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Ford Capri Mk3: Buying guide and review (1978-1986)

Ford Capri Mk3: Buying guide and review (1978-1986) Classic and Performance Car
Ford Capri Mk3 buying guide (1978-1986) Ford Capri Mk3 buying guide (1978-1986) Ford Capri Mk3 buying guide (1978-1986)
When Ford launched the Capri in 1969, it was advertised with the slogan ‘the car you always promised yourself’. Everyone knows that; what’s less well known the strapline for the third incarnation of the breed, launched in 1978. Can’t remember? It was ‘the difference between driving and just motoring’. 
While that first slogan is known by pretty much any classic car enthusiast, it showed how prescient these marketing types can be. Because while there were plenty of people who set their heart on a Capri when it was current, there are many who promised themselves one but would only realise the dream – or revisit it – after several decades. 
The Capri was also well-loved for its regular appearances in iconic TV shows, such as The Professionals and Minder. It was a cool car, and to many it still is. 
It’s this that has driven up Capri values in recent years, with a whole army of middle-aged men desperate to return to their youth. They still lust after a V6 Capri and now have the wherewithal to buy one. But as with many cars of this era, demand outstrips supply, which has led to a hefty increase in values. As a result, many Capris are no longer being bought for the thrills they offer – they’re being bought purely for investment purposes. 
It was a different story for many years, with the Capri being the default choice for anyone looking for cheap sports car. The Mk3 was the last Ford the wear the Capri name, and while it was effectively just a heavy facelift of the Mk2 in 1978, it was so successful that it would keep the model alive right up to 1986.
With the departure of Capri, the popular affordable rear-wheel drive sports coupe was effectively taken with it for Ford. Fashion would lead it down the performance saloon and hot hatch route – aside from the larger more GT-oriented Probe and Cougar models. That’s partly why the Capri still appeals today, and although quite a crude thing in many ways, it is still a very fun thing to drive and own. 

Which Capri to buy? 

There were four types of engine, the least desirable of which is the virtually extinct 1.3-litre Kent unit. The Pinto came in 1.6 and 2.0-litre forms while the 3.0-litre Essex V6 is torquey but not especially refined. The Cologne V6 was the final incarnation, which in 1981 superseded the Essex powerplant in fuel-injected 2.8-litre form. 
Most Capri fans are interested only in the V6 editions, both 2.8i and 3.0. But while the V6 cars are the most fun to drive, don’t overlook a decent four-cylinder car if it’s a minter. You’re unlikely to find a car with the 1300 engine but 1.6 and 2.0-litre cars are more readily available. 
While the 1.6 feels a bit lacklustre, the 2.0-litre engine is noticeably more perky – especially if it’s been tuned. And with tuning parts easy to come by, a tuned 2.0-litre Capri might just allow you to get into something nice without having to break the bank. But a four-cylinder Capri will never be worth as much as a V6 edition. 
However many cylinders your purchase has, originality is generally key. The cars with the highest values are those closest to factory specification. So while there are some superb cars out there with major upgrades, they’re invariably worth less than cars that have been kept standard. 

Performance and specs 

Ford Capri 2.8i
Engine  2792cc, six-cylinder
Power 160bhp @ 5700rpm
Torque 162lb ft @ 4300rpm
Transmission Four or five-speed manual
0-60mph 7.9sec 
Top speed 130mph
Insurance group   13
Fuel consumption  21.3mpg
Price when new  £7995

Dimensions and weight

Wheelbase              2563mm
Length 4440mm
Width 1699mm
Height 1346mm
Weight 1230kg

Common problems 

• Accident damage is a strong possibility, so inspect the chassis rails for damage. Rust is almost a given, especially in the front wings. Check for filler along their trailing edges and around the headlights. Also look at the inner wings, inside edges of the bonnet and around the grille. Every V6-engined Capri left the factory with an extra triangular strengthening plate at the top of the strut mounting. If it isn’t there, be suspicious. 
• The A-posts can rust, causing the doors to drop. The doors corrode along their underside, while poorly repaired sills are common, and so are rotten rear spring hangers. Check for rot on the inner bottom edge of the tailgate and the rear wings rot just behind the rear wheelarches. The rear arches themselves rot; so do boot floors and the metal around the rear light clusters. 
• Infrequent oil changes leads to premature wear on the Pinto engine, so listen for a noisy top end. The Pinto engine is generally reliable, but it wears like any other so check for oil being burned, along with water leaks from the water pump, as these tend to be weak. 
• The V6 engines are unstressed, but there’s a hexagonal shaft that drives the oil pump on the Essex unit. The shaft can snap when starting from cold, wrecking the engine. The fibre timing gear can also break up but steel replacements are available. Corrosion in the water jacket is another common Essex ailment, so check the condition of the coolant. 
• The Cologne unit can also suffer from the water jackets filling up with silt, while due to the positioning under the wheelarch, fuel pumps often corrode and the casing becomes porous. 
• Second gear is the weak spot on many Capris. The bushes also wear, leading to a sloppy gearchange, and the bearings only last around 70,000 miles before becoming noisy. 
• Transmission vibrations suggest the propshaft centre bearing has worn and if left, the diff bearing and gearbox rear bearing will be wrecked. 
• The inner track control arm anchorage bushes break up, leading to shudders through the steering over bumps. Replacing just the bushes is awkward, which is why many owners replace the whole arm. 
• The interior trim is fragile, apart from the leather in the 280 Brooklands and half-leather in the 2.8 Injection Special. Also, poor support under the centre speaker vent leads to cracking of the dash top. Good ones are scarce, so expensive. 
• The fusebox suffers from poor connections leading to all sorts of electrical glitches. Connection problems also affect the rear wash/wipe as the tailgate contacts corrode. Fine emery paper usually fixes things. 

Model history 

April 1978: The Capri MkIII debuts, with 1.3, 1.6 and 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines, or a 2994cc V6. Top of the range is the 3.0 X-pack. 
April 1980: The 1600L-based GT4 special edition is introduced 
July 1981: The Calypso and Cameo arrive in the showrooms, along with the 2.8i which ousted the 3.0 models. 
July 1982: The Capri Cabaret appears. 
October 1982: The Tickford Capri is shown at the NEC Motor Show, with a 205bhp turbocharged 2.8-litre engine. There are disc brakes all round, a limited-slip diff and revised rear axle location to help put the power down – but it wouldn’t go on sale for another year. 
January 1983: A five-speed gearbox is made standard on the 2.8i and soon after on 2.0-litre cars also. 
December 1986: The last Capri is built, a Brooklands 280 with leather trim, metallic green paintwork and 15-inch spoked alloy wheels. 

Owners clubs, forums and websites 

• Capri Club International – www.capriclub.co.uk 
• Capri Club Scotland – www.capriclubscotland.co.uk 

Summary and prices

Ford Capri values have been rising fast, and the most sought after models such as the 280i Brooklands are now a seriously expensive proposition. Budget around £30,000 for one of these in good nick, with one concours example selling for £54,000 at a recent auction. 
Prices for the smaller engined cars are still actually more sensible, and you can find something in great condition from the £5000 mark. Modified cars are common, and can provide good value if you can ensure that the work has been carried out well. You must be wary of buying a dog, as there are a lot of badly repaired cars around.
Cheaper cars needing some light restoration work can also be good value from the £1500-£2500 mark.
Ford Capri Mk3 buying guide (1978-1986) Ford Capri Mk3 buying guide (1978-1986) Ford Capri Mk3 buying guide (1978-1986)
Last updated: 11th Jul 2017
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Ford Capri
12695 26995 GBP
  • Ford Capri

    £26,995 £26,995

    Thinking of selling? Our proven commission sale or SOR (Sale or Return) program is a great way to utilise and access our professional services and facilities while still maximising the return from your vehicle with minimal hassle, stress and time, If you’d like to take advantage of this then please get in touch for further information. Alternatively If you’d like to move your vehicle on quickly and efficiently with minimal delay then we can make an offer on an outright purchase basis with payment and collection arranged soon after. A mind-blowing Ford Capri 2.8 Injection Special with a remarkable 8,334 miles. EQUIPMENT Remote control driver’s door mirror, body-coloured grille, lamp bezels body-coloured, power assisted steering, front and rear spoilers, tailgate wash/wipe, tinted glass all round, ammeter and oil pressure gauge, tachometer, quartz analogue clock, courtesy lights, perforated black headlining, front reclining Recaro seats, three-spoke leather covered steering wheel, tilting/sliding steel sunroof, boot light, instrument brightness control. Factory options; Black paintwork. Dealer options: Mudflaps, Ford floor mats, Toad A1606 Alarm. EXTERIOR This outstanding unrestored Ford Capri 2.8 Injection is one of the final cars made, and having covered a genuine 8,334 miles from new, this is without question an exceptionally special car. A cost option when new, the factory original paintwork in Ford Black, (Code A9), boasts a near flawless finish and deep mirror shine. The front displays a few small stone chips and touched in markings, entirely minimal and forgiven for such an original example. To further delight the connoisseur is the supplying Ford Main Dealer, Cuff Miller, number plates, mud flaps and tax disc holder all remaining fitted. All trim sections and decals are preserved with no damage from exposure to elements, and all light lenses are original Hella fitment with Ford and ‘Made in England, lettering. A super low mileage and beautifully preserved Capri, the jewel in any Ford collection. INTERIOR An interior that must be seen to be believed and perhaps the most special part of the car. Entirely commensurate with the 8,334 miles covered, the interior condition is impossible to replicate and even extends to retention of the original Ford smell! The supportive Recaro seats in grey high-grade leather with ‘Strobe’ pattern fabric centre panels, (Code Q5), are spotlessly clean with firm seat structure. The driver’s seat upper bolster has some very light furring to the stitching as well as the near impossible to find removable back rest pads in matching ‘Strobe’ pattern. The door cards, headlining and trim sections are as new and the deep pile grey carpeting is pristine having been protected from new by Ford tailored floor mats. The leather covered steering wheel and gear knob are perfect with natural veins prominent, a trait of such low mileage. The factory fresh dashboard has no cracks whatsoever and all switchgear and controls are as new with bright white lettering. The factory fitted ESRT 32PS stereo cassette and electric aerial are fully operational. Originality seekers with delight further at service stickers in the door shuts and unspoilt pin-straight parcel shelf, as well as factory build stickers and foam insulation pads preserved in the boot floor. The term time warp is entirely suitable in this instance. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION The Capri 2.8 Injection was the first offering of the new Special Vehicle Engineering (SVE) operation that had recently been set up in Dunton, Essex. SVE added a Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system, an oil/water heat exchanger, viscous coupled fan and an improved radiator making the 158 BHP capable of 130mph and 0-60mph in 7.9 seconds. The fantastic engine bay is fastidiously standard with Motorcraft service items, factory plates and stickers and Ford wing stampings clear to see. A quality GES Ltd stainless steel exhaust with lifetime guarantee was fitted in 2014. The 5 speed gearbox is direct and progression through the range is effortless. This Capri is as close to a new car driving experience as you will experience. WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES The factory 7-spoke alloy wheels are unrestored with correct Ford badged centre caps and factory weights. Light aging is evident along with some discolouration to the caps. A collectable and highly prized full set of five Goodyear Eagle NCT 60 tyres have remained on the car since new with the spare wheel completely virgin with coloured banding to the tyres! The hydraulic dual-line servo-assisted brakes with ventilated front discs unique on the 2.8 Special stop the car quickly and in a straight line. HISTORY FILE The very last Ford Capri was built in December 1986. Built in November 1986 at the Cologne Plant in Germany, this very late 2.8 Injection Special was registered new on 28th February 1987. The supplying Ford Main Dealer was Cuff Miller & Co Ltd of Littlehampton, Sussex. Clearly keen on brand exposure, the Cuff Miller branding can be found of the mud flaps, tax disc holder, number plates and document wallet as well as of course their supplying dealer stamp in the original service book! Just three owners from new are fully traceable and the first issue blue V5 has been kept. A wonderful part of the history file is the two factory build and specification sheets. The document wallet holds all handbooks, operating guides, radio instructions and dealership literature as well as the Salesman’s business card. Furthermore, the history file holds previous MOT certificates, a service invoice for May 2017 with just 30 miles covered since and two sets of keys. A unique opportunity to acquire an iconic unmolested Capri 2.8 injection with amazing credentials and condition to match. One for the serious collector. MOT July 2019, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please copy the link below: https://youtu.be/QRKeRB0JcZ8 To see a complete set of photographs of this car please copy the link below: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kgfclassiccars/albums/72157694076188730 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    • Year: 1987
    • Mileage: 8334 mi
    • Engine size: 2.8
    For sale
    £26,995 £26,995
    KGF Classic Cars
    01733425140 View contact number
  • Ford Capri

    £12,695 £12,695

    *SIMILAR QUALITY CARS ALWAYS REQUIRED* SOLD Thinking of selling? Our proven commission sale or SOR (Sale or Return) program is a great way to utilise and access our professional services and facilities while still maximising the return from your vehicle with minimal hassle, stress and time, If you’d like to take advantage of this then please get in touch for further information. Alternatively If you’d like to move your vehicle on quickly and efficiently with minimal delay then we can make an offer on an outright purchase basis with payment and collection arranged soon after. A rare manual range topping Ford Capri Mk2 3.0 Ghia with just 48,606 miles. EQUIPMENT All steel welded integral construction, safety glass all round, opening rear quarter vents, rectangular sealed beam headlamps, extensive sound insulation, anti-burst locks, vinyl roof, sunshine roof with tilt, bright bumpers with rubber inserts, bumper overriders, bright finish driver’s door mirror, bright metal window side mouldings, Capri Ghia sill finishers, power steering, leather steering wheel, water temperature gauge, warning lights for alternator, oil pressure, main beam and direction indicators, quartz clock, heated rear window. Factory options; Manual transmission, bright finish passenger side door mirror. Dealer options; Mud flaps, Kenlowe fan, Clarion 967 ETA-3 stereo cassette, electric windows. EXTERIOR In 3.0L Ghia guise, this was the Mk2 Capri to have and the ultimate ‘car you always promised yourself’. This superb example is finished in the original colour of Diamond White (Code BM), which boasts a bright uniform finish with only light markings visible. All original panels are straight and display uniform shut lines, and the underside is free from excess applied underseal to allow easy inspection of the structural integrity. The trim sections, brightwork and Ghia finishing’s are in superb order as is the correct pre blue oval ‘FORD’ badging to the grille and boot lid and 3.0 and Ghia wing badges. This vinyl roof is in superb order and shows no lifting or damage whatsoever. This show-worthy example will delight any enthusiast seeking a top of the range Mk2 Capri. INTERIOR The luxury interior of this 3.0 Ghia is very clean and in fantastic order. The original Verona fabric seat coverings in Tan, (Code W2), have no tears or excess wear and matching vinyl door cards are in excellent condition. The dashboard is in perfect order, as is all switchgear and the leather covered safety padded steering wheel. All controls, functions and gauges are fully operational with exception of the radio. The original cut pile carpeting and perforated headlining remain in very good condition. The clean boot area has the original ribbed floor carpet, Ford jack and optional super rare load compartment cover. A wonderfully nostalgic and comfortable Classic Ford interior, preserved exactly is intended. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION The most powerful engine available at the time was the 3000cc V6 engine as fitted to this genuine 3.0L Ghia. Power output is quoted at 138bhp at 5000rpm and impressive 235Nm torque to offer a top speed of 121mph and 0-60 in 8.2 seconds. The engine bay displays factory plates and stickers and the air box, rocker cover, alternator blades and radiator top plate is chrome for bonnet up splendour! A full stainless steel exhaust system has been fitted for an intoxicating sound track. The optional and rare four-speed synchromesh gearbox is the desirable choice and enables full use of the V6 power! WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES The factory fitted sports road wheels, standard on the Ghia, are in perfect order and have been diamond cut with grey inserts to stunning effect. Brand new Firestone F-590 185/70 R13 tyres have been fitted in July 2018 and the original Pirelli Cinturato CN36 remains on the spare. The hydraulic dual-line servo assisted brakes with front discs and rear drums bring the car up straight and true. HISTORY FILE Built in December 1976 at the Cologne Plant in West Germany and registered new on 17th January 1977 by Ford Main Agents, Hooleys Garage Ltd of Derby, this Mk2 3.0L has covered a verified 48,606 miles from new. The huge and extensive history file contains masses of Ford Main Dealer and specialist invoices dating back to the late 1970’s as well as MOT certificates with accompanying checklists from the very first in 1979. The original service book, handbook and Ford accessories brochure is included. The previous keeper has decided to part with the car having purchased a Mk2 Escort RS2000 from KGF Classic Cars to sit alongside his Mk1 Escort RS2000, Chevette HSR and Talbot Sunbeam Lotus! This R registered example has a desirable number plate with ‘RRR’ prefix. A very well preserved example of this desirable Ford Capri 3.0L Ghia, one for continued preservation and enjoyment. MOT July 2019, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please copy the link below: https://youtu.be/218ofu5pRS8 To see a complete set of photographs of this car please copy the link below: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kgfclassiccars/albums/72157698403004694 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    • Year: 1977
    • Mileage: 48606 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
    £12,695 £12,695
  • 1972 Ford Capri RS2600 Group 2


    1972 Ford Capri RS 2600 Group 2 Prolifically campaigned and developed from 1972 through 1978 by “Il Ragno” competing in both the European and Italian Touring Car Championships. Specification: ENGINE: materials: engine block: cast iron – engine head: aluminium – sump: aluminium cylinder liners: cast iron capacity: 2.995 cc. bore: 69 mm. stroke: 96 mm. compression ratio: 12:1 power/rpm: 300 HP at 7.000 rpm torque/rpm: 45 kgm at 6.000 rpm exhaust: steel manifold, 3.1 + 3.1 fuel supply: mechanical injection Kugherfischer, horizontal guillotine ignition: mono ignition coil lubrication system: pressure wet sump TRANSMISSION: clutch: syntered dry double disc gearbox: manual, five speed + Rev., ZF differential: Colotti limited slip diff. (80%) – diff ratio: 9:41 – 8:41 – 10:41 – 10:43 wheels / tyres: front 15”x 10J” / rear 15” x 12J”, Slick BODY: bodywork / doors: unitized body (re-welded & reinforced), with 6 point bolted roll bar application / two doors, Coupé front suspensions: independent wishbones, Mc Pherson, with anti-roll bar springs: helical springs dampers: telescopics, extension and compression adjustable, Koni Racing back suspensions: longitudinal arms / anti-roll bars springs:

    • Year: 1972
    For sale
  • Ford Capri II JPS 1975

    €19,950(£0) €19,950(£0)

    Ford Capri II JPS 1975 Limited Edition Nr. 366 This Ford Capri John Player Special was built in limited edition. This is number 366 built and is provided with the original interior with half leather upholstery. The dashboard has the original Capri steering wheel and the special Limited Edition inscription plate. The exterior has beautiful black paint with golden stripes. The Ford has a manual gearbox and drives really great. The Capri has the original 1593 CC engine and is fully checked and adjusted in our workshop. The JPS version is a rare and very popular Capri. Car has European title and mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any import taxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1975
    For sale
    €19,950(£0) €19,950(£0)