Capri

THE CRAYFORD CAPRI

Ford launched the all new Capri in January 1969, aimed at the young market, it was clearly a downsized Ford Mustang, Ford hoped to equal the runaway success that the pony car had enjoined in America, with the Capri in Europe. It was launched with a massive TV and press campaign on the theme that it was, “ the car you always promised yourself'

But by October 16th 1969 Motor Magazine announced Crayford had produced, in time for the Motor Show, the Capri convertible, the car you really, really promised yourself. It was to be, exact in Crayford terms, not a convertible but a Cabriolet, using a luxury hood that had a full internal wool headlining. It was priced from £1,849 for the 1300cc up to £2,421 for a 3000E V6 convertible, at a time when an E type was just over £2000. But it sold well through its Bristol Street Motors franchise, BSM even produced a flower power hippy style brochure for its “Freedom Capri"

For once Crayford had some direct competition as three Capri convertibles where now being produced, all different and with their own plus and minus points.

The Crayford Capri was easily the most successful with 37 documented sales. All the cars where built under licence by Crayford’s partner in Germany, Deutsch of Cologne. Cars went out, 2 each Friday, as saloons and back each Monday as Crayford’s. Crayford did an extensive redesign to the rear deck to make it completely flat, but left the door window frames in place on cost grounds, for many it was the best looking of the three conversions.

Abbotts of Farnham, well known for its Ford Corsair & Consul/Zephyr/Zodiac estates, also built a Capri convertible. Not so pretty as the Crayford, it had no redesign to the rear deck, you could still see the rear buttresses, but it did have wind up rear quarter-light glass making a lighter car with the hood up, Abbotts also took out the front window frame. Orders for 50 cars had been received but unfortunately Abbotts were in financial trouble, they only made and sold 7 cars before the company collapsed and ceased trading.

 

A third Capri design was commissioned directly by Ford chairman (1968-72) Sir Leonard Crossland, he wanted one for himself and had Carbodies of Coventry build a white car with a white power hood, operated electrically. It was road tested by Jackie Stewart and within a week Sir Leonard was on the phone from Ford asking for a second car to be built as the first car had been written off (rumoured to be his wife while out shopping). A second car was built and delivered, but Ford accountants declined to go forward with the project as it was deemed too costly to make any profits. Unfortunately, car No. 2 may have been ordered crushed for tax reasons.

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