Ford Capri The Ultimate Guide To Buying Used.

Lord  Banks By Lord Banks, 27th Aug 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Transport>Cars

This is a must read article for anyone who is serious about buying the modern day classic Ford Capri. I have owned six in my tenure. I am also a trained Motor Mechanic I hope my insight helps you. Find the Ford 'Saturday Night Special'

Ford Capri the ultimate guide to buying used.

Ford Capri the ultimate guide to buying used.

I for one didn’t think I would ever have to write this article? As a young Motor Mechanic the Ford Capri was an everyday car for ‘Boy Racers’ Or as Ford like to caption it ‘The car you always promised yourself’ or the ‘Saturday Night Special’ I had my name on the DVLA Log Book of six Ford Capri’s they were in CC (Cubic Capacity) listings. Capri MK I 1.6GT in Daytona Yellow. Capri MK III 1.6 Laser in Panther Black. Capri MK II 2.0 GL in Sierra Silver. Capri MK III 2.0 S in Champagne Gold. Capri MK III 2.8I in Silver. Capri MK III 3.0S in British Racing Green Metallic.

So what I hear you cry? I only list these cars so you can at least see I have owned and worked on several examples covering all the Marques of Capri built. I am also a qualified Motor Mechanic. Now that is out of the way I can continue with information for you.

So I take it that you are considering buying a used Ford Capri. Great I hope you find one and have hours of fun restoring your retro modern classic which is the Ford Capri. I obviously have no idea of your driving knowledge? and skill set? The Capri drives differently than the cars you are used to, if you are a young driver, say passing your driving test in the late 1990,s onwards. There are differences I must point out to you upon your test drive (Assuming its road worthy many for sale now are far from it!)

BRAKES. All Capri’s to my knowledge had servo assisted brakes including the weedy 1.3 CC versions. Capri’s have front disc brakes and rear drum brakes. When you test drive your Capri don’t be surprised if the brake pedal has more travel than you are used to when applying the brakes. Modern cars with disc brakes all round have less brake pedal travel and their action appears sharper. The larger engine versions such as the MK III 2.8I has very effective brakes when applied hard. However having no ABS braking the wheels will lock up and you will slide under emergency braking.

STEERING. Very many Capri’s you may test drive or look at with a view to purchasing will not have power steering. You will find this off putting as the steering is heavy especially on parking. I have gotten lazy and will not buy a car now without power steering. If you are like me you will need to look for a 3.0 S or 3.0 Ghia model in MK II or MK III plus the MK III 2.8I. This is a guide line there are 3.0 examples without power steering so ask before you turn up.

CLUTCH. The Capri has a standard 3-piece clutch system. However it is cable operated which is not the norm now and the cables become heavy and do break. The clutch will ‘Bite’ higher than you are used to. This is normal. However if the clutch judders or slips it requires replacement. In my experience the clutch on the larger CC Capri’s will slip even when brand new if you red line the engine and pull away several times (Or was that me being a boy racer?)

TRANSMISSION. The Capri was available in Manual 4 speed gearbox and 5 speed manual. Automatic 3 speed gearboxes were fitted even on the 1.6 CC versions. There were several different types of manual gearboxes fitted. They were all good and should change gear easily all be it with a long travel by today’s standards. If the gearbox crunches its worn just the same as in modern cars. The gearboxes are getting to be rare now so good luck. The automatic gearboxes were ok but at around 70,000 miles they were worn out. Look out for harsh changing through the 3 gears and slippage under heavy acceleration.

AXLES. All Capri’s are rear wheel drive and use the standard Ford axle of the day. In MK1 Capri variants there are different final drive ratios so be careful if you replace one. The GT and GXL models had a higher ratio axle to help with top speed. The MK II and MK III 3.0 S and GT models used the Ford ‘Salisbury’ axle. This axle is excellent in coping with the power of the V6 Capri but does wear. half shaft bearings and differential support bearings wear. Beware of whining axles which is a common fault on all Capri’s. From 1983 onwards the Capri 2.8I had a mechanical limited slip differential which also wore out if thrashed. These are very expensive to repair or replace now.

ENGINES. Ford used the Kent. The Essex. The Cologne. And the Pinto engines in their Capri’s. All of these engines are good in my opinion. Of course as with any engine they wear out. Look for excessive blue smoke on all the above engines and excessively loud valve gear on the Pinto particularly which indicates a new camshaft is required. The 3.0 Essex engine is very popular and sort after. The engine suffers from worn oil control rings at around 70,000 miles and the timing gears can shear on early engine models. The 2.8 Cologne engine has slightly noisy valve gear even when they were new. Unless excessive this shouldn’t put you off your purchase. The Cologne engine doesn’t normally smoke it is a strong engine and will do 100,000 miles with any serious trouble.

BODYWORK. Now this is really the Capri’s Achilles heal. The Capri will rust just about anywhere! You name it rusts. The common places are front wings inner and outer. Rear wheel arches on all the versions without exception. Floor pans rust on all models. Doors can rust but not to the same extent. A pillars rust as do scuttle panels. Doors have actually fallen off Capri’s due to A pillar corrosion so beware. The A pillar can be changed but is a very expensive repair.

INTERIOR. I am afraid to say they wear badly. All 1970/80.s cars interiors were not made to the same standard as modern cars. Dashboards crack on the Capri and the heater fan is notorious for giving up the ghost and is a pain to change requiring stripping the whole dashboard. Vinyl was heavily used in early Capri seats and is very expensive to repair. Replacements just don’t exist anymore. Some sports model Capri’s had Recaro seats and are very sort after and cars are stolen for them beware.

RARE EXAMPLES. There are a few that are rare and are worth looking out for in my opinion they are. MK I 2.0 GT V4 Capri (The V4 Ford unit was very unpopular and only fitted for a limited period) MK I 3.0 E Capri. MK I 3.1 RS Capri. MK II JPS 2.0 & 3.0 Capri. MK III 2.8I Brooklands Special Capri. Also very rare the MK II 2.3 V6 Ghia Capri. If I haven’t mentioned your favourite I’m sorry the above are rare as they were only produced in limited No’s

IN GERNERAL. Capri’s are only going up in value now and have been since 2000 onwards. How much to pay for a good example depends on you? The older the car the more expensive. MK I Capri’s are so rare in good condition you can pay over £10,000 far more than Ford ever imagined for their ‘Saturday Night Special’. MK III 2.8I models are available and are still reasonably priced from £1.000 to £10,000 a really good example with minimal faults should set you back £5,000.

PROS & CONS. Owning a Capri used to be inexpensive as the parts were cheap and readily available. Today the parts are specialist only and body parts are expensive and interior parts do not exist! Performance wise you must opt for the 3.0 or 2.8i any other is slow by modern standards. Remember the Capri weighs just shy of one Ton. For me the Pro’s are head turning style. Whether you agree with me or not. Because of their age now the Ford Capri is rare and they do turn heads. Driving a V6 Capri is enormously addictive. The Capri in 3.0 version has bags of torque low down in the rev range and you can drop down to 15 mph in 3rd gear and accelerate reasonably quickly. That same gear will take you to 90 mph! its like driving an automatic.

Modern cars seem to have very similar styling. Something the Capri was never accused of. You sit low down in a Capri and the bonnet seems to go on forever. It is a real drivers car and needs to be not taken for granted. It will give you hours of pleasure. If you do buy the V6 version on a hot summers day unwind your windows and put your foot down. There really is nothing like the sound of a V6 Capri at full chat!


A Pillar, Bodywork, Essex Engine, Ford Capri, Kent Engine, Pinto Engine, Pinto Engine Ford, Rust

Meet the author

author avatar Lord Banks
I am 46 years old. I was born in London and have lived in various counties around the UK. I presently live in Yorkshire. By trade I am a qualified Vehicle Engineer. I have been writing since my school days. I specialise in WWII aircraft. My blog pag...(more)

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author avatar vpaulose
27th Aug 2011 (#)

Thank you for this nice page on cars dear Lord Banks.

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