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“The Cortina in Drag” turns fifty

“The Cortina in Drag” turns fifty

Ford Capri XL 1600 GT 1969

Ford Capri XL 1600 GT 1969

In early 1969 Ford introduced the first Capri. Fifty years on and many South African motorists remember the model with great affection.

Ford designed the Capri as a cheaper and more accessible version for global markets of its legendary Mustang. Mechanically it was based on the Mk2 Cortina, and one reviewer for Car magazine in the UK dismissed it as a “Cortina in drag”, but it proved massively popular, selling more than 1.9 million units worldwide before it was phased out in 1986.

The Capri also has a special South African twist to its tale. Basil Green in Johannesburg was a specialist in tuning and adjusting Fords and produced a local high performance Ford Capri Perana as a V6 and, later, in a V8 version. The Basil Green Capri Peranas dominated the South African Saloon Car Racing circuit for several years.

The Basil Green dealership is still selling Fords in Edenvale to this day.

Ford Capri Perana V8

Ford Capri Perana V8

Genuinely old Ford Capris are hard to find and expensive but, for real enthusiasts, there are two good prospects out there on Gumtree.

This one’s on sale in Johannesburg for R40k.

This one’s on sale in Johannesburg for R40k.

And this 3litre V6 gem can be had for R165k in Uitenhage.

And this 3litre V6 gem can be had for R165k in Uitenhage.

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