Why is it so special?
The Ford Capri captured the hearts of many selling over 400 000 Mk I units globally making it a desirable classic today. It offered the proportions of sports car with design that took inspiration from American muscle cars rather than European sports cars of the period. The Capri was a bold design for the late 1960’s thanks to its sleek two-door design, long bonnet and short rear end. It rode on a rear-wheel drive chassis from the MkII Cortina and that meant oversteer especially for the ones that come with the 3.0-litre V6. It’s difficult to find a dynamic photograph of a Capri not going sideways. Other than its looks the Capri was the muscle car that was attainable for those who drove on the left-hand side of the road. What made it special whilst on sale was that 26 different derivatives we made available, this meant that there was a Ford Capri to suit nearly any budget with the range mimicking most corporate structures.
That classic cool feature:
Thumping V8 power when the biggest sellers were 1.3 and 1.6 models. The most sort after of all the Mk I Capri’s is the South African built Perana, built by Basil Green Motors. The Perana V8 was a hero on South African race tracks when in 1970 it won 13 of the 14 Group 5 races it entered and surpassed the lap records for each track it raced on. The highlight was a specially modified 5.0-litre Windsor small block V8 from the Ford Mustang. Between 500 and 550 examples were ever produced. It was capable of 0-100 km/h in 6.7 seconds and would run on to a top speed of 228 km/h. The suspension was revised and lowered by 40 mm and a limited-slip differential was added to put the extra power down. The Perana project was also the only V8 Capri to be officially approved by Ford and were available from Ford dealers with a warranty. Although not a standard feature, an optional rear window louver was available and this a popular feature accentuated the cars already eye-catching bodylines.
Can you get it today?
Back in it’s heyday there were plentiful examples of the Capri, however, today only a handful survive but it’s not impossible to find one. Original V8 Perana’s are exceptionally rare so be weary of imitation ones. There are large discrepancies in pricing from as little as R50 000 up to R500 000 it depends on the drivetrain, overall condition and extent of originality. The nice thing however is that the 1.3-litre and V6 models look remarkably similar so one could get a good condition example for an appealing price albeit without a very desirable motor under the bonnet. We’ve seen good condition examples at the V6 for around R150 000. Not a bad way to go if you’re interested in getting your first classic. As with many vehicles of this era rust damage is a big issue so search for one that’s lived it’s life preferably in the Highveld to minimize inevitable corrosion.