Ford Capri made its international public debut in January 1969 at the Brussels Motor Show. Ford had great success in North America with the Ford Mustang, and Capri was Ford’s answer to recreate that success in Europe. Originally Ford planned to name the car Colt, but as Mitsubishi had taken that name, the new car was named Ford Capri. The sales of the Ford Capri started in February 1969.
Technically Ford Capri was based on the Cortina, but was offered with a wide range of engine choices. The British and German factories produced different engine line-ups. The British versions were powered by the Ford Kent 1.3- and 1.6-litres versions. The 2.0-litre Essex V4 engine was the top of the range. At the end of the year a new sport version was added to the line-up. Ford Capri 3000 GT was powered by 138 horsepower V6 engine.
In Germany, Ford Capri was offered with five engine choices at the launch; Capri 1300, Capri 1500, Capri 1700 GT, Capri 2000 and Capri 2300 GT. These engines offered a power range from 50 to 108 hp. Depending on the version, acceleration from zero to hundred took 10,8 to 22,7 seconds. Top speed was 133-178 km/h. A new Ford Capri 2300 GT was introduced in the fall of 1969. With the new engine, producing 125 horsepower, the new Ford Capri 2300 GT could sprint from zero to hundred in 9,8 seconds and reach a top speed of 190 km/h. In addition to the standard four-speed manual gearbox, Ford Capri was also offered with a three-speed automatic transmission. The chassis technology was mostly borrowed from the Ford Taunus. Ford Capri had McPherson strut suspension at front and rigid axle with leaf springs at rear.
Ford Capri was updated for the model year 1973. The car received a revised suspension settings, new headlights, large rear lights and interior improvements. The engine range was also updated and previously UK-only 3000 GT, with 140 hp 3.0-litre V6, joined the German lineup. 1973 was the last year when the first generation Ford Capri was manufactured. It was also the most successful year for Capri. Total of over one million first generation Ford Capris were manufactured between 1969 and 1973.