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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 cars for sale

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Ford Capri
1 19950 GBP
  • Ford Capri Coupe 1972

    POA POA

    *** THIS CAR HAS BEEN SOLD *** Please contact us if you were interested in this car. Our inventory is constantly changing and we will have similar examples of this model becoming available soon. ----------------------------- Ford Capri 2600 GT XLR 1972, restored, for fans 1972 Ford Capri 2600 GT XLR. Originally delivered in Holland and owned by a fan. Optical and technical restored and in fabulous condition. Paint is light blue with black top and a black/grey interior. Paint, chrome and interior are in a fabulous and well maintained condition. The car has the original 2550CC V6 125 HP engine and manual gearbox. Car also has a RVS exhaust, extra high beam headlights, original leather steering wheel etc. So a very rare, very beautiful Ford Capri 2600 GT XLR. Car has Holland title and Holland mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1972
    For sale
    E&R Classic Cars
    +31 416 751393 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • FORD CAPRI 2.0 Ghia 1979

    £14,995 £14,995

    This Ford Capri has covered just 26,000 miles and is a previous concours winner with plaque to prove. The Capri is finished in Apollo green with a brown cloth Ghia interior. Supplied new in Dec 79 at Polar Ford Barnsley,(bill of sale present) the first owner a Mr Richmond kept her for 12 years covering approx 19,000 miles. Then Mr Grant took ownership for the next 25 years where he used the Capri occasionally for weekends and classic car shows.However, the speedo head failed and was changed for a brand new one on the 1st April 1992, (the invoice and old speedo head is still boxed and with the car). This brings the mileage up to date at 6650. The car appears to have been declared sorn and unused for a few years, again in the second keepers ownership. The original Polar Ford bear still sits on the parcel-shelf along side the dealer sticker and the original tax disc holder is still on the windscreen (the old tax discs are now displayed in its history file). Two sets of keys are present again, complete with Polar Ford key fob. Under bonnet/boot is original and in show condition, and smells distinctly of a 1970s Ford. Starts and drives superb, wheels are original and they look to have been refurbished at some point. Tyres are original. The sunroof tilts and slides like the very first time is was first opened just perfect. Passed MOT without anything advised in March. Also, at the same time it has had a new cam-belt and service. Absolutely any inspection is welcome. Viewing is highly recommended and we know you won't be disappointed. All major debit and credit cards accepted. Please contact us for any further information. 01788 851261 / 07502 229616. www.taclassics.co.uk Delivery can be arranged

    • Mileage: 26000 mi
    For sale
  • 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
  • Ford Capri

    £6,000 £6,000

    1984 Approx 71,700 Miles. MOT until April 2018. Recent engine rebuild, Webber rebuild by specialist. Recent new clutch, water pump, discs, pads, timing belt, spray bar, new battery, parcel shelf, gas struts, rear steel bumper, cam bearings, hydraulic pipe to rear breaks, radiator. Aldon Flamethrower coil fitted. Air horns. Head polished through. £6000. Please call Tony on 07977138126.

    • Year: 1984
    • Mileage: 71700 mi
    • Engine size: 2
    For sale
    James Rowley
  • Ford Capri

    £1 £1

    Our bumpers are made of stainless steel, grade 304, 1.5-2mm thickness and polished. Using our products, you needn't care about its quality. The bumpers never get rusty, so you can use it for a long time. I think this is one of the most important things you are thinking before buying a product. For any additional information or inquiry, please do not hesitate to contact me any time. Ms. Cathy Sale Departments Email: ptt-cathy@sgbumperscar.com

    • Year: pre 1900
    For sale
    Cathy Ta
  • Ford Capri II JPS 1975

    €19,950(£17,903.13) €19,950(£17,903.13)

    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
  • 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
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