Monday 5th March 1973
The Ford Capri II (Mk2) made its world premiers at the Geneva Motor Show. After 1.2 million cars sold, and with the 1973 oil crisis, Ford chose to make the new car more suited to everyday driving with a shorter bonnet, larger cabin and the adoption of a hatchback rear door (accessing a 630-litre boot). This made it the first Ford to feature a hatchback, at a time when the hatchback was becoming increasingly popular in Europe after first being patented by Renault in the mid-1960s. By the standards of the mid 1970s, the Capri II was a very well evolved vehicle with very few reliability issues. For Germany the Capri now offered 1.3-litre (55 PS (40 kW)), 1.6-litre (72 PS (53 kW)), 1.6-litre GT (88 PS (65 kW)), or 2.0-litre (99 PS (73 kW)) in-line four-cylinder engines, complemented by a 2.3-litre V6 (108 PS (79 kW)) and the UK sourced 3.0-litre V6 with (140 PS (103 kW)), available with either a four-speed Ford Type 5 manual transmission or one of Ford’s new C3 three-speed automatic transmissions available on all models except the 1.3, the C3 automatic transmission proved to be a very popular option among Ghia buyers, therefore it became standard on all Ghia models after the 1976 model year and the four-speed manual transmission became optional.
Although it was mechanically similar to the Mark I, the Capri II had a revised, larger body and a more modern dashboard and a smaller steering wheel. The 2.0 L version of the Pinto engine was introduced in the European model and was placed below the 2.3 litre V6 and the 3.0 litre V6. The Capri still maintained the large rectangular headlights, which became the easiest way to distinguish between a Mark II and a Mark III. Larger front disc brakes, a standard alternator and a front air-dam on all S models finished the list of modifications.
Sales of the Capri continued in Japan as it remained compliant with Japanese government dimension regulations, but sales were not as successful as the previous generation.
Ford introduced the John Player Special limited edition, (known as the JPS) in March 1975. Available only in black or white, the JPS featured yards of gold pinstriping to mimic the Formula 1 livery, gold-coloured wheels, and a bespoke upgraded interior of beige cloth and carpet trimmed with black. In May 1976, and with sales decreasing, the intermediate 3.0 GT models disappeared to give way for the upscale 3.0 S and Ghia designations. In October 1976, the only UK plant producing Capris, Ford’s Halewood plant stopped production, and all production of the Capri was moved to the Cologne and Saarlouis factories in Germany, and the Genk factory in Belgium.
1977 was the last year that Capris were made for the US market with 513.500 cars sold in the year.