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ROAD TEST – 1974 FORD CAPRI 3000 GHIA

Posted by wp-admin on 17th February 2017

In the wake of the 1973 Fuel Crisis, and in response to customer feedback, Ford decided to make the Capri a more practical daily driving propostion. Although the same length overall as the MkI, the MkII had a shorter bonnet and a longer cabin. It also had a liftback tailgate to allow more practical access to the boot. Stylistically the original Capri’s chrome, Rostyle wheels and air vents were ditched in favour of more modern alloy wheels, a vinyl roof, black plastic trim and a more ‘Seventies colour pallette. Inside the interior became more luxurious on all models and the extensive engine range was rationalised, although it still spanned between a 1.3-litre Crossflow Kent engine and a three-litre Essex V6.

It’s the latter that is sitting under the (shortened but still prominent) bonnet of this Sebring Red MkII Capri, mated to an automatic gearbox. Not only does it benefit from the top mechanical specification but it also represents the top trim level. In keeping with the drive to make the Capri more luxurious the MkII was made available in Ghia trim, which leaves this one with black vinyl padding on all surfaces, sculpted cloth bucket seats front and rear, a full set of dials, a radio and a floor-mounted clock. In fact this Ghia goes a little further as it was a special order from Dagenham, featuring a black headlining to match the rest of the interior (instead of the standard light grey one).

So this Capri was unique when it was new, and to that can be added that it is well in the running for being the most original MkII Capri left today. ‘Seventies Fords were never known for their long-term resistance to rust but this one must have been religously kept clean and dry. The wheelarches, both sides of the inner wings, the sills and the rear suspension mounts still show flawless and original factory paint. The vinyl roof has no tears or wrinkles. The interior trim is all pristine and unfaded. Even little details like the ‘II’ sticker surrounding the Capri badge on the tailgate are present and correct.

ON THE ROAD
This Capri drives as well as it looks. The three-litre V6 makes a noise not entirely unlike an all-iron V8 – especially when pushed hard at low speeds – which makes this Capri a credible minature Mustang. The automatic gearbox and the luxurious interior also make this Capri Ghia more of a minature GT than a sports coupé, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a rewarding drive.

The straight-line performance is strong – especially if you manually select the lower gears on the selector or use the kick-down – and the power delivery is smooth across the rev range. When pushed the ‘box will let the tachometer needle swing right around the dial while when driven less extravagantly the V6 wuffles away to itself and is happy to shift into top gear at 2000rpm or so. The steering is also very sporting. For all its luxuries the Capri still wasn’t available with power steering in 1974 and the steering wheel was made smaller on the MkII. This makes the steering heavy but quick-geared.

As you’d expect this Capri drives with that indefinable ‘togetherness’ of a very original car. There are no rattles from the interior or unpleasant noises from the undercarriage and the car tracks straight and true at all times.

VERDICT
Classic Fords continue to rise inexorably in both desirability and price, even previously spurned models like the MkII Capri. I’m sure that any Ford enthusiast would jump at the chance to own such a well-preserved example of a car like this, that is rare in both this condition and specification.

TECH SPEC
ENGINE:
2994cc
POWER: 138bhp
TOP SPEED: 115mph                                  
0-60mph:
10.8 secs
ECONOMY: 23mpg
GEARBOX: 3-spd auto

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