Friday November 8, 2019
Every Ford Capri is special, but some are more special than others. Here are ten examples from the Heyday of the Limited Edition Capri.
November 1971 saw the debut of a Capri so groovy as to put even Mungo Jerry in the shade.
The new Special came in any colour you liked, so long as it was “Vista Orange”, a dealer-fitted ‘Lamborghini-like rear window slats’ and rear spoiler, a radio, fabric trim and inertia reel seat belts.
The Special’s tasks were to a) make a 1600GT or a 2000GT owner feel like Tony Curtis in The Persuaders! and b) maintain interest in the Mk. I before the launch of the facelifted Capri in 1972.
Only 1,200 were built.
John Player Special
It is the summer of 1975. Your flared trousers are the envy of one and all.
You are the sort of cool character who wears sunglasses for a visit to your local branch of Wavy Line – which might also explain why you keep walking into the stacked display of Bird’s Dream Topping.
And for such a discerning character, Ford has just launched a version of the Capri that will make you seem the Hampshire equivalent to Emerson Fittipaldi in his Lotus 72.
The suspension was uprated and, most notable of all, the John Player Special (JPS) featured black coachwork and trim in a manner that anticipated The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.
The JPS did not quite feature ‘lack controls that are labelled in black on a black background’, but it was close.
Ford sold 2,003 of the JPS, and with ownership of such a fine Capri a new world of glamour, intrigue and Irish Coffees at the Golden Egg would surely be yours.
The engine choices consisted of the 1.6-litre, 2.0-litre and 3.0-litre GT units but I am sure I recall someone in my village attempting to create an interpretation of the JPS via spraying his 1300L on the driveway of his bungalow.
N.B. It convinced absolutely no-one, especially when he turned the ignition key.
A Capri that was only available via one of Ford’s 80-strong network of RS dealerships; the X-Pack could be specified either as an aftermarket package or as new factory car.
Ford introduced the X-Pack in late 1977, and although it was available on the Fiesta, Escort and Cortina, it was the specially prepared Capri 3.0S that captured the public imagination.
Asides from the array of tuned engines, the list of fittings included triple Weber Carburettors, a limited-slip differential, modified suspension and anti-roll bars, four-spoke alloy wheels, and – but of course – GRP wheel arch extensions.
When Motor Sport tested a late model Mk. III, they found it to be a ‘full-blooded, powerful sports car in the old style dressed up as a modern coupé, with a responsive chassis that adds exhilaration’ with a top speed of ‘130 mph plus in favourable conditions’.
When production of the Capri X-Pack ceased in 1980, it was already regarded as a collector’s item.
This is arguably the archetypal “Medallion Man” Capri and if you craved a 1.6L Mk. III with extra instruments and, of course, “go-faster” stripes (in three-tone red no less) then this was the car for you.
So, luxuriate in the seats trimmed in “Bitter Chocolate Beta”, revel in that ‘Sports gear shift knob’ and wonder if you can afford the “Option Pack”. However, just so the GT4 would not become overly complacent, twin carburettors, front headrests and a remote control driver’s door mirror all cost extra.
Cameo and Tempo
These special edition Capris debuted in the summer of 1981, and it was unusual in that it did not promise any extra luxury at all.
There would be little point in generally posing in your new Cameo for despite claims of ‘great value with sporty look’ it was essentially the L sans a centre console or side-mouldings.
In their own way, both are as much as part of the Capri story as the Brooklands or the X-Pack. Do any survive?
By the early 1980s, Ford was starting to reduce the Capri line-up, and the Calypso was essentially the 1600LS with ‘racy’ duotone paint, tinted glass and even a rear wash-wipe.
All this for just £87 more than the standard version; suburbia would never be the same again…
The sister model to the Calypso and, according to Dagenham at least, it was ‘A Capri to make a song and dance about’.
The package included a sunroof, alloy wheels, two-tone paint and your choice of 1.6-litre or 2.0-litre engines – what more could an owner reasonably demand?
In marked contrast to the Calypso or Cabaret, the Tickford Turbo was, to quote a Motor test of 1984, a bold attempt to ‘create an affordable supercar by developing a freely (and relatively cheaply) available mass-produced car’.
The IHI Turbocharger, Garrett Intercooler, Bilstein dampers, rear disc brakes, ZF differential and that body kit all raised the price to £14,985 – or around £6,000 more than the standard Capri Injection.
However, the top speed was in excess of 140 mph, and the tester considered that ‘the Tickford is both a challenging and an exhilarating car to drive, with enough power to relegate all similarly-priced rivals to also-rans in all areas except for sheer maximum speed’.
Motor Sport noted ‘It has been referred to as an eight-tenths size Vantage at a third of the price, and that just about sums it up’. Tickford originally intended to build 250 Capris, but just 85 seem to have left the factory.
The famous last-of-the-line Injection Special, fitted with 15-inch alloy wheels, black leather upholstery, with red piping and the famous “Brooklands Green” paint finish.
The production run was a mere 1,038 units although Ford initially planned to make only 500 models. As the story goes, 538 additional bodyshells were sourced from Cologne, and so the badging was changed from “Capri 500” to “Capri 280”.