Earlier this week, I had written about a 1:24 scale model of a 1969 Ford Capri 1600 GT XLR I had recently purchased. I remain thoroughly impressed by manufacturer Welly’s attention to detail, which I think is remarkable considering the low price I paid for it. I’m not the ultimate connoisseur, but I have a number of scale models of cars that have been important to me displayed in my living space as part of the overall decor. Though the accounts of my Capri ownership experience were fictional, much of the rest of that essay was factual, including my long-time love for a beautiful, imported car I had grown up thinking was a “Mercury” Capri.
The 1979 model year was when the Capri became a legitimate Mercury, twinning with the winning, new Mustang based on Ford’s new, compact “Fox” platform. Several things I liked about the new Capri were its muscular, flared front fenders and rear quarter panels, the wide, smoke-effect taillamp lenses, and the flat front panel with its quad headlamps and horizontal grille.
The ’79 edition’s frontal styling provided, in my eyes, the only external piece of styling continuity with the European Capri, save for the fact the quad headlamps were now rectangular instead of round. On the inside, though, it’s clear by one look at the dashboard that the new Fox ponies were influenced by their European cousin. Even my ’88 Mustang had the same, basic placement of the gauges in their cluster as the early Capri.
The original Capri was a success in the U.S., even if its sales figures tapered off after the foreign exchange rate with (West) Germany made ownership here a bit cost-prohibitive for its content toward the end of its run here. It remained a well-liked car. Fast-forward to model year 1991, and the Capri made its final reappearance as a front-wheel-drive 2+2 convertible manufactured in Australia. We’ve covered the last Capri at Curbside here and here. To summarize its story in just one phrase, it was less than a success, and as a result, they are very hard to find in the wild. I could probably count on the fingers on one hand the number of them that I’ve seen over the past five years, or so.
Remembering these pictures I had taken last February, I considered them a fitting bookend to a week in which I had fantasized about owning an early example of the European sporty coupe on which this model name had first appeared in the United States. Not every story has a happy ending, and not every family name gets to live on to another generation. It has been over a quarter of a century since the last, new Capri made an appearance for model year ’94. Just the same, it was great to revisit this pair of pictures of a latter-day Capri in a bustling, downtown, city center environment to which I hope to return.
Downtown, The Loop, Chicago, Illinois.
Thursday, February 14, 2019.
Print ad and brochure photo were as sourced from the internet.