Ford Capri III
In 1974 Ford Europe released the upgraded MkII version of the very successful Capri, the concept remained the same but the looks were brought right up to date and the car was made much more usable and economical, in 1978 it received a further facelift, retaining the same body shell but adding some new styling touches, including replacing the large rectangular headlamps with twin round headlamps. The MkIII never recaptured the success of the earlier versions as sales faded in favour of hot hatch versions of the Fiesta, Escort and Sierra. It was deleted in 1986 after having been removed from all markets except the UK where it retained a very strong following.
Corgi Toys jumped straight from the Mk1 Capri to the Capri III releasing the first version based on the Professionals TV series (342) in February 1980. This car was deleted in 1983 but returned twice under post-Mettoy management in 1999 and 2002. In March 1980 a civilian version was released in bright yellow (343), this car was withdrawn in 1981. It had another run-out in June 1982 (312). This one is described in The Great Book of Corgi Pocket Book as white, in rally livery. It is actually Andy Rouse's British Touring Car Championship car from 1981 with Juicy Jeans and Daily Mirror sponsorship.
The last hurrah for the Capri III was in 2002 when it featured in the Only Fools and Horses set as Boycie's Capri - I wonder why they never did Terry McCann's Capri from Minder? They could have done a lovely two piece set with Arthur Daley's Jag. I'm beginning to see why the UK market was so fond of this car - it was never off the telly.
For those of you outside the UK or who are too young to remember; The Professionals was a good old 1970ís thick-ear drama series about a small unit of extraordinarily violent special government agents, reporting to the Scottish butler from Upstairs Downstairs, who every week chased villains in their Capri and their Triumph Dolomite Sprint, knocking over piles of cardboard boxes as they did so. You always knew that if the baddie was driving a clapped out (cheap) Vauxhall Ventora that there was going to be a big crash at the end. Endless repeats on cable TV have of course introduced new audiences to this fine show.
The Corgi Toys Professionals' Capri (1980 to 1983) was supplied it with plastic figures of the two agents; Bodie & Doyle and their boss Cowley played by Gordon Jackson. It is not a commonly found item and is very much sought after. If you want one you will have to be prepared to shell out some serious cash I'm afraid. I sold the one below in 2021 for £76 and the box is not that great.
The later re-releases under Corgi Classics are still a pricey items, but not as much as one of the originals. With the second release (1999) the Cowley figure was omitted and the other two were remodelled, made of white metal rather than plastic and not put into quite such odd poses. The third release (2002) has no figures.
Both Mettoy and post-Mettoy releases use the same casting for the Capri with detail differences between them - the re-release has more detailing, like number plates, orange turn indicators and black window surrounds and the wheels are different.
|Mettoy Era Releases|
|Corgi Toys 342; Ford Capri MkIII 3.0S; The Professionals||Corgi Toys 343; Ford Capri MkIII 3.0S, Yellow||Corgi Toys 312; Ford Capri MkIII; 1981 BTCC; Andy Rouse; RN6, Juicy Jeans|
|Corgi 57401; The Professionals Ford Capri 3.0S; Silver, With Figures||Corgi CC00401; The Professionals Ford Capri 3.0S; Silver, No Figures||Corgi CC99111; Only Fools & Horses Capri & Reliant Set; Del Boy's Reliant Van & Boycie's Capri|