Can it really be 50 years since Ford took the covers off its stylish Capri coupe?

I guess it must be.

The trouble with that is that I can remember rushing down to our local newsagent to buy my copy of Modern Motor — they always had the best scoops! — to read all about this new European Mustang.

At the time I thought it looked sensational.

And I still do.

Indeed, I envy those who now have one as a classic car.

Back in 1969 it was as close as Ford Australia could come to offering a car that matched Holden’s Monaro for drop dead chic style.

The Capri was first styled in Ford’s American design studios in mid-1965.

According to author Steve Saxty, it was known as Project Colt.

Son of Mustang, get it?

capri - 1969 Ford Capri 7 - Cool Capri the son of Mustang
GBX design proposal . . . note the rear side windows.

Two full-sized fibreglass models were built and shipped to Ford’s UK studios for review.

Saxty says the British design team also developed a proposal, calling it “Flow line”.

The one that caught everyone’s attention however was one of the American designs identified with small GBX badges on its flanks.

The GBX shape would, says Saxty, only change slightly and shrink to European dimensions in the journey from design to driveway.

A major change just 12 months before release was the reshaping of the rear side window from a reverse slant into a “C” shape.

The development story of the Capri is covered in fabulous detail by Steve Saxty in his new book The Cars You Always Promised Yourself.

Steve spoke to many of Ford’s design team who styled the car and other Ford coupes of the era.

Steve himself is a former product planner at Ford.

The legendary Bob Lutz wrote one of the Forewords and Australian motoring writer Mel Nichols edited the 304 page book.

David Burrell is the editor of retroautos.com.au

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Burrell

David Burrell is founder and editor of Retroautos.com.au, a free online classic cars magazine. Dave has a passion for cars and car design. He's also into speedway, which he's been writing about since 1981. His first car was a rusted-out 1961 Vauxhall Velox. His daily driver is a Pontiac Firebird. Prior to starting Retroautos, David was an executive in a Fortune 500 company, working and living in Australia, NZ, Asia, Latin America and the UK.