Searching for the Ford Capri

We’re going on another tour through the photo survey this week but not down a single street. The photo survey pictures were taken by John Rogers between 1969 and 1975, mostly in 1970 and 1971. That’s a few years before my brief time working in the motor trade. I worked cleaning new cars for a garage that had a British Leyland franchise. Some of you who remember the 1970s may remember how awful British Leyland cars were then – the Allegro, the Marina and above all the Princess a car so awful it has been almost obliterated by history. Occasionally my sales manager Bob would acquire a Ford for one of his special customers and we would both welcome these examples of decent automotive technology with some relief. There were Escorts and the new mark 4 Cortina but our favourites were the Granada and the Capri, both genuine classics hallowed by their appearances on TV in the Sweeney and the Professionals. I stand very little chance of finding a Granada in the photo survey pictures (they first came out in 1972) but I might just find a Capri.

So where do you look for a car?

Brompton place harrods park

A garage is one place to start. This is one of those garages a few of you may remember where they stack the cars neatly but you don’t have instant access. Most of these cars looked pretty old even in 1970. In terms of design it was a transitional period (but aren’t they all?) between the staid fifties cars like that Rover you can see, the watered down versions of American designs and the hatched-backed days to come.

Brompton place harrods park 1970...corsair

That’s a Ford Corsair on the left, with its odd pointed nose. Before we leave can I just invite any car enthusiasts to identify any of the cars in these pictures? There was a time when I could have done that but it was thirty odd years ago. I’m not really a car person. I don’t even drive. I just found myself around car people and got interested. Let’s get outside. See where we were?

Brompton place south side

Here’s another Ford:

Addison Avenue 34-36 east side 1970 KS760 anglia

But it’s only a lowly Anglia already fairly low on the meter of desirability even by 1970. What’s the one behind it? Addison Avenue must have been a quiet street. Just off it was Addison Place, a strange little converted mews kind of a street overlooked by Campden Hill Towers.

Addison Place 15-173 south side 1970 KS924

And that car in the foreground would I think be a Ford Consul, the fifties styled precursor of the Granada.

Addison Place 21-23 south side 1970 KS923

Not all of the British Leyland marques were hideous. That’s a Triumph Spitfire , a traditional British sports car. Other mews streets were full of cars.

Ledbury Mews North  north side 1972 KS3651

Amid the old style cars in this back street of garages an expensive looking sports car, probably Italian. The odd thing I sometimes think is that expensive sports cars still look like that decades later as if that low wide look is the optimum shape.

Ledbury Mews West  south side 1972 KS2267

The mews streets used to be filled with small garages servicing cars. Note the sign: Barclaycard Welcome – something of a novelty then.

Linden Gardens looking north 1973 KS3714 mini moke

A 60s novelty the Mini Moke parked in Linden Gardens. In the same street the opposite of a Mini Moke:

Linden Gardens 14-16 south side  1973 KS3729

It’s also a Ford, a 60s American model, but I can’t make out the word on the side. I’m sure someone can help me out with that. Below a home grown model:

christchurch street west side 1974 KS 4479 cortina mk3

The Mark 3 Cortina parked in Christchurch Street. A bit of a classic itself. Nearby another puzzle for you:

Caversham street east side, 1974 KS 4058

I should know what this is, it looks so familiar. Someone tell me (No, not the mini.)

The first sighting of our quarry is back at the other end of the Borough in Clarendon Road.

Clarendon Road 121-123 west side 1971 KS1155 capri mk1

The slightly cluttered styling of the Mark 1 Capri. And having found that one I came across another down in Earls Court.

Barkston Gardens KS5784 left 41-43 and KS5787 53 right nd capri mk1

Is that guy in the window coming back to close the boot?

In the very same street a Mark 2, at last an example of the car that sat in my cleaning bay in Poland Street.

Barkston Gardens KS5792 nd capri mk2

There it is by the fence. For me the Mark 2 Capri represents the mid seventies like no other car, better than the high performance cars of the era. Seeing it in this picture reminds me of a time when the traffic was lighter, the cars were serviced in back streets and the Ford Capri was exciting and glamorous, if you can imagine such a time.


As I said above if you can identify any of the other vehicles in these pictures or you have to correct any inadvertent errors of mine, please leave a comment.

19 responses to “Searching for the Ford Capri

  • William

    It is interesting to look back at the great variation of cars of that period captured in the images. Although I still cannot really fathom how we managed to achieve the disastrous transition to the Seventies (Marina etc.), it revives great memories looking back at the Capri. I was 17 when they were introduced (go figure). And mews I love! Always a good subject for photos. As for the other cars I definitely see one of interest in the seventh photo. Just to the rear left of the Italian sports car. One of the Rootes Group Audax range (Hillman Minx/Sunbeam Rapier/Singer Gazelle), I can’t tell which of those it is though. Going by the lovely two-tone paintjob, my guess is that it could be the Sunbeam Rapier IIIA.

    I also noticed a Hillman Imp parked in front of the Mini Moke.

    Also a thank you is in order for this really very interesting blog.

    • Dave Walker

      Thanks for your comment. As I said in the post the date of the photos made it unlikely that I’d find a Granada but I was pleased to get some Capris/ I’ll keep looking. Also missing were any pictures of Dalgarno Gardens where at one point in the late seventies you could see a collection of Jaguars parked, owned by a local resident. Does anyone remember that?

  • Jamie Davis

    In photo 1, I believe the four cars facing the camera in the centre of the picture are, from L-R, a Volvo from the 140 Series, A Ford Cortina Mk I, a Jensen Interceptor and a Rover P5.

    In photo 5, I think the car behind the Consul is a Ford Prefect 107E.

    In photo 6 I believe the Triumph is a Spitfire Mk III.

    In photo 7, the car nearest the camera is a Sunbeam Rapier.

    In photo 8, the white car on the right is a Hillman New Minx. The car behind it, partially obscured, is a Ford Cortina Mk II.

    In photo 9, the car in front of the Moke is almost certainly a Hillman Imp.

    In photo 10, I believe the American car to be a Ford Galaxie 500 Convertible.

    In the final photo, the car behind the Capri is a Morris Marina. The car on the right of picture is an Opel Manta B1.

  • Jamie Davis

    As a long-shot, the Italian sportscar in photo 7 MIGHT be a De Tomaso Mangusta, that’s had it’s numberplate moved on to the grille, rather than having it underneath. The car certainly looks a very similar profile and headlight configuration to a Mangusta.

  • roho

    The car behing the Anglia in Pic # 4 looks like a Humber Super Snipe

  • roho

    I’d say the high rise building in the background of pic 5 is Norland House

    • Dave Walker

      Thanks for your comment. Now that I’ve taken another look at Campden Hill Tower (which was featured in the recent post on the water tower) it does look slightly different so you’re probably right. Addison Place is a bit of an obscure spot for me so I may have got the orientation wrong. corrections are always welcome.
      I seem to recall a mini-cab ride in a Snipe. The driver spoke highly of his car. Was it a bit of a prestige item?

      • Michael Hollamby

        I think the tower block behind the Addison Place mews in picture 5 is probably not Campden Hill Towers,but is the one on the Edward Woods Estate just off St Ann`s Villas,so the photograph is taken looking Westward along the mews from the Addison Avenue end of it.

  • roho

    Hi Dave. From memory the Snipe was a luxury car. Along with the Rover 3.5 litre of the same period I’d say these cars would have rated just below the famous Jaguar Mk 2 on the scale of desirability.
    I’ve enjoyed your “photo show” immensely. It’s been a unique way of taking a trip back in time. Thanks for your dedication & hard work. I hope we see many more photographs on the “Time Machine” bog.

  • Rob

    I think the car in the picture outside Caversham Flats (pic 12) might be a Pontiac Firebird (’70 – ’72 model).

  • Nige Ryan

    I believe the unidentified Italian exotica in pic 7 to be a Lamborghini Espada

  • Bernard Taylor

    Your very first picture has a Mk.1 Capri in it: it’s parked behind the big Rover P5, part hidden by the Jensen Interceptor.
    The last picture must have been taken rather later as the Manta is R reg (1st August1976 to 31st July 1977).

  • Robert Bruce

    Definitely a de Tomaso Mangusta. Made in Italy incorporating American V8 running gear.

  • Peter Miles

    Just to fill-in some of the details.

    Yes that is a Humber super snipe and the lovely car; my father had one and I did drive it. The car behind looks like a Wolsey and a Rover p100 in the foreground.

    The cars in the garage on the upper level (l to r) Ford Classic, Ford Consul, Austin 1100, MG GB, Ford Lotus Cortina, Triumph 1500, Triumph Herald, Hillman Hunter.

    the 7th photo with the Rapier (I owned one of these), also shows a Peugeot on the far right.

    the 8th photo has a white Mk2 Cortina behind a Hunter.

    Your final photo has a Marina fastback behind the Capri, with a Triumph pulling out. On the right is an Opel Manta with a Volvo estate behind it. Another Peugeot on the left behind the Spitfire.

    I liked my cars of the sixties!


  • Rich

    70 on Chevy Camaro and the exotic looks to be a De Tomaso Mangusta.

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