Modern Classic: Ford Capri


Photography: Influx/Magneto

“I couldn’t afford a Mustang”, says 26-year-old Capri owner Pete Wallwork from Truro, Cornwall. I had asked the bike mechanic, BMX rider, barber and photographer the obvious question. Why would a young gun be attracted to a Dagenham bred pastiche of American Muscle from the eighties?

“I am actually really into American muscle cars, but there’s something unique about the Capri that is just as interesting, for me at least. There’s nothing like it in terms of British cars. There’s something about its shape, it’s attitude that just appeals to me.”

For a young man, Pete has surprising experience of the hero of stylish blue-collar motoring. “I bought my first Capri for £200 when I was 17. It was a 2.0 litre S and it was just rotting in someone’s front garden so I took it off his hands.” Like many young lovers of old cars, the lust for a particular flavour of steel and grease came through the family thread. “My granddad always had Fords, and was always tinkering away with bits and pieces in his yard. So it’s not surprising that I would go for something like a Capri in the end.”

Pet’s current ride, a 1986 Mk 3, has its own character in itself. Its various modifications and stylistic tweaks produce a suitably badass aspect. “ I’ve never had so many people turn their heads and take notice. When I drive through town we get a lot of attention.“

The exhaust note probably has something to do with it. “The engine is actually a ‘Pinto’ two-litre bored out to 2.1. It’s got twin 45 Webers and an upgraded ‘beast’ exhaust, too.” The result of these wholly appropriate modifications is a car that sounds properly strong and heavy, rather than all mouth-no trousers bark.

“She drives really nicely, with the combination of the engine and the rear axle from a 2.8i”. So what you see is genuine rarity in the big picture of British motoring. A mini GT that feels as if it’s meant to be driven over long distances, with real enthusiasm.

And the styling of this car reflects the visceral nature of its guts. Flared arches, clean black paintjob and slot mags complete the picture perfectly. “The car was actually originally a laser in white,”, Pete goes on, “ it came with the RS x-pack, factory produced fibreglass arches. They wed to the steel beautifully.” That grille is from an earlier version of the car too,. Pete thinks it’s from a late MK1, but can’t be sure. Opinions anyone?

But whatever the hotch-potch of the car’s elements, it retains its pure bred DNA, that of a aspirational hang-dog, an Essex reared mongrel that pops its collar and never hides its light beneath a bushel. And that’s why we like Pete’s Capri.