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How the Ford Capri became the hottest modern classic

By raccars Published

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Would you consider a Ford Capri a sensible classic car investment purchase?

Possibly not, but the Capri has the key attributes of the modern classic. Rising prices? Check. Cult television show appearance? Check. The Capri has flip flopped in and out of fashion ever since its release but has probably never been hotter than it is right now, as evidenced by the recent sale at auction of a 1978 model for a record breaking £55,000. Admittedly that particular model was helped by its appearances as Bodie's car in the TV series 'The Professionals'...

The Ford Capri in 'The Professionals'

The Professionals aired between 1977 and 1983 and the 3.0 litre Capri S in Stratos Silver appeared in seven episodes of the second series. The auction took place at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford and Bodie's Capri far surpassed its estimated sale price of £35,000-£45,000. After being driven hard by the late Lewis Collins in the TV series, the car, which has a recorded mileage of 77,300, was given a complete restoration by the owner, leaving the tartan checked Fishnet Recaro interior in immaculate condition. Some of the money raised by the sale will be donated to Cancer Research as a tribute to Lewis Collins, who died of cancer in 2013.

Minder's Capri

There was another Capri with a showbiz history at the same auction, this time Dennis Waterman's character Terry McCann's ride in the TV series 'Minder', but that sadly didn't quite reach its expected £65,000-£85,000 sale price and went for £52,500. The 1977 white Capri featured in the opening credits of the show and was once voted the 28th Greatest TV Car Ever in a Sky TV viewer survey. Even so it was headed for the scrap heap after filming but a member of the Capri Club International took it on in 1991 and treated the car to a full restoration job at a cost of £13,000.

The Ford Capris belong to two highly collectable genres; they are classic cars and they are also film memorabilia, both of which are soaring in value. It's quite amazing to remember that at one point the Capri was considered rather naff. It was actually a very good looking car and, in its more powerful variants, a great drive. However by the time the Eighties hit it had been around for a while and the new breed of hot hatches including the Escort XR3 and Golf Gti, looked fresher and more interesting.

The European Mustang

The Capri was released in 1969 as Europe's answer to the Ford Mustang, using the Ford Cortina as its basis. Ford insisted that its fastback coupe was to be affordable and, thanks to some clever marketing, the car was a hit from the beginning and went on to sell nearly two million units in its lifetime, most of them in the first five years after release.

The Capri's other main draw was its performance, which put many more expensive cars to shame. Three generations of the car were made and a number of special editions were released, the coolest of which was probably the Capri Injection, released in 1981 with an exciting V6 engine. Unfortunately the rot had already set in and sales were sinking.

By 1987 the Capri was distinctly unfashionable and was phased out and not replaced. Even so in the Eighties and early Nineties, the Capri earned the dubious distinction of being one of Britain's most stolen cars, with Home Office classifying it a high risk ownership prospect.

These days the Capri makes a very practical and usable modern classic. There's a wide range of engine choices but avoid the lower powered models. Rust, of course, is always a problem. First generation 3000 models are fetching the best money now, particularly in higher spec 30000GT, 3000E and 3000GXL format.

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