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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. 

Taipan – surpassing interest

“It’s merely a passing interest,” insists Selby — despite owning three variants of the classic VW Beetle, including an unusual VW van that was sold as a body kit for a Subaru. In his defence he points to a 1961 Ford Thunderbird, a car that he converted to right-hand drive. However, on the VW side of the ledger, since he opened Allison Autos in Whanganui 27 years ago, Selby has built 15 VW-powered Formula First cars, followed by a beach buggy, restored a derelict Karmann Ghia, and hot-rodded a common or garden Beetle into something that has to be seen to be believed. As speed is not something generally associated with classic VWs, though, Selby is still waiting for this particular modification to catch on amongst the hot rod faithful.

Travelling companion

It’s easy to see why the Morris Minor Traveller was one of the best-loved variants of the Morris Minor. Introduced in 1953, it was equipped with the same independent torsion bar front suspension, drum brakes, and rack and pinion steering as its saloon sibling but, with their foldable rear seat increasing versatility, many Travellers were used as trade vehicles, says Derek Goddard. Derek and Gail Goddard, the owners of this superbly restored example, have run Morris Minors since before they were married in 1974.
“Our honeymoon vehicle was a blue Morris Minor van — it was a rust bucket,” says Derek.