Published on March 2nd, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Used Classic Sports Car, The Ford Capri
When we were growing up there were very few dream cars we could hang on our wall and wonder when we could realistically own one. The one sports car that we loved was the Ford Capri, from Ford of England. This was the preferred sports car in all the popular English gangster TV shows and the car of choice by young British pop stars.
The Ford Capri arrived on the sports car scene in 1969. It started with a basic 1.6 liter 4 cylinder shared with its siblings, the Cortina and Escort in its first year. In 1970 displacement increased to the 2.0. It was light, handled well and was fairly quick and efficient.
The 1977 model year saw big changes in a new updated Capri II based model. The car grew in size and in refinement while retaining the original styling cues of the Mk II. It was now about the same size as the American Ford Mustang, a car considered a low point in Mustang performance, but had a interesting hatchback design that brought it closer in spirit to the Capri, despite being completely different cars in all respects. By this time only a few models of the Capri was available in Asia, mostly luxury based Ghias with 4 cylinders and sporty RS models with V6s.
The Ford Capri Mk III was rear wheel drive also, but came in a range of engine configurations from 1.3 litre fours up to a potent 3.0 litre V6. Ghia branded cars leaned toward luxury and comfort and were often 4 speed automatics. Sport oriented (and economy) models featured 4 and later 5 speed manual transmissions. Interestingly the European “RS” label was used in Asia while the sportier versions of the Capri in Europe were called “S” but were sold at Ford RS dealerships in Germany for instance.
Although there was never an official Cosworth Capri, many enthusiast owners have converted their cars to Cosworth specs by swapping out the 2.8 for a 2.9 litre 24V V6 that made an impressive 220 to 230 hp. These and other Cosworth/ Ford parts could be purchased at any UK dealership. For those wanting someone else to do the work, there was the Tickford Turbo with its German 2.8 tweaked for 205 hp. Ground effects and body colored wheels completed the boy racer look. The suspension was upgraded and the brakes to disc all around. Inside featured a loaded leather interior with all the luxuries a 80’s car could want. The modifications were hand built, making the Tickford the most expensive of the tuner versions at almost double the cost of the base Capri.
One of the rarest Capri’s was 1982’s 2.8 Turbo. Only 200 of these left hand drive only cars were built in Germany and distributed to German RS dealers. Like the Tickford, it featured custom (but more subdued) bodywork, special four spoke alloy rims and Ford Motorsport badges. A typical 2.8 turbo could reach 137 mph and do 0 to 60mph run in the low 7 second range. Although not custom per se, a version of the Capri built in England was called the Laser. It was right hand drive and was sold only in Britain. It featured many of the luxury and sport based options of the S model, but with smaller normally aspirated 1.6 and 2.0 4 cylinder engines.
The very last Capri was a limited run of cars called the 280. They were all Brooklands Green and featured a limited slip differential and leather Recardo interiors. These are perhaps the best performing and most refined Mk III Capris. They might also be the best looking as they had smart looking 15 inch seven spoke wheels and a red stripe along the side of the car. Ford intended to make a turbo version based on the 3.0, but as production was winding down, it became more feasible to use the 2.8, hense the name 280. By the time the last MK III rolled off the assembly line in 1987, Ford was making plans to pulling the plug on the Cortina and only the Escort and Fiesta was left to survive.