I managed to get the keys to the last Capri ever built at Cologne, Germany on the 19th December 1986 and as is typical of the Capri, it certainly made an impression on my wanton lust for the cheeky Capri.
Affectionally referred to as the Brooklands Capri because of its shade of green paint, the £12,000 Capri offered Ricaro leather seats and a much needed, if somewhat hooligan inducing limited-slip differential. For the time too, they were fitted with massive 15” alloy rims and low profile tyres. In today’s terms, a 15” wheel is fitted to your poverty wagon!
For an old classic car, one thing strikes you about this Capri and that is its drivability. I’ve owned many classics through the years and one thing that can become tiresome is the constant battle you have in driving it when faced with the pitfalls of today’s roads and traffic interruptions. Sometimes just keeping a classic in a straight-line becomes a hassle.
The 280i Capri, with its standard power steering, takes little effort to turn on twisty roads. That said, it isn’t without its problems, though this is more to do with the softly sprung (sporty set up at the time) ride that wobbles and squashes the springs with roll and pitch that today, for a sports coupe, motoring journalists would find unacceptable.
Engine refinement from the 160PS 2.8 litre injection V6 cylinder engine is as smooth today as any V6 now. Sort of. The essence of the Capri 280i is its burbling engine sound. This does encourage dropping it down and gear or two and accelerating hard. And it will storm to a claimed 130mph.
The striking thing about the Capri is the long bonnet that seems to travel forever forward. Unlike its lesser siblings, say, packed with the 1.6 pinto engine and room for extra luggage, the 280i takes up all the available space.
Interior is full of inferior appointments. Notably, the carpet joins above the transmission tunnel by the clock. Today, some 33 years later, it is endearing to the beauty that was Fords sports coupe. One thing that is notable and in my eyes at least, worthy of deep joy, is the door architecture. The use of 4 grey materials, set off with black plastic sculptures and appendages really do make them a visual treat. The perforated vinyl complimenting the perforation of the leather-covered seats.
And whilst the ride of this sporting rear-wheel drive is set to a softer setting that belies its sporting potential, the seats, sculptured into bucket seats, are sumptuous in their comfort and support. As a classic car, this is certainly one that you could travel great distances in with minimal fatigue.
Sadly, the likes of Capri, the car you’ve always promised yourself, are probably never likely to happen again, not just from Ford, but most manufacturers. The days of the coupe seem numbered in favour of raised boxes on wheels. It makes you wonder what the next generation of motoring enthusiasts are going to aspire too in 20 years time? It might be a Capri like this £12,000 from new example.
But just look at that £12,000 price tag. Good Capri 280i’s are not £12,000 anymore. They are not £5,000 anymore. Try £44,995 for one with 6212 miles on the clock. With that in the back of my mind, I was glad to hand the keys back to Ford PR with the car still intact.
Motoring nurse or medical motorist? It’s a difficult one. By day l nurse and by night l drive.
Fingers have always been grease deep in attending the motoring of an ageing fleet. And now l write about new and old.
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Member of the Southern Group of Motoring Writers. (SGMW)