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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
6000 29995 GBP
  • Ford Capri

    £12,695 £12,695

    FOR SALE 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
    KGF Classic Cars
    01733425140 View contact number
  • Ford Capri 1984

    £6,000 £6,000

    I have her for about 15 years and had lot's of fun in her. I am getting too old to get in and out of her now. She has had a complete engine rebuild and now runs on unleaded petrol. She has recardo seats and still runs lovely.

    • Mileage: 19500 mi
    • Engine size: 2792
    For sale
    £6,000 £6,000
  • Ford Capri

    £29,995 £29,995

    *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. An incredible Ford Capri 3.0S with 28,980 miles and amazing history. EQUIPMENT Overiders, ‘S’ bodyside tape stripe, remote control drivers door mirror, passenger door mirror, black rear spoiler, black louvred grille, tailgate wash/wipe, halogen headlamps, integral front spoiler, integral rear fog lamp, sports gearshift knob, rear package tray, quartz clock, trip meter, tachometer, ammeter, oil pressure gauge, handbrake warning light, Ford push button stereo, heated rear window, aeroflow face level vents, two-speed heater, instrument rheostat, courtesy light. Factory Options: Steel tilting/sliding roof, Ford SRT 32P stereo radio cassette. EXTERIOR This late Ford Capri 3.0S is finished in very rare and optional Cobalt Blue, (Code ASC1271), which according to the New Car Sales Invoice cost the first owner £82.80. A truly stunning shine will amaze onlookers thanks to pampered ownership, low miles and Envirogarde paint protection when new. The vehicle also benefitted from the Ziebart rustproofing treatment helping to explain the incredible originality today. The offside rear wing was painted in 1981 and nearside front wing was painted in 1983 as catalogued in the comprehensive history file with a small invoice for each from Ford. Supplying dealer number plates remain fitted and the rear screen proudly displays the Ziebart and Envirogarde stickers. All glass, trim and rubbers are original with a small stone chip to the front screen. This very rare, sporting, top-of-the-range Capri is simply breathtaking. INTERIOR This iconic models interior is distinguished by Recaro seats fully trimmed in the Grey/Black Carla fabric with Savannah fabric surrounds and Fishnet headrests. This seating is immensely rare and only fitted to late Capri ‘S’ models and in this example is perfect. The three spoke leather sports steering wheel and sports gearshift knob looks factory fresh and all controls and gauges fully function including the two-speed heater fan, analogue quartz clock and optional Ford SRT 32P stereo radio cassette. The dash top has no cracks and the deep pile black carpeting is spotless having been protected by genuine Ford rubber floor mats. This car is very very special. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION This model is fitted with the range-topping Essex 3.0 V6. Beautiful under bonnet originality will delight the most perfection seeking Blue Oval fanatics all spotlessly clean and ready to show. The chassis number to the inner offside wing free from factory paint is correct and Motorcraft service items can be seen. An intoxicating burble through the standard steel exhaust system is very addictive and 138bhp is quoted. The 4-speed manual gearbox with synchromesh to all forward gears operates correctly and is a joy. WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES Correct for the late model 3.0S are unblemished never refurbished 4-spoke Ford alloy wheels with all logos and part numbers clearly visible. Four brand new Continental ContiEcoContact 3 185/70 R13 tyres are fitted with coloured chalk markings and labels attached. The hydraulic dual line vacuum servo-assisted brakes with ventilated discs to the front have been completely overhauled. HISTORY FILE Very rarely will such a low mileage factory correct genuine 3.0S be offered to market combined with such an amazing history file. Supplied new by Tricentrol Cars (Hertford) Ltd on the 21st November 1980 to Mrs Barbara Brown for a total invoice price of £6,147. Two new car invoices are retained due to a change in specification for an upgraded stereo! Mrs Brown was a fanatical conscientious owner with every document, booklet and letter chronically filed. To witness an incredible 43 Ford invoices, every MOT and Tax disc up to 2009 and neatly written owners notes is a sight to behold spread across two files. With just three former keepers in total, the last Mr Armstrong since 2003 himself being a Ford Capri guru once owning the genuine Ford Capri used in the cult British crime-action television drama series the Professionals, the provenance and condition of this coveted example is unrivalled. Every handbook, service book, leaflet and Ziebart Guarantee is contained within the Tricentrol A5 holder and all original keys are included. MOT December 2018, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please copy the link below: https://youtu.be/BGwfkQdSnbs To see a full set of photographs of this car please copy the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmb3s4ZK '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: 1980
    • Mileage: 28980 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
    £29,995 £29,995
  • 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

    £17,995 £17,995

    *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. The ultimate Ford Capri 2.8 Injection Turbo Technics Type F16 in exceptional condition. EQUIPMENT Remote control driver’s door mirror, body-coloured grille, lamp bezels body-coloured, power assisted steering, front and rear spoilers, tinted glass all round, ammeter and oil pressure gauge, tachometer, quartz analogue clock, front reclining Recaro seats, three-spoke steering wheel, tilting steel sunroof, instrument brightness control. Turbo Technics Type F16 Specification; Full 230bhp Turbo Technics Type F16 kit comprising of, Garrett TT093 turbocharger, integral wastegate pressure control, skimmed pistons, high nickel iron multi-branch manifold, front mounted intercooler, bonnet vents, BCP7ES spark plugs, silicon HT leads, Aeroquip oil supply pipe, uprated gearbox, uprated oil pump, uprated suspension kit, four-pot brake callipers. EXTERIOR The legendary Ford Capri 2.8 Injection needs no introduction, and amongst the most special of cars is the Turbo Technics conversion, a semi-official recognised and very highly regarded Ford upgrade. This exceptional example is finished in Ford Cardinal Red, (Code R2), boasting a stunning deep gloss shine and uniform finish. The outstanding paintwork is virtually unmarked with only one tiny mark to the offside rear wing. The underside is detailed heaven and all trims pieces and decals are near perfect. A beautifully presented example of the iconic and very rare Turbo Technics Capri with full X Factor! INTERIOR The interior of this 2.8 Injection Special evokes a sense of true nostalgia with the supportive Recaro seats looking fantastic finished in the grey high-grade leather with ‘Strobe’ pattern fabric centre panels. The driver’s outer bolster is firm and fully intact with only very light wear. The deep pile grey carpeting is spotless as are the door cards and original parcel shelf which are straight and uncut. Incredibly, the dashboard has no cracks and all controls and switchgear are excellent. A sought after digital Ford radio cassette is fitted, (not connected), with a modern item professionally installed in the glove box. Correct and neatly fixed Turbo Technics boost control switch and boost gauge are a hint as to the under bonnet workings! ENGINE & TRANSMISSION Turbo Technics, was founded in 1981 by Geoffrey Kershaw who’s most famous development prior was the Saab Turbo of the 1970’s. The firm developed a turbo conversion based on Ford SVE’s Capri 2.8 Injection, from which standard car credentials of 158bhp, 130mph top speed and 0-60mph in 7.9 seconds were significantly improved upon with this full F16 kit to develop 230bhp, (a notable increase on the standard F9 200bhp kit which achieved 143mph top speed and 0-60mph in 6.5 seconds). A Turbo Technics plate affixed to the inner nearside wing in the spotless engine bay confirms the conversion carried out by them in 1987 complete with serial number. The uprated 5 speed gearbox is direct and progression through the range is effortless thanks to a full rebuild in March 2015 as featured on the Kings Lynn Capri Club website. WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES This Capri is fitted with upgraded 7J x 15 7-spoke 280 Brooklands alloy wheels in perfect condition and with genuine RS centre caps. Matching Yokohama 195/50 R15 tyres have masses of tread remaining. The hydraulic dual-line servo-assisted brakes with ventilated front discs and uprated four-pot callipers stop the car quickly and in a straight line thanks to a recent documented overhaul. HISTORY FILE Registered new on 1st September 1983, the supplying Ford Main Dealer was C.H. Soans and Sons of Leamington Spa. When the car was less than four years old it was taken to Turbo Technics in Northampton for their specialist Engineers to carry out the full blown Type F16 conversion, a very expensive upgrade from the standard F9 kit. The Turbo Technics information plate affixed to the inner nearside wing confirms the completion date by them of the 1st June 1987. There are Turbo Technics invoices for service work and parts dating back to 1994 with the most recent being maintenance work carried out by them in 2015 to the sum of £1032 to help offer piece of mind. This includes upgrades supplied by them in order to keep up with company developments including a TT200 turbocharger. Furthermore, a colossal history file contains many receipts and invoices throughout as well as MOT certificates dating back to the early 1990’s. In 1995 the vehicle was subject to an insurance claim but was put back on the road after light repairs. Continually enjoyed until 2009/10 when the car was subject to an incredible full strip down and rebuild. The very best donor vehicle was sourced and one that had never been welded and was completely free from rust. A CD ROM fully documents the build with 100’s of photographs showing meticulous removal and refurbishment of individual components as well as painstaking detailing of the underside and engine compartment. The current owner, Mr Justin Cook, has enjoyed the show circuit with the car since and is a highly respected member of the Kings Lynn Capri Club with the car featuring extensively on their website. Completing the history file is the original service book, handbooks and operating guides as well as comprehensive Turbo Technics original literature. An exhilarating machine in every respect. MOT May 2018, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please copy the link below: https://youtu.be/3TVJfnsPodI To see a complete set of photographs of this car please copy the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm4VyHz1 '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: 1983
    • Mileage: 33216 mi
    • Engine size: 2.8
    For sale
    £17,995 £17,995
  • 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)