Friday October 12, 2018
‘I'm 34, had my first classic (a 105E) when I was 14 and I've never looked back It's a pulsing through my veins passion, but this will be the car I finish on and just keep’. Indeed, the main classic of Russell Macfarlane is one that indeed turns heads and generally attracts attention wherever she goes - a 1980-model Ford Capri 2.0S Mk. III that was ‘built in late 79 and registered in early ‘80’. He acquired it four months ago ‘after chasing this very car for 10 years’ – and, as you can see, it is more than worth the wait.
The third generation Capri was launched in March 1978 and this dealer training film fronted by Michael Screen Test Rodd gives a fascinating insight into how Ford saw the buyer owner – ‘between 35 and 41, probably married and with one child…a pretty ordinary guy’:
To further distinguish the S from the GL and the L there were alloy wheels plus ‘“Carla” fabric seat inserts with “Savannah” fabric surrounds – hence the name of Russell’s Capri.
The Capri S Mk. III was available in 1.6, 2.0 and 3.0 litre forms and in 1978 Car evaluated the mid-range model against its closest rival, the Vauxhall Cavalier Sportshatch. They found that ‘on smooth, dry roads the sharp, responsive handling of the Capri matches, perhaps even betters, that of the Cavalier’ and ‘Entertaining? The well-balanced Capri is certainly that’. Today it seems that it is the V6 or the later Injection versions that remain in the public memory rather than the four-cylinder cars.
Russell observes that ‘I've had every engine in the line-up over the years and find the 2.0 fine, it always gets lost under the shadow of the Essex but it's a gem of an engine and so simple and reliable, I wanted a genuine early Mk. III S with the Carla check so would have settled for either the 1.6S, 2.0S or the 3.0’.
As with many of us, Russell’s association with classic cars began at a very early age – in his archives is a picture of his three-year old self sat on the bonnet of the paternal Capri Mk. III back in 1986. Ten years later a 2.0S would still not have been an especially unusual sight on British roads but today they are rarer than an episode of EastEnders in which the cast does not sound like Dick Van Dyke impersonators.
Russell’s Capri is a ‘fair weather machine only’ and it had a mere 59,000 miles on the clock. ‘Everything's original’ - all the panels, the interior and the running gear. ‘The only things it's had has been new paint as original was fade; genuine S black with rare “Bitter Chocolate” fishnets. The car is used in the dry only and never in winter - in fact it's basically away for the year now. It's 100 percent standard and that's how I like them and how it will remain’.
And Russell’s Capri does exactly what Ford intended it to do some four decades ago – to provide reliable transport that was stylish and, let us be honest, totally groovy. Russell is a serious devotee of late 1970s and early 1980s pop culture - ‘I was born too late!’ – and when out and about in Carla ‘I only listen to period music such as The Boomtown Rats, Squeeze, Madness etc.’
This is entirely fitting in a car that is utterly and totally cool for cats and, given that it is a Mk. III S, there remains one obvious question concerning The Professionals to which Mr. Macfarlane gives the ready reply – ‘Yes indeed – I love a bit of Bodie and Doyle and I have the complete box set’. Although we cannot imagine Carla being driven in such a fashion –
With Thanks To: Russell Macfarlane