• Cosworth 2.9-litre 24-valve BOA engine • Period KAT Designs bodykit • Desirable Recaro interior in Shark Grey • Beautiful Imperial Blue metallic paintwork
It’s often said that the Capri was Ford of Europe’s muscle car; a riposte to the no-substitute-for-cubes Stateside vee-eight wars, refracted through a smaller-scale European filter.
You can see the logic of this – while the elegant Mk1 Capri was a sylph-like ballet dancer of a thing, the third iteration of the breed, having dabbled with the meaty Essex V6 before embracing the fuel-injected snorting of the Cologne motor, was an overtly muscular creation.
Broad hips, bonnet bulge, a propensity to rock from side-to-side while idling, it’s little wonder that people have been shoving greater swells of horsepower into them over the years, it helps the Capri to fulfil its destiny.
A modifier’s favourite for sure – and you can park the cliched references to Del Trotter’s Pratmobile, these desirable coupes were hot property among the tuning community throughout the seventies, eighties and nineties; today it’s often the case that restorers reverse modifications and return them to stock, but when you find an example that was modified in period, to a high standard, and that quality work has stood the test of time… well, that’s a rare thing indeed.
The current owner has had this car for around twenty years, and as such is a real fount of knowledge when it comes to the details of the Capri. It already had the bodykit fitted when he bought it, the work being carried out by renowned specialists Tickover – and it’s a bodykit with an interesting story behind it.
You may be familiar with the Tickford Capris, which were officially marketed in period as a sort of luxury upgrade to the Capri, with the aerodynamic bodykit designed by Aston Martin Tickford. Well, the chap who designed the kit, Simon Saunders, later went on to found his own company, KAT Designs, and started producing an aftermarket package for the Capri that looked very similar to the Tickford kit; so similar, in fact, that Tickford actually entered into legal proceedings to stop him producing and selling them!
So the KAT bodykit you see fitted to this car isn’t just a collection of fibreglass, it’s a slice of history. The car later received a full repaint in Imperial Blue, which is the shade you’d find on the Mk1 Focus RS. And perhaps the most important part of the package is that the V6 under the bonnet isn’t the usual 12-valve 2.8-litre Cologne that you might expect to see; it’s a Cosworth BOA, a 24-valve motor which swelled the Cologne to 2.9-litres and added aluminium DOHC heads. A formidable package of style and substance.
Sadly, however, the owner has found himself using the car less and less in recent years, so it makes sense to sell it to someone who’ll give it the love and attention it deserves. There’s a deep emotional attachment here, and the seller is very keen that his Capri find the right home!
The V5 is present, confirming this to be a 1984 car with the engine swap correctly registered. Unfortunately the bulk of the car’s paperwork has gone astray over the years, although it’s pleasing to note that the owner does have the paperwork from Tickover when the modifications were carried out. The Capri has a current MOT, expiring in October 2021.
The interior of the Capri has worn remarkably well over the decades. Some years ago, the owner went to great lengths to track down a 2.8i-spec Recaro half-leather interior in Shark Grey, and the seats in this car – bought from an enthusiast in North London – are in great condition.
Naturally there’s a little wear to the leather on the bolsters, but no holes, rips, tears or damage, and the fabric centres are fine too. The front seats both recline properly to allow access to the back, and the split/fold rear bench is good. The matching door cards are in great condition, and the car must have been garaged for a lot of its life as the dash-top isn’t full of cracks as they so often are.
The carpets are in decent condition, as is the headlining – except for a small rip at the rear on the driver’s side. Astoundingly, the original factory-fit Ford stereo is still in place (and that’s something you almost never find in a Capri). You’ll spot that the clock in the centre console has been replaced by a digital unit, although the owner does have the original clock which can be refitted easily enough.
The central locking works, and so does the alarm system.
The steering wheel is a genuine 1970s Momo item, and a starter button has been fitted which is hidden inside the central ashtray. The parcel shelf is missing, although these are actually readily available to buy via The Capri Club, and not expensive. It’s all dry and solid in the boot floor beneath the carpets and spare wheel. The full-width trim piece inside the tailgate has come loose, but the part is present and complete so just needs reattaching.
Well, what a striking machine this is. The KAT bodykit is a thoroughly eye-catching addition, and all the more desirable for the fact that it’s a proper period kit and it’s all present and complete.
There are one or two small cracks here and there, and a little chunk of fibreglass that’s come adrift toward the rear of the passenger-side sill, but this would all be easily remedied by someone who knows their way around a tub of fibreglass. The Imperial Blue paint is lovely across the car, and really sparkles in the sunshine.
What’s most impressive about this Capri is the lack of corrosion. There are one or two very, very minor bits of surface rust here and there (such as at the bonnet edge near the passenger-side headlights, and across the slam panel in the engine bay), but it does all appear to be remarkably solid – including the wheelarches, which are often a weak spot.
The owner tells us that one of the first things he did when he bought it was to get it up on a ramp, unbolt everything and fully waxoyl the car, and this work appears to have paid dividends: while you’d naturally expect to find a little surface corrosion on the underside and its components, it all looks very straight and decent under there.
The light lenses are all good, as is the window glass – the rubber window seals have perished a little, although this is only to be expected. A perfectionist may wish to fill the apertures in the front bumper with a pair of spotlights, but this is very easy to achieve.
The car wears a set of period Wolfrace alloy wheels, which are all in very good condition, aside from the driver’s-side rear wheel which has some of the chrome lifting – shouldn’t be a tricky refurb to sort that out though. The tyres could probably do with replacing, as while they have decent tread they are somewhat perished. (Nothing to fear there – it’s a readily available size, and quality names like Goodyear, Continental or Pirelli offer them for about £50 apiece.)
On the whole, aside from some very minor points indeed, this is a well-presented Capri, and all the more desirable for its fabulous period modifications.
The 24-valve Cosworth V6 engine has been a popular swap for the Capri for many years now, and it makes a lot of sense. While this 2.9-litre V6 first debuted in the Mk3 Granada, its basic architecture was that of the Cologne 2.8-litre V6 which had been in use in the Capri for many years – so this isn’t a radical engine swap, but simply an evolution.
The Cosworth upgrades, aside from slightly increasing the displacement, involved swapping from single-cam to DOHC heads, making it a 24- rather than 12-valve layout; the heads were aluminium and, working with uprated Mahle pistons, the compression ratio was markedly raised. The conrods were also replaced with strengthened items, the crankshaft was fillet-rolled and had balance weights added.
These early Cosworth-built engines were designated BOA, and raised the Cologne’s power from 150bhp to 195bhp – a mighty increase. This particular one may be sporting a few more horses than that, thanks to its custom stainless steel exhaust system. Whereas the BOA would have been mated to an auto ’box in its native environment, here it’s working with the Capri’s own 5-speed manual, which makes it extremely entertaining to drive.
The front brakes have always been a Capri weak spot, but there’s nothing to worry about with this one as the owner has upgraded the front end to run quality Hi-Spec 4-pot calipers with grooved discs, which do a much more reassuring job of hauling the thing up.
The owner assures us that the car runs and drives very well, with no issues to report with the steering or suspension, although he would like to point out a potential electrical issue that causes the battery to drain when parked up for long periods. Something for the new owner to add to their to-do list, but by no means a deal-breaker. Aside from the engine needing a service, the bones are very good here.
This really is a rare and desirable find. Not one for the purists perhaps, but for those who know what they’re looking at, this is an outstanding opportunity.
First of all, there’s the period bodykit, a proper KAT kit that the old-school fans will be more than familiar with. Then there’s the quality of the interior, resplendent in glorious Shark Grey Recaro finery. And then, of course, there’s the fact that it’s running a BOA – an engine that pays tribute to that which would have been fitted from the factory, but takes it on an evolutionary journey with oodles of extra valves, extra cams, extra horses.
The cherry on top of this particularly delicious cake is that it’s a properly solid and honest car too – not one that’s going to have be stripped and stuck on a spit straight away, but one that’s got all the right bits and no hidden nasties that we’re aware of. Heck, with some very minor tidying you could spend the summer scooping trophies at classic car shows!
Adventure awaits with this one, and we have to say we’ll be more than a little envious of whoever puts in the winning bid…
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