1976 Ford Capri V6 Series 2 'Chastain Enhanced' Coupe
Following the success of the Mustang in the US, Ford’s European arm developed its own personal sports coupe in the late 1960s, unveiling the completed Capri at the 1969 Brussels Motor Show. Production actually began two months earlier in both Cologne, Germany and Halewood in the UK, albeit with very different hearts – the German cars powered by a range of V-formation motors while the English 1300 and 1600 counterparts were both of in-line configuration. The UK model range was subsequently expanded to include twin carburettor 2000GT from March 1969 followed by two new 3-litre V6 models, the sporty 3000GT that September and more luxurious 3000E in March 1970. Much of the Capri’s running gear was lifted from the contemporary Cortina, with McPherson struts up front and a leaf-sprung live rear axle plus rack and pinion steering. Detail changes were made throughout the Mark I Capri’s production life, including the addition of brake servos, new headlamps and more power with the switch from the Kent engine to the Pinto engines from September 1970. Although the Capri was designed as a GT car, it was quickly developed into a successful rally car and ultimately a formidable track weapon, the RS2600 and RS3100s winning both the European and British Championships against stiff opposition from the likes of BMW. Fire-breathing, turbocharged monsters built by Zakspeed continued racing into the late 1970s, with Klaus Ludwig winning the German Championship in 1981. The Capri was popular outside Europe as well, with over half a million sold in the United States by 1977 and Australian buyers were similarly enamoured with the fast Ford, the first deliveries taking place in May 1969. Billed as “The Car You’ve Always Promised Yourself”, Ford Australia assembled Capris at Homebush in Sydney, with just two models available at first – the 1600 Deluxe and the 1600 GT. In February 1970 the V6 3000 GT was added to the model range and at the same time the 1600 GT gave way to the 1600 XL. Local production ceased in November 1972, with 15,122 having been made in total although a further 50 of the homologation special RS3100 cars were subsequently imported in 1973. The final Mark I Capri was built in December 1973 although the model would live on through the 1970s and into the 1980s with the ultimate Mark 3 version, the last model leaving the production line on December 19, 1986.