Ford Counsul Capri

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Capri is the loveliest of English cars. Luxurious and very well appointed. Goes very fast. Twin headlamps and disc brakes. 5-bearing crankshaft 1500 c.c. engine. 4-speed all-synchromesh gear box. Lubrication for life. Twice a year servicing. And tremendous flair!
— Ford of Britain

Isn't that the best advertising copy? 

Ford Counsul Classic Coupe

It's just about as good as they could make it, considering the Counsul Capri was just a Ford Counsul Classic in drag. 

Don't know that one? Well, the styling cues dictated by Ford in the U.S. to their UK operation were simple: Ford Galaxie beltline and 1958 Lincoln Continental roofline—complete with reverse-rake. 

So it looked like a mid-sized Ford Anglia…

Project Sunbird was to take the Galaxie beltline and meld it with the look and feel of a Ford Thunderbird—a personal car for "co-respondents," according to the Ford sales director, Sir Horace Denne. 

The Counsul Classic already had a 2-door coupe version, so there was room in the range to create more of a personal luxury coupe, like a slightly larger Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.

To get the body made, they turned to the Pressed Steel Company, then the largest manufacturer of body panels—by 1965 employing more than 25,000 workers and cranking out bodywork mostly for the British Motor Corporation.

It was expensive enough to make the complicated pressings for the Counsul Classic, and so with price, manufacturing, and time demands from Ford USA looming it's no surprise that the Counsul Capri was introduced in 1961 and was dead by 1964.

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It was all about the features, though, with four headlights, variable speed wipers, big front disk brakes, dimming dashboard lights, and cigarette lighter. 

You could get only a manual transmission, with the choice of column or floor shift!

In terms of performance, it sucked. The standard car had 1340cc of four-cylinder performance, with what's said to be about 60 horsepower.

If only they made a Cosworth version…

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Well, folks, you're in luck. Fitted with the 1498cc 4-cylinder engine that was destined for the Cortina GT, the Cosworth-massaged engine featured a first-British-car-to-have-one twin-choke Weber carburetor, 9:1 compression ratio, aluminum inlet manifold, and other tweaks.

This gave 78 horsepower and a top speed of 152 km/h (95 mph).

Of course, this is the version you want…

18,716 Counsul Capris were made, including only 2002 Counsul Capri GTs. In 1964, the Counsul Classic and Capri were replaced by the Ford Corsair—another British Ford with styling dictated from across the pond.


Sources / Recommended reading