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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
3995 48995 GBP
  • Ford Capri

    £45,000 - £55,000 est. £45,000 - £55,000 est.
    Auction Date: 11 Nov 2017
    • Engine size: 2792
    Auction Date: 11 Nov 2017
    £45,000 - £55,000 est. £45,000 - £55,000 est.
    Auction Date: 11 Nov 2017
    Silverstone Auctions
    +44 (0) 1926 691 141 View contact number
  • 1981 Ford Capri 2.8 RS Werksturbo

    £48,995 £48,995

    Only 155 LHD 2.8 RS Turbo Capris were built by Ford Cologne from July 1981 until September 1982, and they were only available through Ford´s German RS dealers. Inspired by the wild Zakspeed Group 5 racers, the ‘Werksturbo’ model was capable of an impressive 220 km/h (137 mph). Based on the 3.0 S, this derivative featured widened Series X bodywork, front and rear ‘Ford Motorsport’ spoilers, deep 7.5 inch four-spoked RS alloy wheels and an RS badged engine. The engine was based on a normally aspirated carburetor equipped 2.8-litre Cologne V6, along with competition derived crank and a single Garrett T4 turbo providing 5.4 psi of boost. This unique engine setup was enough to produce nearly 200bhp. Today, these ultra-rare Capri Turbos are very much sought after and rarely come available on the open market. The current owner is well-known in motorsport circles and heavily involved in the recent resurgence of the 1970’s and 80’s Touring Cars we all enjoy at the Goodwood Members Meeting and other prestigious events. The car is immaculate and ready to be driven to the season’s historic racing events!

    For sale
    £48,995 £48,995
  • FORD CAPRI 2.0GL 1960

    £3,995 £3,995


    • Mileage: 70164 mi
    For sale
    £3,995 £3,995
  • 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

    £12,995 £12,995

    *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. A stunning Ford Capri Mk2 1600L with just 32,431 miles. EQUIPMENT All steel welded integral construction, safety glass all round, rectangular sealed beam headlamps, anti-burst locks, bright bumpers with rubber inserts, bright finish driver’s door mirror, bright metal window side mouldings, safety steering wheel, wood effect instrument surround, water temperature gauge, warning lights for alternator, oil pressure, main beam and direction indicators, heated rear window, aluminium scuff plates. Factory options; Bright finish passenger side door mirror. Dealer options; Cadulac bodywork preservation treatment, load compartment cover. EXTERIOR This outstanding Ford Capri 1600L is finished in original Signal Yellow, (Code 9). The delightfully period colour and vibrant paint finish is fantastic with a deep uniform shine. All panels are original including the sills and date stamped front wings, and factory weld seams are clearly identifiable. The trim sections and brightwork are in superb order, as is the correct pre blue oval ‘FORD’ badging to the grille and boot lid and 1.6 wing badges. The glass is etched with the registration number and the inner door sills have the original Ford badges, non-gel replicas, and Cadulac bodywork preservation bungs. This example will delight and fascinate any enthusiast seeking an unmolested and very genuine Mk2 Capri. INTERIOR The interior of this 1600L is spotlessly clean and in fantastic order. The Black Fabric seat coverings, (Code A1), are fully intact with matching vinyl door cards. The dashboard with wood effect instrument surround is in perfect order, as is all switchgear and the thin safety padded steering wheel. All controls, functions and gauges are fully operational. The original loop pile carpeting and fully intact perforated headlining remain in very good condition, and the seat belt assemblies even have the factory stickers still attached. The clean boot area has the original Ford jack and optional super rare load compartment cover. The observant will notice the factory paint code sticker in the boot reads Canary Yellow, (Code XSC 1034), which is correct for a Cologne built Signal Yellow Capri. A wonderfully nostalgic and comfortable classic Ford interior. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION The standard 1600cc OHC engine develops a quoted 72bhp at 5200rpm to offer modern traffic competing capabilities with a top speed of 97mph and 0-60 in 14.2 seconds. The immaculate engine bay is strictly standard and displays factory plates and stickers as well as clearly prominent wing date stamps and the original chassis stamp to the offside inner wing. The four speed synchromesh gearbox is light and precise. A well maintained and low mileage Capri that drives as good as it looks! WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES The factory fitted sports road wheels in the correct silver with black infills and centre caps are superb with only minor imperfections. Matching branded 165/80 R13 tyres have excellent tread remaining. The hydraulic dual-line servo assisted brakes with front discs and rear drums bring the car up straight and true. HISTORY FILE Built in August 1977 at the Cologne plant in West Germany and registered new on 12th October 1977 by Ford Main Agents, UBM Motors Limited of Exeter, this Mk2 1600L has had just three former keepers and covered a verified 32,431 miles from new. An original purchase invoice made out to first owner, Mr G L Mackie, reveals a purchase price of £3,163.46 less a part exchange allowance of £1,823.46 for his Mk2 Escort 1300GL Estate! Incredibly, Mr Mackie owned the car until 2001 and throughout his ownership maintenance was carried out by the supplying Ford Main Dealer with 18 invoices in the history file from them. Furthermore, the colossal and beautifully presented history folder holds a huge collection of service receipts in chronological order along with virtually every MOT dating back to 1985. There is even a maintenance log dating back to 1978 including entries relating to oil changes in pint measures! The remarkable level of care and dedication bestowed upon this Capri is clearly evident in both the condition of the car and the amazing history file. This exceptional example just as Ford intended is unmissable for anyone searching for one of the best unrestored Mk2 Capri’s in existence. MOT May 2018, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please copy the link below: https://youtu.be/Vg3NyKHwOuw To see a complete set of photographs of this car please copy the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHskYzQQNM '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: 32431 mi
    • Engine size: 1.6
    For sale
    £12,995 £12,995
  • Ford Capri II JPS 1975

    €19,950(£17,831.31) €19,950(£17,831.31)

    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(£17,831.31) €19,950(£17,831.31)
  • Ford Capri

    £17,955 £17,955

    *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 truly stunning Ford Capri 3.0S professionally restored to show standard. EQUIPMENT Overriders, S bodyside tape stripe, black passenger door mirror, black rear spoiler, black louvred grille, halogen headlamps, integral front spoiler, tailgate wash/wipe, integral rear fog lamp, sports gearshift knob, quartz clock, trip meter, tachometer, ammeter, oil pressure gauge, handbrake warning light, heated rear window, aeroflow face level vents, two-speed heater, instrument rheostat, courtesy light. Factory Options: Remote control drivers door mirror, steel tilting/sliding roof, tinted glass. EXTERIOR This legendary and genuine Capri 3.0S finished Ford Oyster Gold boasts an impeccable appearance with a perfect mirror paint finish. The subject of an extensive full restoration by renowned and highly respected East Sussex based Restore-A-Ford in 2011, the resulting achievement is simply amazing with the original 3.0S being soda blasted as a starting point. A fully detailed underside will delight the avid enthusiast on the show circuit with colour coded anti-chip coating and powder coated components laid bare in full splendour. Rare factory options such as the steel tilting/sliding roof and tinted glass remain fitted along with all exterior trim items and decals being pristine and factory correct. This very rare, sporting, top-of-range for performance Capri simply breathtaking. INTERIOR This iconic models interior is distinguished by seats fully trimmed in the Chocolate/White Carla fabric (code A1) with Chocolate Savannah fabric surrounds. The upholstery is spotlessly clean and free from wear as is the matching deep pile carpeting, brand new at the time of restoration. The three spoke leather sports steering wheel looks factory fresh, and all controls and gauges fully function including the two-speed heater fan and analogue quartz clock. The soft feel dashboard is free from cracks, however two tiny splits to the outer surface around the offside A pillar can be seen and the rear package tray is not fitted. The perforated headlining is clean, tight and free from discolouration. This fantastic 1970’s interior remains exactly true to Ford’s intentions, truly brilliant. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION With a choice of three engines this model is fitted with the range-topping Essex 3000 V6 with twin choke carburettor. A power output of 138bhp at 5000rpm enables a top speed of 124mph and a 0-60 dash in 8.0 seconds. A manual choke conversion has been carried out. Raising the bonnet reveals a fully detailed and polished engine compartment with chassis stampings and imposing Essex lump dressed in Ford Motorcraft service items. An intoxicating burble through the stainless steel exhaust system is very addictive! The 4-speed manual gearbox with synchromesh to all forward gears operates correctly. The correct sports gearshift knob is the finishing touch. WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES Brand new 7 x 13in JBW RS4 alloys are shod in new 205/60 R13 branded tyres. The pristine detailed boot area houses the factory supplied standard Ghia style alloy spare and an almost unobtainable original jack with Ford Emblem and part number stamped. An uprated braking system with 2.8 injection components enables swift and steady stopping capabilities. HISTORY FILE Registered new on 1st August 1979 and representing the ultimate desirable model by collectors, the Capri 3.0S is the most difficult car you promised yourself due to the rarity of the model. The fully documented professional restoration carried out by respected Restore-A-Ford speaks for itself and offers a complete insight as to all works carried out with no less than 244 labour hours quoted, but exceeded due to the owners quest for the perfect Capri. Numerous invoices, previous MOT certificates and documentation is included. Last sold by KGF Classic Cars and likely to appeal to a Ford aficionado who is keen to enjoy the show scene and wants to dazzle the crowds with this prime example. MOT January 2018, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please click on the link below: https://youtu.be/NoFDEsiTAOQ To see a full set of photographs of this car please click on the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHskh54thK '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: 1979
    • Mileage: 88186 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
    £17,955 £17,955