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The Professionals

Meet The Capri
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''The car you always promised yourself''

James Hunt, Ayrton Senna, Grant Mitchell, Terry McCann and of course Bodie and Doyle all drove one.

The Ford Capri was first launched on 5th February 1969 by Ford UK. Originally called the Colt, Ford had to change the name after they learned that Mitsubishi owned the rights to that name, so Capri was chosen instead.
It was built from readily available parts, having the chassis from the Cortina, the interior from the Escort and the engine and gearbox from the Corsair and later, the Granada.

The Capri was a huge hit almost instantly, especially with young men, as it was seen as an affordable sports car that could be modded and tweaked easily and cheaply.

The car was conceived as a European response to the Pony/Muscle car craze that had caught on in the mid-60's in the USA with the Ford Mustang (which the Capri was heavily based on), Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Charger. Ironically, due to emissions laws in the USA, the Capri was a faster car than it's American contemporaries!

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The Capri was designed by John Hitchman and Uwe Bahnsen in Ford's plant at Dagenham, England. The idea behind it was to transport 4 adults and their luggage in speed and comfort. The Mark I Capri had a huge options list which included bucket seats, tinted windows, bodykits, trim and colours, suspension hardening kits, radio equipment, and engine sizes from 1350cc to a massive 2994cc. The car was built in Britain at Dagenham, Halewood, near Liverpool and in Cologne in Germany. The Capri became a cult icon and is now considered a semi-classic. The mkI was sporty looking, cheap, very quick and was a more fun alternative to sports cars such as the MG and the Morgan. It was also very easy to maintain and modify if you wanted. The mkI Capri was sold throughout Europe, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and America, the Americans falling for it's style, speed and good handling. It was sold not under the Ford name, but under the Mercury company, that was owned by Ford. The 3.0 engine made the Capri the fastest Ford available between 1970 and 1981, until the 2.8i engine was introduced-to the Capri.

The Capri was one of the racing cars to have in the early 1970's. Endurance races like the Nurburgring 1000KMS and the Spa 24hr race were won by specially prepared 3.1 litre Capris driven by the likes of Jochen Mass and Hans Stuck. European Touring Car Championships were won in 1971 and 1972 by 2.6i models.

In 1973, Ford decided to redesign the Capri. As a final fling before the Mark II, Ford UK issued the Mark I RS3100. This had a modified bodyshell and a 3.1 Essex V6, basically the standard engine with a set of triple Weber carbourettors fitted (a popular mod for the 3.0), which could give a top speed of nearly 130 mph. Ford of Germany issued a very rare car called the RS2600, based on the 2.6 litre Cologne injection engine that was exclusive to the German market. The RS2600 featured lightened body panels and a stripped out interior for more speed. In South Africa, a special edition called the Perena was introduced. This was powered by a 5 litre V8 engine, with a then massive top speed of 140mph. The Perena Capri won the South African Touring Car Championship in 1970, and was promptly banned at the end of the season, as it won all but one race!

Around the same time as the Capri's launch, Opel brought out it's rival to Ford's sporty 4-seater. It was called the Manta and was based on the same idea as the Capri; a 4-seater sports car with a large options list. The Manta had 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0 engines, and was almost a match for the early Capris in terms of performance and acceleration.

Below is a table of the range available for the Capri MkI

Engine Capacity
Options
Class

Top Speed

1350cc 59bhp@5200rpm
L, X, XL
1.3 Kent

84mph

1600cc 82bhp@5700rpm
L, X, R, XL
1.6 Pinto

95mph

1998cc V4 102bhp@5500rpm
L, X, R, XL, XLR, GT
2.0 Taunus

107mph

2994cc V6 136bhp@5300rpm
GT, GTE, GXL, L, X, R, XL, XLR
3.0 Essex

122mph

2597cc V6 134bhp@5400rpm
RS
2.6i Cologne

121mph

3098cc V6 157bhp@5300rpm

RS3100

3.1 Essex

127mph

4988cc V8 285bhp@5100rpm

Perena

5.0 Windsor

136mph

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Ford updated and replaced the Mark I with the more streamlined Mark II in January 1974, an advert at the time starred a very young Martin Shaw! Shaw claimed the Capri was a terrible car to drive, while Ford claimed they had made 151 improvements over the mkI. Retaining the same basic chassis, the new car was aerodynamically cleaner than before which helped fuel economy. The mkII was designed to be more 'user friendly', so gone was the rough and ready looks of the MkI, replaced with a more rounded chunky design. It featured items such as split folding rear seats and a full hatchback bootlid. It didn't have as many options as the mkI, most of the trim and equipment options being made standard fixtures to most of the models, and it wasn't nearly as sporty looking, resembling a family hatchback, but there were 2 special 'sporty' editions, the X-Pack 3.1 and the 'JPS' 3.0. These cars are now much sought after by classic car collectors. The 3.0 GT model was eventually replaced by the upmarket Ghia and the Sport in 1975. The Ghia featured leather seats, electric windows and an automatic gearbox as standard, whilst the Sport or S model had a slightly tuned engine, stiffer suspension and front and rear spoilers fitted. The 3.0 engine was bored out slightly, giving another 10bhp. The Halewood factory closed in 1976, which left Cologne as the only factory left building the car. Competition from the redesigned Opel Manta B saw sales slump throughout the mid 70's, leaving Ford considering axing the Capri for good.

Ford was involved with many TV shows, most notably The Sweeney, but when it was approached by Mark-1 productions for The Professionals, Ford agreed immediately. Ford also provided a lot of the trucks and vans for the film crew to move their equipment around. Nowadays looking at The Professionals, it's almost impossible to imagine Bodie and Doyle without their trusty warhorses.

The Capris that appeared in the show had to be modified for filming, so they had 3.1 litre engines and sturdier suspension which was needed to do the many stunts seen in the episodes. Each car was fitted with a sump guard to protect the bottom of the engine block from being damaged during stunts.

Capris aren't without their faults. We can start with it's image. Most people think of a Capri and see an image of furry dice and medallion men. Others see it as a boy racers' car driven by people with no respect for other road users. The Professionals is partly responsible for this. Although very reliable, the earlier cars are prone to rusting and the later cars aren't much better. Roadholding has always been criticised on these cars. The rear suspension was made up of leaf springs and torsion bars, which just aren't able to handle the power of the engine. Drivers who come off roundabouts and corners too fast will find themselves facing the opposite way in a cloud of their own tyre smoke, as the Capri had a very 'active' rear end! Wet weather handling was even more tricky, the car had to be given very gentle treatment, as a big accident was never far away. The front suspension is rock hard, causing a very bumpy ride. The rear seats are just big enough to take two growing children, but adults will find the rear very cramped. Fuel economy on the 2.8 and 3.0 is not very good either. You'd be very lucky to return 22 miles to the gallon, much less in 'Maverick' mode! The 1.6 and 2.0 can return around 30mpg. The brakes also have to be treated with respect. The Capri was fitted with simple drum pads that would probably be adequate for a small car, but hopeless on a fast car like this. Most owners opt to change them and fit 4 pot discs and calipers more able to take the power and weight of the car.

Below is a table for the range of the MkII Capri.

Engine Capacity
Options
Class

Top Speed

1350cc 64bhp@5200rpm
L
1.3 Kent

85mph

1600cc 88bhp@5700rpm
L, XL, GL
1.6 Pinto

102mph

1998cc 105bhp@5500rpm
GL, Ghia, S
2.0 Pinto

110mph

2994cc 146bhp@5300rpm
GT, Ghia, S, JPS
3.0 Essex

124mph

3098cc 175bhp@5300rpm
X-Pack
3.1 Essex

130mph

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Although the Mark II was a fine car, it was seen as too prissy. Instead of cancelling production of Capris, Ford decided in late 1977 to do another redesign, but to bring the Capri back to the rough and ready image of the Mark I. The result was the Mark III launched in March 1978, which to Ford was nothing more than a tweaked mkII with a reworked front and rear end.

It was a lot more aggressive looking, with 4 round headlights, lowered suspension and 'as standard' front and rear mounted spoilers. This is the Capri that most people will recognise, as it's the one that had the longest production run. The mkIII was much more successful than the mkII, mostly because of the redesign work, and the honing of the car into a class leader. The user friendly attitude was toned down but kept, and a more hardened approach was taken to the car. The 3.0 engine was again given a minor boost in power to keep it ahead of rivals.
The Capri saw many changes through it's 18 years of life. In July 1981, the 3.0 engines were replaced with Cologne 2.8 fuel injection engines, which were leaner on fuel but not quite as desirable for enthusiasts. Top speed increased to 131mph with this version. The 2.8i had much more solid roadholding thanks to a redesigned rear suspension, and a limited slip differential, which improved the rear end handling. It could out-accelerate and was faster than most other performance cars of the time.

There were also the Zakspeed Turbo and the Tickford Turbo. Both of these are very rare, so expect to pay a lot of money! There was also a turbo conversion offered by Turbo Technics for the 2.8i. Aside from reset gear ratios, a performance exhaust and lowered suspension, the company offered a very reliable turbo, with over 200bhp! Not surprisingly, this relatively inexpensive option helped the Capri to reach over 150mph.

The final Capri rolled off the production line on December 19th 1986, the last being a special edition of 1038 cars called the 280 Brooklands. This type of Capri was released as a final celebration of the type, featuring electric windows, leather seats, a CD player, ABS and power steering, it also came with British Racing Green paint. It became an instant classic but there are now around only 500 left! Again these are very highly priced.

If you are thinking of buying a Capri, it's wise to buy a 2.0 model to begin with. The 1.6 is too poor performing to consider and most 1.6's have been thrashed. The big engined Capris are a lot of car for your money so are not for the faint hearted! The Capri Mk III 2.8i was 14'8'' long, 5'7'' wide and 4'3'' tall. and weighed 2712lb. It could get from 0-60 in 6.7 seconds. The 3.0 S had the same dimensions, but weighed 2850lb. It could get from 0-60 in 7.3 seconds. A total of 1,886,647 Capris of all makes were built in it's lifetime.

Ford have tried several times to market a replacement for the Capri. The first was the Ford Probe in 1993, which was actually sold as 'A Capri for the 90's'. But sales were poor and the car was plagued with unreliable engines and a cramped interior. It was dropped in 1997. In 1998, the Ford Puma was introduced, the TV ad was a clever take on Bullitt and featured Steve McQueen 'driving' the car! The Capri's design was obvious in the Puma's lines, but the car didn't have the same image. So Ford turned to the Cougar, which was based on the Ford Focus chassis and Mondeo engine, similar to the way the Capri was based on other Fords. The Cougar was a good car and again it was obvious where the design had come from, but most Capri fans rejected it. Ford are now working on the Iosis, a new sporting coupe which they hope will draw Capri fans to it when it's launched.

Rumours abound that Ford have designed a new coupe that they hope will be launched as the new Capri!

Below is a picture of the new Ford Capri Concept.

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Here is the range for the MkIII Capri.

Engine Capacity
Options
Class

Top Speed

1600cc 92bhp@5200rpm
L, Laser
1.6 Pinto

106mph

1998cc 110bhp@5700rpm
Ghia, GL, S, Laser
2.0 Pinto

114mph

2994cc 150bhp@5100rpm
Ghia, S
3.0 Essex

125mph

3098cc 180bhp+@5100rpm

X-Pack

3.1 Essex

133mph

2798cc 162bhp-212bhp@5700rpm
I, IS, 280, Turbo Technics
2.8i Cologne

131-141mph

2798cc 225bhp, 247bhp@5700rpm
Zakspeed, Tickford
2.8i Turbo

150mph+

The Cars featured in the series
 
Bodie drove most of the Capris used in the series, the bronze mk II from the first season was a Ghia model and had an automatic gearbox. This car has recently been restored, it's thought to be back on the road. The Silver Capri Mk III S used in series 2 and 3 is actually 2 different cars, the first one was written off in a crash and the second is still knocking about, turning up at motorshows. Both had tweaked engines increasing the engine size to 3.1 litres! The fourth season Capri is rotting away somewhere which is a shame, but the final season Capri is still on the road and is owned by a Professionals fan.
 
Doyle had an X-Pack special edition Capri MkII 3.1 in the first season, and it is still in existence. He drove a Ford Escort RS2000 in series 2 and 3 This was a rally edition of the Escort and had the same 2.0 engine used in Capris and Cortinas. One RS2000 took British rally star Roger Clark to the World Rally Championship in 1976! The car Doyle drove was thought to have been lost or destroyed, but has recently been found by a Professionals fan. The Capri Doyle used in series 4 has recently been restored, and the final season Capri is owned by the same guy who owns Bodie's season 5 Capri.
 
Sadly all the Granada models that Cowley drove are thought to have been put through the crusher. The Granada was a luxurious and extremely reliable car, mostly driven by young executives. When Murphy joined CI5 in season 4, he drove a turquoise Cortina Mk IV. Bodie also used a blue Cortina Mk IV in the first season. The Mk IV Cortina was never really a good car, and was replaced by the Mk V in 1981 before itself being replaced by the Sierra in 1983.
 
In season 1, before Ford was brought in, C I 5 had to do their work using British Leyland vehicles. Bodie drove a Triumph Dolomite Sprint. One of the only good cars BL ever made, the Sprint was a rival to the Capri and featured the first 16 valve 2.0 engine ever put in a car. Cowley drove an Austin Princess and a Rover SD1 3.5. The Princess was one of the only Austins produced that was a respectable car during the BL era, but the Rover was a futuristic and ambitious car for the time, and is now a much loved classic.

Doyle drove a Triumph TR7 which is one of those cars you either love or hate! The TR7 was the last of the Triumph TR sports cars. It's now a cult classic, but needs constant work to keep them roadworthy. The later ones had the Rover 3.5 engine, but the early ones, like the one mentioned had the same 16v 2.0 engine that the Dolly Sprint had. Doyle also drove a Rover P6, which was the forerunner to the SD1. In later seasons, Bodie and Doyle were sometimes seen using a Triumph 2500 MkII.

The bad guys usually had a Jaguar MkII, an Austin Maxi or a Vauxhall Ventora.

Car
Main Driver
Eps featured
Rover SD1 3500 V8 Automatic. Yellow. MOO 229R
Cowley
Old Dog With New Tricks, Killer With A Long Arm, Where The Jungle Ends
Rover P6 2000 Automatic. Brown. EMK 760J
Doyle
Old Dog With New Tricks, Long Shot
Austin Princess 2200HL Automatic. Red. VLM 60S
Cowley
Private Madness Public Danger, The Female Factor
Triumph TR7 2.0 16V. Blue. OOM 734R
Doyle
Private Madness Public Danger, The Female Factor
Triumph Dolomite Sprint 2.0 16V. White. POK 79R
Bodie
Private Madness Public Danger, The Female Factor, Killer With A Long Arm, Heroes, Where The Jungle Ends, Long Shot

Ford Capri MkII 3.0 Ghia V6 Automatic. Golden bronze. PNO 580R

Bodie

Close Quarters, Everest Was Also Conquered, When The Heat Cools Off, Look After Annie

Ford Capri MkII 3.1 X-Pack V6. Silver. SOO 636R

Doyle

Everest Was Also Conquered, When The Heat Cools Off, Stakeout, Klansmen

Ford Cortina Mk IV 2.0. Blue. PNO 542R

Bodie

Heroes, Everest Was Also Conquered, Stakeout

Ford Granada Mk II 2.0. Yellow. VHK 456S

Cowley

Heroes, Close Quarters, Stakeout, Look After Annie

Ford Capri Mk III 3.1S V6. Silver. UOO 303T

Bodie

Season 2 and Season 3

Ford Escort MkII RS2000 2.0. White. PNO 641T

Doyle

Season 2 and Season 3

Ford Granada Mk II 3.0 Ghia X V6 Automatic. Red. YHJ 766T

Cowley

Season 2 and Season 3

Triumph 2500 Mk II. Dark blue. PNM 565J

Bodie or Doyle

Man Without A Past, Dead Reckoning

Ford Capri Mk III 3.0S V6. Silver. OWC 827W

Bodie

Season 4

Ford Capri Mk III 3.0S V6. Pale gold. OAR 576W

Doyle

Season 4

Ford Granada Mk II 2.8 Ghia V6 Automatic. Black. OWC 822W

Cowley

Season 4

Ford Cortina Mk IV 2.0. Turquoise. MNK 547V

Murphy

The Gun, Blackout, You'll Be Alright, The Ojuka Situation

Ford Capri Mk III 3.1S V6. Silver. VHK 12W

Bodie

Season 5

Ford Capri Mk III 3.0S V6. Dark gold. VHK 11W

Doyle

Season 5

Ford Granada Mk II 2.8 Ghia V6 Automatic. Black. UJN 696W

Cowley

Season 5