Best car ever? Don't give me the Citroen DS. It's the Ford Capri every time
PUBLISHED: 13:54 03 May 2019 | UPDATED: 13:54 03 May 2019
Mark Murphy has heartfelt memories of his days as a budding Bodie and Doyle
I was heartbroken this week to learn the fate of the coolest car I've ever owned, my mark 1 Ford Capri 1600 GT, registration number PRB 695 M.
We were talking on my BBC Radio Suffolk Breakfast Show about a survey of readers to a well-known car magazine which asked them to vote for the coolest car ever.
They came up with the Citroen DS (1955-75). The French built car from more than 50 years ago beat the likes of the Jaguar E Type, the Mini and the Porsche 911.
I've always thought they looked nothing like a car, drove like a boat floating down a river and, as an ex car mechanic, a nightmare to work on! Hey each to their own but is a Citroen cooler than an Aston Martin or a Lotus Esprit? I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
The Ford Capri only came in at number 18 but it's a car I've loved so much over the years. I think it comes from watching the Professionals with Martin Shaw and Lewis Collins who drove a Capri 2.0 litre S and an Escort RS 2000, I always fancied myself as a Bodie or Doyle.
Those cars were so cool, especially the Capri with its long bonnet, sports wheels, rear spoiler and sunroof.
I eventually bought my much cherished Capri in the early 1980s and despite being a few years old it was in immaculate condition.
It was white with a black vinyl roof. I'm still not sure why we wrapped our car roofs with vinyl but we did, it's a bit like putting a fluffy cover on your toilet seat, why?
Anyway, back to my lovely Capri. It was a 1600 GT and went like stink. Driving it I felt like Bodie but probably looked more like DelBoy from only Fools and Horses, who famously drove his lime green “CapriGhia”.
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It had all the accessories of the time, front fog lamps and spotlights. Fluffy dice go faster stripes, a stick on sun visor and Colonel Bogey air horn. It had proper 1980s class which today sounds naff but then the world was very different.
I had a CB Radio and would often sit outside the “Finger Lickin, by the cross in the sky” chatting to other users. Happy days!
Eventually I swapped it for a newer model, a mark 2 Capri 2.0 Ghia and then a mark 3 which was a 3.0 litre Ghia. They were nice cars but not a patch on the original.
I often wondered what happened to it and I've always kept an eye out for it over the years. This week on my radio show I found what had happened to my lovely car.
A listener called in and told me how he'd owned it after me in the late 1980s.
The engine had blown up and it had been sprayed very badly in black. Trouble was under the bonnet, in the boot and inside the doors it was still white!
Basically my pride and joy had been wrecked. My listener sold it a short time later and he last saw it going sideways at speed around a corner on a council estate in Ipswich.
I was heartbroken. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but now I wish I'd had the foresight to take it off the road and lock it up in a garage for few decades. What would it be worth today? With the 1980s accessories, it would certainly turn some heads.
I wonder how many of us look back at a special car we've owned and wish we'd kept it.
Tomorrow it's the Ipswich to Felixstowe historic vehicle rally and no doubt there will be some amazing cars on display.
If only I could predict today what will become a classic car of the future, I'd buy one and lock it in my garage for a few years!