“The Capri was the European pony car – our answer to the Mustang – so I wanted to create a car that wasn’t quite so muscular and didn’t have as much Mustang influence.
“I’ve kept the high-tailed fastback shape, C-post graphic and long, bulging bonnet of the Mk3, but lowered the waistline to cut through the wheel arches. Some of the styling of the early concepts was quite dramatic, which I’ve also hinted at: the arches are squared-off in reference to the Mk1’s graphic that flicked up behind the rear wheel and ran straight along the side of the car.
“I’ve applied some modern aerodynamic knowledge with the new nose cone, a faster roofline and more tumblehome on the sides. At the front I’ve incorporated the Mk3’s horizontal vents, prominent bumper and rectangular indicator shapes into the body via splitter detailing, simplifying the nose but keeping its character. I used the new Ford GT’s front-end for inspiration.
“Quad headlights were pretty much mandatory. The Mk3’s headlights, Aeroflow grille and rear lights all influenced Ford design, so it was important to keep them.“I’d like it to use Ford Ecoboost engines: the GT’s twin-turbo 3.5 V6 and an entry-level 1.6 Laser. I’d love to get stuck into the interior, too – tartan seats and all.”
Shiro Nakamura, chief creative officer at Nissan - Austin-Healey 100
Named for its ton-plus top speed, the 100 was a Donald Healey-designed two-seater roadster powered and manufactured by Austin. Launched in 1953 at a price of £1063, it made 90bhp from its 2.6-litre four-cylinder engine and reached 60mph in 10.3sec. In 1956 it was replaced by the 2.6-litre, six-cylinder 100 Six, which then fathered the more famous Austin-Healey 3000.
“I chose an Austin-Healey because of its British heritage and because the brand isn’t used by anyone today,” says Nakamura. “The 100 is interesting: I like the proportions, the folding windscreen and the grille, which looks like a Japanese fan. The car’s shape is very British, though.
“In the 1950s, aerodynamics were not a priority, which was nice for designers; today’s cars have so many constraints with drag and lift. My version is much more aggressive and has some aero treatment – I added carbonfibre ground-effect technology underneath, but kept the top faithful to the original.
“I kept the two-tone design and the integrated windscreen. The point is to respect the original design in today’s environment. I added new things such as the headrests and LED lights, using minimal modifications. My car is lower and wider but perhaps not longer. Cars were so narrow in the 1950s – you can’t do that today.
“The two-tone design – and the character line it brings – is iconic on this car. It gives a kind of casual, romantic feel, not too serious. It reflects the mindset of post-War society, when cars became democratised. These were cars for normal people and had a lot of soul.
“I spent lots of time modifying the proportions and the lines. It produced a very interesting dialogue with a younger designer who I worked with on the project. I taught him a lot, he studied a lot. It was a very good process.
“Even after 50 or 100 years, the 1950s will still be one of the greatest eras of car design. Designers and engineers were free to express themselves. This changed in the 1970s, and now we are always balancing emotion with social responsibility. In the 1950s, they were just having fun.”