The Scalextric Ford Capri Mk3 is another brand new car for 2020
Three versions of the Capri have just been released by Scalextric – a police car, a road car in the Only Fools and Horses twin-pack and this racing car from the 1979 British Saloon Car Championship. If you’re lucky, you’ll grab one before they sell out. If not, I am sure Scalextric will be releasing many more Capris in the future, so read on…
- Buy the Brut 33 Ford Capri Mk3: www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-slot-car-c4101-ford-capri-mk3-stuart-graham/
- A digital version is also available: www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-digital-slot-car-c4101-ford-capri-mk3-stuart-graham/
- The Greater Manchester Police Capri: www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-slot-car-c4153-ford-capri-mk3-greater-manchester-police/
- Only Fools and Horses twin pack: www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-slot-car-c4179a-only-fools-and-horses-twin-pack/
The Real Ford Capri Mk3
The Mark 3 Capri is such an iconic car for Brits of a certain age. In the pre-hot hatchback days, it was the dream of most young drivers to own a Capri – especially the 3.0S or 2.8 injection models. The Capri featured heavily in popular TV shows like the Professionals and played a cameo role in Only Fools and Horses. It was also very successful on the race track.
The road car was released in March 1978 and Ford provided a batch of 3.0S Capris to Yorkshire-based CC Racing Developments to prepare for that year’s British Saloon Car Championship (forerunner of the BTCC). Each car required over 500 hours’ work to modify it to the Group 1 saloon car regulations. The standard three-litre Essex V6 engines were tweaked to produce 220bhp.
Drivers Gordon Spice and Chris Craft won seven races in 1978 with their red Autocar-sponsored Capris and privateer Jeff Allam added an eighth. That was enough to win Class D, but Spice lost out to the little Mini of Richard Longman for the overall title. Also in 1978, a Group 1 Belga-sponsored Capri won the prestigious Spa 24-hour race, driven by Gordon Spice and Belgian racer Teddy Pilette.
For 1979, there were plenty more Capris in the BSCC, including the Brut 33-sponsored car of Stuart Graham. Graham won the season-ending race at Oulton Park, with the Capris of Gordon Spice and Jeff Allam having picked up eight wins between them.
The Capri 3.0S remained a feature of the British Saloon Car Championship grid as late as 1985, although most of the bigger teams had switched to the newer Rovers and BMWs long before then. The last win for a Capri was at the 1982 Brands Hatch round, Vince Woodman winning his fourth race of the season in the Equipe Esso car. Scalextric have loads of wonderful classic racing liveries to choose from, plus a few current historic racing Capris too.
The Scalextric Model
The choice of Stuart Graham’s 1979 Oulton Park car was a surprise, but it is a very sharp livery that oozes nostalgia with the Brut aftershave and Castrol oil sponsorship. Graham was a popular driver, having switched from a successful career on two wheels to race saloon cars throughout the 1970s.
Scalextric have the shape and stance of the 3.0S BSCC car almost spot on. My only quibble is the front spoiler – it’s a little too high, meaning the front-on view isn’t quite as low and mean as I’d like it. The livery is very classy. The pictures of the real car I’ve found suggest the “33 Brut” on the passenger door should be “Brut 33” and the “Ford” logos on the windscreen visor should be black, not blue. Again, that’s just me nit-picking. Overall, I love it – a lot.
One small detail I particularly like is that the wing mirrors are made out of a flexible material. Those 1970s mirrors were small and delicate, so having impact-resistant versions on the model is a very nice feature for those of us who’ll be racing the car. Something else that’s cute is the slightly wonky Dunlop sticker on the front bumper – that’s how it was on the real car!
The Mechanical Stuff
Inside, the layout of the Capri is the standard late-2010s Scalextric format – tray interior, easy-fit guide, inline short can motor, front and rear lights. As usual, the traction magnet is fitted behind the motor and there is no alternative magnet pocket. The car is also Digital Plug Ready (DPR), meaning it can be easily converted to Scalextric digital using the C8515 Digital Plug or to Carrera Digital132 using the Carson digital conversion chip.
When I removed the body, I noticed that the lower front and rear bodywork and both bumpers are attached to the underpan. Usually, this would make it tricky to create ‘body roll’ to improve handling. However, the new Capri has good basic body roll after just loosening the body screws one turn. There is even a lip on the top of the bumpers that hides the gap. If that was a deliberate design feature, well done Scalextric!
Looking more closely, the ground clearance is enough to clear crests over bridges and flyovers, yet the magnetic downforce on my DIY ‘magnet marshal’ was a very reasonable 41g. That promises a good car on track, especially with a fairly wide (for a classic car) 49.5mm width across the rear axle and grippy-looking treaded tyres
I ran the Brut 33 Capri straight from the box and found it a joy to drive on my Jadlam SL6 layout. I launched the ARC app and ran for two minutes, clocking up 22 laps and managing a best lap of 4.65 seconds. That was pretty sensational! The Capri is a nicely balanced car and those treaded rear tyres worked perfectly on the Scalextric Sport track. If I pushed too hard, the car would tip – and I did have a few small offs.
Despite such awesome out-of-the-box performance, I carried out some basic tweaks (see Scalextric Tuning Part 2 for more details). A very light scuffing of the tyres and loosening of the body screws gave me a better-handling car – and I could push it a bit further into the corners without tipping. Another two-minute run yielded 25 laps, a best lap time of 4.48 seconds and no crashes.
One final tweak was to unfold the bottom end of the braids to drop the guide deeper in the slot. In the two-minute test, I pushed harder and had one off – that gave me a score of ‘only’ 24 laps, but an improved best lap of 4.38 seconds. That’s just a tenth of a second off the fastest time on my SL6 test track. Most importantly, the car was really enjoyable to drive.
I did adjust my driving style – smooth in the corners and only getting on the throttle when the car was straight – but the Capri is narrower than a modern GT car and also has narrower tyres. Scalextric produce near-perfect scale models, so different cars will have different handling characteristics – as they do in real life.
I am going to enjoy driving this car at home and may convert it for ‘non-mag’ club racing. I think the Capri has a lot of racing potential and I hope Scalextric produce many more classic saloon car liveries in years to come.
Scalextric Ford Capri Mk3 #10 “Brut 33” Data Sheet
Catalogue code: C4101
Range: Scalextric Classic Racing Cars – 1/32 scale / high detail / Digital Plug Ready (DPR)
Released: October 2020
Spares included: 2 x brade plates with braid fitted
Lights: front and rear
Motor: Scalextric ‘short-can’ – inline orientation.
Gear ratio: 9:27
Rear axle width: 49.5mm
Andy’s downforce gauge: 41g magnetic downforce