The Ford Capri, or ‘the car you always promised yourself’ as Ford would describe it, was a hit from the off. It was the European Mustang, our very own little muscle car. Big engine up front, rear wheel drive, that impossibly long bonnet - it was a dream.
The Capri was unusual though, as unlike many other cars, it seemed to get better with age. The Mk1 was, as mentioned, a hit. But then so was the Mk2 and as of the late ‘70s, the Mk3. It was a car that evolved and shifted its personality as the year rolled by. As such, it was always fresh and exciting, it was never money for old rope. And Ford worked hard to achieve that. It kept the Capri modern, with flagship engines and specification, as can be found in the car we have here, namely a 2.8i Special.
Pub talk will see you arguing with two kinds of people. Those who love the Essex V6, or those who love this, the fuel-injected 2.8i Cologne V6. It’s a pointless argument though, as both were great engines. The 2.8i, however, was just a little bit more modern, more powerful and more refined. With 160bhp on tap being delivered to the rear wheels, the 2.8i was the right engine for the Capri. It was the engine that gave that power bulge on the bonnet some reason.
For many, the 2.8i was the Capri in its ultimate form, though that’s not to say Ford would happily leave it there. Instead, engineers gave us the car we have here, namely the 2.8i Special. But what makes it special? Well, there is some badging that says ‘special’ which is nice, oh, and a limited-slip differential, half leather trim, seven-spoke alloys and a five-speed gearbox.
This particular 2.8i Special is a 1986 model, and shows as having six owners. The current owner, who only acquired this car a few months back, is now looking for another enthusiast to take on custodianship as they have managed to procure a Capri 280 - much like buses, it would appear that Capris come in twos! However, the current owner’s Carpi-based timing means this 2.8i Special could be yours.
Finished in white with contrasting black details, this fetching Capri has clearly been loved over the years and presents as a solid, honest example of one of the most desirable Capri iterations. It’s largely in original condition, with the exception of an aftermarket (but period) head unit, and also that raised rear spoiler, which gives the car some attitude.
The car has been owned in the past by various Capri club members, and has been used as a toy for weekend drives and shows. The clocks show the car has covered 91,000 miles, which is backed up by looking at the online MOT history. Furthermore, the MOT history reveals that this Capri has never been failed or even advised on anything relating to structural corrosion, which is a rare, rare thing in Ford terms. Sadly, the Capri was a car prone to rust, so to find one like this that has avoided that fate is a special thing indeed. See what we did there?
The MOT is history is largely drama free, with only minor niggles cropping up as either failures or advisories. An insecure battery at one point, which has been remedied. Corroded brake lines, which have since been replaced, tyres, brakes, the usual wear and tear stuff that comes from owning and enjoying a car. Certainly nothing to be concerned by. Furthermore, there is a current MOT in place until MOT of next year.
There is a smattering of paperwork to go with this Capri. The logbook is present, as is the current MOT certificate along with some past ones. There is also a small collection of invoices for parts and works carried out on the Capri over the years. New ignition equipment, a wheel refurbishment in 2018, a new fuel sender unit has been fitted, too. There is also paperwork to support repairs to the brakes along with replacement parts. Other paperwork includes documentation repeating to the stereo and the car’s past Capri Club international membership.
While not exhaustive, the paperwork included shows the car has been cared for. Certainly, the condition of the car itself is evidence of that. It’s a classic Ford that has some ‘life’ to it, but in order to get that life, it has to have been maintained well
Everything is present and correct, including the all important half-leather Recaro trim. Best described as honest, there is no sign of damage, nor of any poor repair. The carpets are in good order, the headlining too. The seats are free from rips and tears, and while there is some wear to the bolster on the driver’s seat, it’s not excessive nor is it holed - a common issue for these seats.
The dash is in good condition, and is free from the often found cracks caused by heat exposure. The clocks and dials all function and read clearly, and the leather trimmed steering wheel shows some life, but isn’t worn through or damaged.
Around the back, the boot is clean and importantly, dry. The rear hatch gas struts would benefit from replacement, as they are under a lot of load thanks to the additional rear spoiler. Aside from this though, the rear is a pleasing sight. The carpets are all present and correct, the plastics aren’t cracked or broken and under the wooden ‘floor’ there is a spare wheel, jack and absolutely no sign of corrosion to the metal structure of the car. Pleasing, given this is an old Ford.
The beauty here is that this particular Capri 2.8i Special is white, and white is not a colour that hides rust. In fact, it’s quite keen to show it. Look upon the pictures though, and you’ll find none of the typical telltale stains of corroding metal. The arches, the sills, the A pillars, the rear boot hinges, the wings, they’re all seemingly free of any corrosion. In fact, this Capri struck as being really rather solid indeed. The panels are all arrow straight, the gaps are uniform and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of past or substandard repair.
Is the car immaculate? No, but it is honest. And it’s a car you could quite proudly take to shows after spending a day polishing and cleaning. There is some slight corrosion coming through in the vent holes of the front valance, and there are some small imperfections here and there, but this is a car that has been driven and enjoyed, not pampered to death.
The black parts of the car - the bumpers, rubbing strips and so on were, we suspect, once white and have been painted black by a past owner. Admittedly, the black looks better, but the job isn’t brilliant, so this is perhaps something you may want to revisit. Also, the rear spoiler is showing some age in the form of surface cracks - but this is understandable given it’s just injection moulded foam that has been painted.
The all important seven-spoke alloy wheels are all present and correct, and the four on the car have all been refurbished in recent years (the spare has been painted white). All the glass is in good condition, as are all the lights and rubbers.
The Cologne 2.8i V6 springs into life on the first turn, and sounds delightful as it burbles along. There is no knocking or ticking from the engine, and it settles into an idle with ease and happily maintains a steady temperature. It’s definitely been looked after, as you can tell by the way it fires up, revs and by the way there is no smoke to be seen.
The transmission, a five-speed manual, works perfectly. The clutch has plenty of life in it, the change is clean and direct and there are no untoward noises to be heard when shifting gears. Oh, and the limited-slip differential seems to function, which is important is it makes this car!
The suspension is, again, in good order. No crashing or banging, and no unexpected feedback. The shocks seem to be in good health, and we could see no issues such leaks or corroded springs or anything like that. The same can be said of the steering, which is light, direct and without any excessive play.
Finally, there are the brakes. Recently overhauled, they do a superb job of bringing the car to a halt and do so without any change in direction or apparent fade. This is acr you can drive with confidence, most definitely.
Do we need to sell you on the idea of a classic Ford Capri in what many would say is the best specification? Probably not. But we’ll have a go anyway. This is a car that, at its core, is solid, honest and ready to be enjoyed. However, it’s also a car that you could treat as a starting block to build into something truly spectacular. Sort the tiny bits of surface rust out, clean up the engine bay, get the black trim painted professionally and you will be left with a car that turns all heads.
Or don’t. Just buy this and enjoy it as it is. It’s ready to go, MOTd and in excellent health, this could well be the perfect Ford Capri for the kind of person who wants to drive one often. It’s a car that has lived a life of being used, being driven and being enjoyed. It’s not a delicate, intimidating trailer queen. Instead, it’s a Capri that wants to… that should be used. And as such, it could well be the car you always promised yourself.
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