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If you said you’d own a Capri one day, then don’t delay as values rocket
Why it’s a winner?
Stylish cars with a cult following and decent performance tend to be out of reach for many, but there are certain exceptions and the Ford Capri is one of them. Built to emulate the success of Ford’s Mustang in the US, the Capri was our pony car and, there’s a ‘British Mustang’ for most budgets and taste although values are rapidy rising.
1969 Capri introduced, largely based upon Escort and Cortina Mk2 running gear.
1970 Zodiac-powered V6 added to range.
1971 A raft of improvements surfaced with the headline being the uprating of the old V6 to liberate an added 10bhp.
1972 Facelift sees claimed 151 changes including major suspension tweaks, better interior as well as new 1600cc engine.
1974/75 MkII appears, a three door hatchback. while revisions saw new flagship Ghia option. The following year, GT was replaced by the now rare S.
1978 MkIII surfaces with styling and aerodynamic changes.
1981 2.8i replaces evergreen 3-litre with new Granada engine and a retuned chassis.
1983 Five-speed gearbox standard fit on the top 2.8i and soon after on the 2.0-litre.
Chalk and cheese is the best way to describe Capris which are four or six-cylinder powered. Opt for the latter and you won’t find the performance much of an issue and it gives it in a Mustang musclebound manner that no four-pot can match. However, if you are looking for Alfa-like finesse and brio or BMW sophistication then you won’t find it with any Capri.
The worst aspect are the brakes, which can be shockingly poor, prone to pulling to one side and display the classic ‘Capri shimmy’. Thanks to rather primitive rear suspension (well harnessed on the Tickford Turbo Capri mind), you need to be wary if your first experience is behind the wheel of a six-pot example and the roads are a bit wet…
Almost a decade after launch Autocar still regarded the 3.0S as “the best performance-for-money sports car on the market.” It was even more enthusiastic about the 2.8i calling it a “straightforward gutsy motor car with plenty of performance – ergonomically near perfect.”
Mk1s liked for their style. pre-summer ’72 facelift) then it’s the MKIIIs (chiefly 2.8i) but Capri II is least liked for some strange reason even though S model surfaced.
The days of cheap and cheerful Capris are over, especially the rare GT and RS models, so says leading Capri experts Tickover of Kent. Top Capris, especially MK1s, can sell for £25,000 upwards and even the unloved Capri II can command pretty strong money, none more so than the special ‘Midnight Capris’ where only five are left. Most common are the MkIIIs and you may be able to pick up a quite reasonable 2.8i or earlier 3000S for around £5000 or so. Proper RS3100 and rareer German RS2600 models (watch for fakes) are gold dust.
By and large, Capri kept its promise and are a lot of blue collar fun even if prices are distinctly middle class and values don’t show any signs of levelling off.
Five top faults
1. PANELS Capri rots like any other 60’s car but at least body panels are becoming increasingly available from the likes of Ex-Press Steel and Magnum
2. BODY Carefully check for rust and past repairs. Main worries are inner wings, bulkheads, floor, rear suspension pick-up points, sills and in the top strut mounts. Penny to a pound that some level of repairs will be carried out over the years
3. CONVERTS With engines ranging from 1.3 to 3-litres, uprating Capris was a very popular pastime. In general, swapping the four-cylinder engines is straightforward (although some transmission gearing may be wrong if not swaped as well) but dropping in a V6 is more involved (the shell was strengthened) and so many were done half baked; a genuine V6 model is much better to drive
4. ENGINE ‘Fours‘ just general wear; Vee engines can suffer form timing gear troubles and bore wear plus some parts are becoming hard to obtain, particularly on the V4 ‘Transit’ unit
5. SUSPENSION Just general checks and wear points; spares are no problem. Infamous Capri steering shimmy, and brakes pulling, can be impossible to cure and wheel balancing is critical
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