28 April 2016
1971 Ford Capri Mk 1 3000 GT XLR automatic
Why We Like It
It looks as sharp as the suit of the man Ford’s advertising agency imagined driving it back in 1971 – a man of action, with sideburns. This car’s apparently exceptional condition, its rarity and claimed 34,000 miles explain the price, as do rocketing Capri values. Find it here on ebay.
What is it?
The Capri was Ford’s Mustang in miniature for Europeans, the company keen to repeat the massive success enjoyed by the original pony car on the other side of the Atlantic. Its chief designer was one Phillip T Clark, who had worked on the 1964 Mustang, and like its American inspiration, the Capri borrowed the mechanicals of an ordinary family saloon, in this case the Cortina.
Front ¾ view
‘Capri: The Car You Always Promised Yourself’, as Ford’s ad agency cleverly announced it, was often a lot more affordable than it looked, being offered with engines as small as a 1300. But this 1971 example comes with the top-of-the-range 3.0 V6 (known as the Essex V6 to distinguish it from Ford of Germany’s entirely different Cologne V6) which produced 145bhp and a more promising 191lb ft of torque. It’s also fitted with the optional three-speed automatic.
Being an XLR, this particular Capri combines all the features of Ford’s modular ‘L’, ‘X’ and ‘R’ option packs, making it particularly desirable.
The basic L pack included the Capri’s trademark dummy air scoops on the sides, bumper overriders, a chrome exhaust pipe finisher (missing from this car), a locking fuel cap and chrome bodyside mouldings. The X pack upgraded the interior with reclining front seats, individually contoured rear seats, twin horns, an additional interior light and – no panting now - a ‘handbrake on’ warning light. This car has all these things, and more…
... including the Capri Custom Plan R, which sounded as dramatic as a military operation. This package larded on RoStyle wheels, quartz halogen foglights (with covers), a leather-bound steering wheel, a maplight on a flexible stem (just the job for finding your way out of the Calais ferry terminal) and a matt black finish to the bonnet, tail panel and grille, although you could delete these boy-racer flourishes.
This Maize yellow Capri does without the matt black bonnet, but the black tail panel and grille are present, along with those foglights. Bundle the three packages, and Ford would reward you with XLR badges on the car’s flanks, as flaunted on this car.
Second dashboard shot
What it also flaunts is an automatic transmission, which must have added to an already fat bill on January 1 1971, the day this car was registered. It was topped, literally, with a Webasto sunshine roof, which appears to be in very sound condition and blends neatly with the factory vinyl roof. All of which would have made this car the talk of Acacia Avenue 46 years ago.
This car’s seats look to be in remarkably good condition, as do the door cards, centre console and main dashboard moulding. A period-correct radio is also fitted. It’s difficult to see black carpets in a black interior, but wear and fade should be light.
The vendor says that the car was restored by Capri Care, a specialist based in Milton Keynes. This company is said to have confirmed the mileage as genuine to the current owner, who says that the dash and steering wheel show signs of wear commensurate with low miles.
Capri Care repainted the car, the seller saying that the paint remains unmarked ‘with a deep shine’. No rust or filler are said to be present, which is rare for a Capri. Common corrosion areas were the front strut suspension towers – all are oxide-free according to the seller, who adds that the wheels and tyres are ‘as new’. Also new are the steering rack and front shock absorbers, and there’s a full-length stainless steel exhaust. This looks to be the only deviation from standard, Webasto roof excepted, twin exit pipes replacing the single pipe with chrome finisher that Ford would have originally provided.
The car is said to drive ‘perfectly’. The engine bay looks as clean as the rest of the car, the 3.0 V6 a rather unglamorous-looking device despite its reputation for endowing the Capri with plenty of grit-spitting go. The slam panel and inner wing seams look correct, and there’s no sign of any fluid leakage.
Other than the exhaust and sunshine roof, the car is ‘totally standard’, its seller says, and comes with period silver-on-black number plates and a pleasingly short, single number registration. The car was featured in a December 2010 edition of Classic Car weekly, when it was on sale at £12,000 with 32,170 miles covered.
This article described the bodywork as ‘outstanding’, with panel gaps that were probably better than new. It would appear that the vendor has done a fine job of maintaining the car in this condition.
1969-74 (Capri Mk 1)
Make and model:
Ford Capri 3000 GT XKR automatic
191 lbs ft
0 - 60mph:
How many left:
15 taxed, 12 SORN