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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. 

Fear and loathing the blue oval – part one

The slogan went something like ‘There’s a Ford in your future’. ‘Bugger off!’ were always the words that sprung to my mind. Ford and I have never really got on in the manner of many of my friends, so I’d say my relationship to the brand was distant. The accelerating blur of passing time has helpfully blanketed memories of a few Ford encounters which I probably wanted to forget but I have to admit, now I look at them, they are re-appearing through the mists of time. What comes to mind more readily, to quote some uncharitable wit, is that the letters Ford could stand for ‘fix or repair daily’. Still, I have to ’fess up, there were several Fords in my past.

Class struggle

For a British car, it is huge; for those sitting inside, the bonnet seems to extend past the horizon. The front seats are very comfortable rather than body hugging. The dashboard and centre console cluster are beautifully laid out, reminiscent of a fighter plane cockpit, with acres of red leather all around. Its V8 burble is on show. It is not a car to sneak about in, and it gets attention wherever it goes.
The large back window, possibly the best-known feature of the Interceptor and one that sets it apart, has very good functionality, allowing greater access to the boot. It would not be an easy job to replace it, so Interceptor owners are careful about reversing and not hitting anything.