Blog : New Capri? We’ve been here before!

Keith Adams

Ford Evos - Frankfurt 2011
Ford Evos - Frankfurt 2011

Frankfurt IAA 2011. It’s the big show of the year, and home to the European industry’s most important debuts, show cars, and industry tie-ups. Exciting isn’t it?

Yes and no.

It’s great that Land Rover and Jaguar will be showing concept versions of their next new car icons (C-X60 for the XE – new E-type – and DC100 for the Defender 2015), proving that ‘Tatuar Land Tata’ really is serious about turning the nice bits of the artist formerly known as British Leyland into a 21st driving force to blow BMW and Mercedes-Benz out of the water… but there’s a whole lot more going on aside from that.

One thing you’ll hear a lot about, too, is that the Ford Evos concept represents nothing less than the rebirth of the Ford Capri. And why shouldn’t it? During the past decade, some of the greatest 20th century icons have been reborn (with varying degrees of success) have been reborn: just think of the MINI (it started out fantastically, but is now being perverted) and the Fiat 500 (truly astounding now it has that joyous TwinAir engine). So why shouldn’t the same fate befall the Ford Capri?

If any car deserves a sympathetic rebirth in the 2010s, it’s the Capri.

But something troubles me about the Evos. It, er, doesn’t look like a Capri, and shares none of that car’s DNA. It could be argued that this is no bad thing as retro design has now been confined to the dustbin of history (for now), and although the MINI and the lovely little Fiat (goodness, I wish that was a British car, so I could cover it on AROnline) owe a great deal to cars that were born during the 1950s, they’re both modernist in design. Especially the Fiat. And that’s the point – both the MINI and Fiat 500 look modern, and are instantly linked with the cars that donated them their name.

Whereas Evos has no Capri in it as far as I can see.

So, when the magazines and websites start talking about the new Capri, you know that they’re writing in hope for a return for Ford’s great sports car for the people. In truth, it wouldn’t take a lot to give the Evos a Capri flavour: reprofile that rear window, give it a quad-inspired headlamp design and you’re away. It can be done. And for proof of this, you need look no further than Ford’s brilliant (from a styling standpoint) Mustang.

And the thing is, I reckon a ‘classic’ Capri inspired new-gen Capri would fly out of the showroom. Probably, its success would be as tangible as the Probe and Cougar’s failure (two cars that failed to capitalise on their heritage). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Capri fan myself, and would have a Manta (or whisper it, Marina Coupe) over one any day of the week – and Ford was brilliant at being able to market 1.3- and 1.6-litre versions of this repackaged Cortina Mk3 as a sporting car with very little performance. But then, Ford was fantastic at giving the customer what he wanted.

With a new Capri, styled as it should be, I’m pretty sure the company would really regain its mojo.

Call it anything else, and don’t bother influencing it by the past, and it may as well not bother at all…

[Further reading: Ford Capri development history]


Keith Adams


  1. I agree. And the other things that make a Capri are rear-wheel drive and lairyness. So if Ford are thinking of building this as a FWD with traction control it’ll likely be as big a failure as the Probe and Cougar were.

  2. Talking of coupes for the people I was chuffed to see that VW have given the Golf Cabriolet it’s rightful name back!

    It’ll sell again now 😉

    … I get the feeling this Ford is aimed just a little squarely at the Scirocco.

  3. The idea of a new Capri is a great one, but any new car must, must strongly capture the spirit of the original and keep the basic design elements the same, ie rear wheel drive, big capicity engines, long bonnet shape etc.

    The Evos does not shout ‘Capri’ to me.

  4. With my characteristic tedious pedantry, I’ll merely comment that there was lots of Cortina Mk.2 in the 1968-86 European Capri, but very little Mk.3 (the one which got a Vauxhall chassis by mistake), beyond the Pinto engines.

  5. What everyone in the press has ignored is that Ford said, loudly, that the Evos was a coupe because Ford has no coupe in its lineup. Therefore, there would be no guessing game, if it was a four-door sedan, that this was the new Mondeo.I’d take them at their word on this one. Especially since the original “dog bone” grille Capri is the one that resonates loudest, ad this car has none of that car about it.
    However, the Mustang gets a complete re-do for 2014, with new engines, transmissions, and a new chassis. It will spawn a four-door sedan (probably for Lincoln), and a new Capri could come off of it. If — if! — a profitable case can be made for a car for Europe with unique sheet metal and interior. Under the “One Ford” plan, I wouldn’t hold my breath. It’s more likely that a version of the Mustang will be sold globally instead. But at least that car will have IRS instead of a live axle to go along with its new, physically smaller V8, and EcoBoost V6 and four — not to mention the dual-clutch gearbox.

  6. You wish you could cover the Fiat 500? Why not? ‘The Rivals’ is a perfect place? If you can do a 1980’s Alfa, a modern day fiat vs a mini is surely justified! I, for one, would be interested in the story!

  7. Bit bland isn’t it – if you take out the show-car standard gullwing doors. Keith’s right, a new Capri with plenty of styling cues from the old ones, and the same name, would generate masses of interest.

  8. 1. This is a concept car that won’t make it to production.
    2. The Capri will never return as too many in Ford are embarrased by it, even though it was a great seller and even kids of today think its cool – I know ’cause when one turned up in the college car park the kids crowded round it as it it was a super car!
    3. Fiat 500 – no thanks I’d have the Panda which its based on. It has more room, has five doors not three and is cheaper! Why buy the 500 or the KA!

  9. Havent we heard all this reborn Capri hype before with the Probe (reworked Mazda MX6) and Cougar? (saw one the other day). The Capri’s glory days remain in the 70s & 80s and great days they were. Any pretender to the throne would be more advanced and would not/should not identify with the original Capri ideology…

  10. Never understood why the RX8 wasn’t given a retro-Capri reskin and a four-banger/V6 option range. Fantastic chassis, perfect platform, would have boosted production and probably sold like mad. Most people seem to know the RX8 handles well, but don’t want the odd engine.

    In terms of “other people’s reactions”, I think the Capri is one of the cars I’ve had that everyone had an opinion, and most were positive. One of the few Fords I’m really fond of.

    If they want FWD, there’s the Alfa and Scirocco. If they want sophistication, there’s the TT and BMW 1/3/Z coupés. I think only Hyundai has made any noises about a cheap, back to basics RWD coupe other than Toyota’s eternally-delayed thing.

  11. I love the old Capris, owned several in the past, but, I don’t feel the Evos is the modern day version, well not looking at the concept above, I mean it has 4 err doors, OK I know it’s a trick that works well on the RX-8 but even so.
    While no doubt it’ll be tamed down should it ever reach production I don’t think it has the Capri panache, someone said earlier they managed to recreate the Mustang in a modern looking guise, why not the Capri? C’mon Ford, we know you can do it, what’s stopping you???

  12. There are few alternatives.

    “If they want FWD, there’s the Alfa and Scirocco.”

    The Alfa GT and Brera have stopped production.
    The Scirocco looks like a squashed Golf.

    “If they want sophistication, there’s the TT and BMW 1/3/Z coupés.”

    The TT is a bit ‘hairdressery’ for some tastes.
    The 1 looks like a noddy-car, the 3 is a bit common. The Z perhaps, it treads the fine line of looking agressive against looking ‘hairdressery’.

    “I think only Hyundai has made any noises about a cheap, back to basics RWD coupe other than Toyota’s eternally-delayed thing.”

    Hyundai coupe used to look good.
    Toyota used to make 3 coupes – MR2, Supra, Celica.
    Honda used to have 3 coupes – Integra, Accord Coupe, Prelude

    The only mainstream alternatives I can think of are the 407 coupe (to be discontinued) and the Aston-like Laguna (shame about reliability).

  13. Dr Bobby Love: As I understand it, it’s not just the name which thwarted the Eos. Admittedly not a scientific poll but at least one owner I met was scathing about persistent leaks and the unwillingness of either VW or her local dealers to do anything about it.

    Maybe the new one will be better – but is it just me thinks it a bit lacking in style? It looks more like a pick up than a cabriolet even in the adverts.

    Maybe save a few quid and go for this instead?….

  14. ” lovely little Fiat (goodness, I wish that was a British car, so I could cover it on AROnline)”

    Why not? currently the Landing Page has a Volvo at the top of it. This article is about a Ford – Last time i checked they were an American company.

    The Fiat 500 was arguably the Mini’s main competitor, certainly on the continent. Some would say it still is. Actually given the choice between a Cowley built BMW or a Polish built Fiat, i think i’d choose the fiat!

  15. I actually like it. But given Fords recent skill at naming their larger coupes I wouldnt be surprised if this ends up being shipped as the Speculum. Ive not been a fan of their recent offerings bar maybe the SportKa.
    Calling a cross dressed fiesta the ‘Puma’ was really pushing things, especially when, in both looks and ability, the nearest it came to resembling its namesake was something along the lines of a 16 year old puddle of fur after a heart bypass.
    Then theres the Probe, with which the Evos shows marked signs of brotherhood. Nice cars, shame about the gynocological connotations – and like the TR7 it looked fast but really wasnt all that special.

    Id like to see it on the road with minimal changes, but I doubt it’ll happen – I think Fords glory days as regards styling are long passed.

  16. To be fair its the British press who have christened the Evos the new Capri not Ford. In fact Ford claim it is a non model specific concept to show the direction its styling will be going in future. Looks great though and I would have no problem at all if they did launch this and call it Capri.

  17. Thought the Golf cabrio wasn’t directly replacing the Eos? VW have done a good job creating virtually every possible variant out of the Golf floorpan (plus the badge engineered variants)

  18. I have to say that this is the first and only article I’ve read that is saying that this is the ‘new Capri’. It’s setting it up for a fall on that basis alone, which is unfair, as it looks like a fairly decent piece of engineering.

  19. Hilton Davis – True, any new Capri would be a lot more advanced than the original and so in many ways could not identify with it. A more civilised, advanced car would be a move away from the original Capri’s feel, image & appeal.
    However, surely any new Capri still wants to capture as much of the original’s spirit as possible??

    But as somebodyelse has said is the Evos really intended as a possible new Capri anyway?

  20. The Golf rag top might not be directly replacing the Eos.. But it’ll certainly reduce the already low (I’ve only seen 1) sales.

    Golf Cabriolet looks fine? It looks the same as every other cabriolet golf… like a golf with no roof? It’s never been intended to be sporty, has it? Just an open top golf….

  21. @Joerg S – I think there was a plan to make a Mondeo coupe – not sure it was ever intended as a Capri though.

  22. Why do we keep seeing concept cars with ultra-thin seats, and loads of legroom, but still keep being offered cars with over padded seats and cabins with poor rear legroom – surely the tech exists to make a truly slim-line car seat?

  23. @simon.

    Citroen Did it in the original 2CV, can’t get much more slim line that those, a bit of canvas attached to a frame with rubber bands. Well actually you could, you could just lift them out altogether. 😀

    After being ‘forced’ to sit in one, they were surprisingly very comfortable! Not sure they’d go down too well in a car these day though. :p

  24. On first glance it looks absolutely revolting.

    Then, on my second sweep and moving from left to right, it looks exactly the same.

    However, It would make a good remote control car and I would call it the Ford Aston.

  25. Ah… fun times ahead for the mainstream marques…

    First GM-Europe announce a new Calibra and now Ford tease us with a new Capri…

    Now all we need is Hyundai/Kia to buy Saab and do a Tata and this darn recession to pass and it’ll be happy days…

    Only problem with this vision… New Calibra/Capri or Saab 9-3???

  26. had a look
    at this next instalment of the ford range and what a surprise it looks the same as the rest of the range bulky and ugly would never buy a ford again as they all look the same if you take the badge of gone are the day of individual looking cars and designs that spark a bit imagination I would buy a capri any time if they made them look the same with up dated engines’ interiors and rust proof body’s I am even looking at getting an old one as I see the odd one driving about and wished I still had mine as I loved it come back capri all is forgiven

  27. AutoExpress likes to wheel out the “New Capri!” headline on a slow news day, with some new 3 door / coupe concept Ford.

    The thing that bugs me is that car companies show these drop dead gorgeous coupe concepts, then exclaim that they are a “introduction to a new design language”, and put a vaguely similar grille on an SUV/Crossover.

    That’s like putting a supermodel’s nose on Tracey from Viz’s ‘The Fat Slags’

  28. I’m afraid to say, I consider the Capri to be one of the most overrated cars of all time.

    As I recall in most common specs it wasn’t much faster than the Cortina (with which it shared the same engine). The best you could say was that it was slightly more aerodynamic than the Cortina (although this came at the expense of terrible legroom and visibility in the rear seats).

    I think that it sold at all was a tribute Ford’s all conquering marketing in the 70s and 80s..

  29. The Capri was all about the looks and the RWD fun.
    From the sounds of it, with the marketing and product placement, Ford was a 70s/80s Audi/BMW. Would make the Capri the equivalent 3-coupe/A5.
    I wonder if, in 30-40 years time, people are reminiscing about the 3-coupe/A5, and making comparisons that they were just 3-saloon/A4s in a fancy shell.

    Ford are to bring the Mustang to Europe/the UK in a couple of years. Should effectively replace the Capri, as the Capri was a European Mustang. (They did sell it as a Mercury too for a while, but it didn’t catch on. As per most captive imports – mk1 Fiesta, Merkur, Contour(Mondeo). It is only recently that European Fords are doing well in the US).

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