1976 Ford Capri L – Classified of the Week

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By Chris Pollitt

The Ford Capri is, make no mistake, a legendary machine. It was, as Ford put it, the car you always promised yourself. It was a hairy-chested, cigarette smoking, gold-chained symbol of ‘60s machismo. It was our Mustang, and it was our muscle car. It still stands as one of the greats, a car thrashed around by Bodie and Doyle, it’s a beast. Yet despite its staggering popularity, nobody ever seems to talk about the Mk2. 

Introduced in ‘73, the Mk2 was bigger, longer and wider than the somewhat dainty Mk1. It was a more solid and more purposeful machine. It was also a clever car, aimed more at everyday driving than spirited blasts. It boasted a hatchback (the first Ford to do so) making it practical, the cabin was bigger and could comfortably house four people. But it wasn’t a car that captured our imaginations quite like the Mk1. Thanks in part to its big, ‘Deirdre Barlow’ headlights that for some, were simply not in keeping with the style of the Mk1. The Mk2 was seen as being a bit too soft, it was a car that moved too far from what the original Mk1 represented. 

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Ford of course put this right with the Mk3, which thanks to its angry, sharp, quad-headlight face was seen as a more menacing, purposeful machine. The fast Mk1 versions had quad headlamps, after all. 

When the Mk3 came along (which really was just a Mk2 face lift) we forgot all about the Mk2. The second Capri simply never enjoyed the popularity of the third, despite some impressive models like the mighty 3.0S (our Editor used to have one, as it happens). As such, values tumbled and many Mk2s went the way of the scrap yard in favour of the Mk3. Sad times. 

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That’s why this week’s classified of choice is a Mk2. It’s lovely to see one these days, but to see one in such incredible condition is on another level. This ‘76 1.6L has been the subject of a complete restoration that was only finished late last year, and as such, is about as close as you can get to finding one in ‘as new’ condition. No panel has been missed, no bolt left untouched, no mechanical element ignored. It truly is a work of art. It might not be the most muscular, being a 1.6, but don’t let that put you off. The 1.6 Pinto engine is a wonderfully solid old lump, and as such, will never let you down. 

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We adore the Mk2 Capri. For us, the big, square headlights help to give it a bullet-nose kind of look. It’s sleek, it’s unfussy and it’s elegant. This is the perfect classic Ford in our eyes. You simply don’t need a V6, or go-faster stripes to celebrate the blue oval. 

At £9,000, this Capri also represents exceptional value. Looking at the quality of the restoration, we’d wager that more money than that has been put into it. Buy this, cherish it, and keep it in this condition and you’ll own one of Ford’s now rarest classics. Go on, do it. It is, after all, the car you always promised yourself.

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