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Early Impressions: Mark 3 Ford Capri

September 1, 2012 by Matt

European British Ford Capri Mark 3 III Mk3 Blue Gray Grey

The year was 1988. I was 9 years old, living in southern France with my family. A third grader, I took the bus home from school every day with my best friend Timothy.

By some incredible chance, the house in which we were living was situated directly across the street from one occupied by a British family, with boys whose ages corresponded almost exactly to those of my brothers and me. Not only that, but our interests were nearly identical as well, so Timothy and were inseparable for the 2 and a half years we lived in France.

One day, though, we didn’t take the bus home. Timothy’s uncle was visiting from the UK, and instead of flying, he decided to drive his late-model Mark 3 Ford Capri, and that afternoon, picked us up from school in it.

European British Ford Capri Mark 3 III Mk3 Silver

It was low and rakish. I did like cars, to the point of having the requisite white Lamborghini Countach poster on my wall, but didn’t know much about “lesser” vehicles like the Capri. Still, I liked what I saw. Crammed in the back seat with Timothy on the way home, I remember being mildly amused by the fact the steering wheel was on the right side (this being my first ride in a British car), and beyond that, by the size of the wheel. It may be an odd thing to stick in one’s mind, but the one thing that stood out was how incredibly small it was. Beyond the car’s external shape, that steering wheel communicated an undeniable sportiness, as impractical as it must have been, and made an impression on me.

European British Ford Capri Mark 3 III Mk3 Interior Inside Cockpit Console Dash Dashboard

I’m still slightly jealous that Europe got multiple generations of the Capri while we here in the US had to make do with pony cars like the Smokey and the Bandit Firebird and the Fox body Mustang. Ours were worthwhile in a straight line, but profoundly crude with respect to handling. The Capri, on the other hand, possessed a remarkable amount of cornering sophistication, low (~2,500 lb) weight and a whole host of engine options, ranging from a miserly 1.3l 4-banger to a 185-hp 2.8l turbocharged V6. Sure, it still sported a live axle out back and it was rough around the edges compared to its pricier rivals, but its priorities were in the right place, and for that, I wish my memory of it hadn’t been isolated to my time in France.

Filed under: Car Stories, Ford

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