Paul Bussey road tests and reviews the Mk3 Ford Capri auto…
Designed by American Philip T. Clark, who was previously involved with Ford’s Mustang, the Ford Capri went on to enjoy a long production run, between 1969 and 1986, having first been launched at the Brussels Motor Show, where it was well received. The Capri’s running gear comprised of the already tried and tested MacPherson strut and coil spring suspension at the front, with rack and pinion steering and leaf springs to the rear, and a four-speed manual gearbox. In August 1973, the millionth Capri was built. Further development in the Mk2, in 1974, saw an opening tailgate replacing the boot lid. The Mk3 Capri was introduced in 1978 and sported four headlamps, a black slatted aeroflow grille, revised bumpers with plastic quarters and a choice of engines ranging from the 1.3-litre four-cylinder up to the V6. This sporty looking two-door coupe sold extremely well, with the very last car rolling off the production line in Cologne, in December 1986, with 1,886,647 built in total.
Exterior & Interior
This Mk3 Capri was originally supplied by the London Motor Company (Norwood) Ltd and is powered by a 2.0-litre engine, with automatic transmission, having had one lady owner from new up until 2015. It’s truly an exceptional example, with just over 35,000 miles from new on the clock, having been driven sparingly over its lifetime. The bright red paintwork is believed to be all original and remarkably well preserved not showing any signs of fading. Indeed, you have to look incredibly closely to find absolutely any fault with it. There’s a miniscule nick on the swage line of the passenger door, which was intended to be removed, but the process could have chipped the paintwork, so it was deemed to be left alone.
There is a tiny area of light surface rust on the front and rear valance which could very easily be remedied. In essence, this is a rock solid and corrosion free Capri. Opening the tailgate and looking underneath the boot floor cover (its black carpet still looks new) reveals the spare wheel well and surrounding area – the condition of which is as good as it left the factory. Similarly impressive is the clean and rust-free engine bay.
The interior is, again, in exceptionally original condition, with no tears to the beige upholstery and the door cards are like new, as are the carpets and headlining. No marks or scratches to the dashboard and the original Ford push button radio is still present. Even the quartz clock in the centre console is still working. It’s all most remarkable in every respect.
On the Road
The seating position is good, with a fine view of the instrumentation and road ahead. The automatic transmission shifter will be very familiar to a great many enthusiasts, who have driven other Ford models with automatic transmission. As we proceed down the road, we strain to hear/feel the gears changing and to be fair, this is the quietest auto shift that we have experienced in a very long time. The term ‘drives like new’ may well have been said a great many times before, but it’s very appropriate when describing what it’s like behind the wheel of this Capri! It’s quite extraordinary, we listen intently for whines, clonks, rattles, squeaks and maybe there’s a smidge of wheel wobble? But there aren’t any and the steering is perfectly balanced, being just a tad heavier when going around a roundabout at a slower speed. The engine performs willingly, the kickdown on the automatic works okay and it’s really hard to find anything negative to say about the test drive. It’s rather like taking a brand new ex-demonstrator out for a spin.
This is one of the finest Capris we have tested in a very long time, not only from the point of its superbly preserved exterior and interior, but from a driving point of view as well and it’s totally unmolested. You would probably have to spend an enormous amount of time trying to find anything remotely similar. A truly outstanding example that comes complete with original handbook, owners’ manual and a thick wad of old MOT certificates. The exhaust system looks newish, as does the petrol tank. Paradoxically, too good to use on a very regular basis? Well, that’s the prerogative of the next owner; either way, it has to be seen and is highly recommended!
Top Speed: 108mph
0-60mph: 12.3 secs
Gearbox: 3-speed automatic