Top 10

Gavin’s top 10 fast Fords

A serial Capri owner, contributor Gavin Braithwaite-Smith picks out his favourite fast Fords from history.
11

Ford Capri 1.6 Laser

Look, a Capri 1.6 Laser feels like a rocket when you’re trading up from a Vauxhall Viva 1200 Deluxe automatic. I was 18, the Lacquer Red Capri was my third car (the fourth if you include the Saab 95 V4 I bought when I was 16), and it was everything to me. Crucially, it looked like the 2.8i I used to see on my walk to school.
22

Ford Capri 2.8 Injection Special

I’ve owned three 2.8s: a ropey four-speed on an X-plate, a dodgy 2.8i Special and a one-previous-owner 280. The fact that I sold the Capri 280 before values went into orbit still haunts my nights, but that’s not the reason why I’m choosing a regular 2.8i over the 280. To a child who grew up in the 1980s, this is peak Capri.
33

Ford Fiesta ST

Believe the hype. The Ford Fiesta ST is the Peugeot 205 GTi for a new generation: fast, fun and affordable. I had one on test when duty called me to a new car launch in North Wales. I can’t remember the car I was sent to review, but I recall the Fiesta with real fondess. One section of road sticks in my head: a near-empty A438 west of Hay-on-Wye. Magic.
Ford Sport Ka.Ford Sport Ka.

Ford SportKa

I used to look forward to leaving my Capris at the Ford specialist because it meant I’d have access to a Ford Ka for the day. A brilliant city car that needs to be preserved (and rust-proofed) for future generations. There are better junior hot hatches than the SportKa, but I love the way it looks and drives.
110707-088-for110707-088-for

Ford Probe 24v

Yes, yes, yes, I know there are many reasons why I shouldn’t love the Ford Probe, but I do. Whisper this, but I’d prefer a Probe 24v to a Ford Mustang. I’ll leave my fast Ford badge at the door on the way out.
66

Ford Focus 1.6 Zetec

I was underwhelmed by my Ford Focus ST170, but popular opinion would suggest I’m in the minority. The original Ford Focus 1.6 Zetec is a different story. This would be my recommendation for anyone looking for a driver’s car on a budget. The steering, gearchange and handling are spot on, while the 1.6-litre engine delivers just enough performance to entertain.
77

Ford Puma 1.7

Was it the Steve McQueen television advert or Tiff Needell’s hooligan antics while naming it Top Gear’s Car of the Year in 1997? Either way, I knew I fancied a Ford Puma, so I bought a new one in 2001. In my head, the deal was done by the time I had circumnavigated the roundabout outside the Ford showroom. Not that I told the salesman.
Ford Racing Puma.Ford Racing Puma.

Ford Racing Puma

My love affair with the Puma 1.7 was over too soon, because my head was turned by something racier. If this all sounds a bit Mills & Boon, let’s just say that the Racing Puma remains the best front-wheel drive car I’ve had the pleasure of driving. The grip, the handling, the Sparco seats, the gearchange, the sound of the exhaust – I remember this car like it was yesterday. One of Ford’s all-time greats.
99

Ford Lotus Cortina Mk1

Unlike Richard Heseltine, I haven’t had the pleasure of driving a Ford Lotus Cortina. Given the car’s rarity and value, I’m not sure I ever will. There was a time when my bedroom wall was coated in photos of the Lotus Cortina; I just loved the idea of a go-faster family saloon.
1010

Ford Capri Perana

The only Capri V8 officially sanctioned by Ford, the Perana was available at all main dealers in South Africa. Thanks to a Mustang 5.0-litre V8 under the bonnet, this is as close as you can get to an official Capri muscle car. My six-cylinder Capris used to rock from side to side when I blipped the throttle. Goodness knows what a V8 would do.
A serial Capri owner, contributor Gavin Braithwaite-Smith picks out his favourite fast Fords from history.
11

Ford Capri 1.6 Laser

Look, a Capri 1.6 Laser feels like a rocket when you’re trading up from a Vauxhall Viva 1200 Deluxe automatic. I was 18, the Lacquer Red Capri was my third car (the fourth if you include the Saab 95 V4 I bought when I was 16), and it was everything to me. Crucially, it looked like the 2.8i I used to see on my walk to school.
22

Ford Capri 2.8 Injection Special

I’ve owned three 2.8s: a ropey four-speed on an X-plate, a dodgy 2.8i Special and a one-previous-owner 280. The fact that I sold the Capri 280 before values went into orbit still haunts my nights, but that’s not the reason why I’m choosing a regular 2.8i over the 280. To a child who grew up in the 1980s, this is peak Capri.
33

Ford Fiesta ST

Believe the hype. The Ford Fiesta ST is the Peugeot 205 GTi for a new generation: fast, fun and affordable. I had one on test when duty called me to a new car launch in North Wales. I can’t remember the car I was sent to review, but I recall the Fiesta with real fondess. One section of road sticks in my head: a near-empty A438 west of Hay-on-Wye. Magic.
Ford Sport Ka.Ford Sport Ka.

Ford SportKa

I used to look forward to leaving my Capris at the Ford specialist because it meant I’d have access to a Ford Ka for the day. A brilliant city car that needs to be preserved (and rust-proofed) for future generations. There are better junior hot hatches than the SportKa, but I love the way it looks and drives.
110707-088-for110707-088-for

Ford Probe 24v

Yes, yes, yes, I know there are many reasons why I shouldn’t love the Ford Probe, but I do. Whisper this, but I’d prefer a Probe 24v to a Ford Mustang. I’ll leave my fast Ford badge at the door on the way out.
66

Ford Focus 1.6 Zetec

I was underwhelmed by my Ford Focus ST170, but popular opinion would suggest I’m in the minority. The original Ford Focus 1.6 Zetec is a different story. This would be my recommendation for anyone looking for a driver’s car on a budget. The steering, gearchange and handling are spot on, while the 1.6-litre engine delivers just enough performance to entertain.
77

Ford Puma 1.7

Was it the Steve McQueen television advert or Tiff Needell’s hooligan antics while naming it Top Gear’s Car of the Year in 1997? Either way, I knew I fancied a Ford Puma, so I bought a new one in 2001. In my head, the deal was done by the time I had circumnavigated the roundabout outside the Ford showroom. Not that I told the salesman.
Ford Racing Puma.Ford Racing Puma.

Ford Racing Puma

My love affair with the Puma 1.7 was over too soon, because my head was turned by something racier. If this all sounds a bit Mills & Boon, let’s just say that the Racing Puma remains the best front-wheel drive car I’ve had the pleasure of driving. The grip, the handling, the Sparco seats, the gearchange, the sound of the exhaust – I remember this car like it was yesterday. One of Ford’s all-time greats.
99

Ford Lotus Cortina Mk1

Unlike Richard Heseltine, I haven’t had the pleasure of driving a Ford Lotus Cortina. Given the car’s rarity and value, I’m not sure I ever will. There was a time when my bedroom wall was coated in photos of the Lotus Cortina; I just loved the idea of a go-faster family saloon.
1010

Ford Capri Perana

The only Capri V8 officially sanctioned by Ford, the Perana was available at all main dealers in South Africa. Thanks to a Mustang 5.0-litre V8 under the bonnet, this is as close as you can get to an official Capri muscle car. My six-cylinder Capris used to rock from side to side when I blipped the throttle. Goodness knows what a V8 would do.

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