the Consul Classic saloon in production by almost a year.

In 1962 Ford brought out a 1,499cc version and a GT with twin-choke Weber carbs which made it a much better, if not blisteringly sporty car.

The model drove into the history books in 1964 and left the driveways of Britain awaiting the massively successful Capri of 1969.

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