Close this search box.

Looking back to 1969 – The Ford Capri launch in UK Autocar January 1969

10 November, 2020



NZ Classic Car magazine readers often donate boxes of car magazines from the 50s, 60s and 70s from their garages for our own archives.
Here’s an occasional look inside a magazine chosen at random from our collection. Let’s look at what treasures the weekly UK Autocar issue from January 23rd, 1969 has for us – cover price, 2s/6p.

The big, big news this issue is the brand new Ford Capri, launched on this day in the UK. This issue of the magazine took the bold step of going on sale a day late this week so their cover strap could coincide with the launch “Out today, new Ford Capri”.
There’s 10 pages of coverage including a road test in Cyprus and an in depth look at the new 4-valve per cylinder, Ford Cosworth BDA engine. This exciting new engine was going to find its way into 100 of the new Capris before committing to volume production in the Autumn of 1970.
There is also a visit to the 1969 Brussels Car show where there were “Few novelties but plenty to see”.
Our own Eion Young’s Straight from the grid column had a small paragraph on how “New Zealanders have been making their presence felt on Grand Prix race tracks for a while” and even a report from Eion on the Lady Wigram trophy that year where Lotus finished first and second. Jochen Rindt won by a “handsome 2.6 seconds”.
There’s a good fun article about enjoying some off road thrills in a Saab 96 V4, and the Autotest this issue is the basic 1599cc Vauxhall Victor. Quite an in depth test and spec report. 

Motorsport Flashback – Kiwi rallying in the 1970s

Rallying arrived in New Zealand in 1973 like a tsunami. It had been only a few years since the sport was introduced here and shortly afterwards Heatway came on board as the sponsor to take rallying to a new level. The 1973 Heatway would be the longest and biggest yet, running in both islands with 120 drivers over eight days and covering some 5400 kilometres. The winner was 31-year-old Hannu Mikkola — a genuine Flying Finn who had been rallying since 1963 before putting any thoughts of a career on hold until he completed an economics degree. The likeable Finn became an instant hero to many attracted to this new motor sport thing. I was one of them.

Think of it as a four-door Cooper

New Zealand Mini Owners Club coordinator Josh Kelly of Dunedin loves his Minis. It’s a family affair. Julie and Mike, Josh’s mum and dad, are just as keen, and they can usually all be found taking part in the club’s annual ‘Goodbye, Pork Pie’ charity run from the North of the country to the South.
But lately Josh’s young head has been turned by some other revolutionary BMC cars. He has picked up a couple of Austin and Morris 1100 and 1300s, which he started to restore — that was until an opportunity arose to buy a rare example stored in a shed.