15k Mile Survivor: 1979 Mercury Capri Turbo RS

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By 1978, the imported first-generation Mercury Capri was on its way out. For 1979, Mercury would roll out a new Capri, one that was based on the same Fox-Body that the new Mustang used. To many, this was a welcome change as the car was going back to the car’s pony car roots – and would now be built in the U.S. This first-year edition of the second generation looks to be in immaculate condition with very low miles. And it’s the desirable Turbo RS model. It’s available via a dealer in Stratford, Connecticut, and offered here on Hemmings Classifieds for $19,500.

The second gen of the Capri ran from 1979-86, in parallel with the similar Mustang. As with all Mercury products, the Capri had more amenities than its corporate cousin and was offered in a range of engine configurations and trim levels. The most sought after version more than 35 years later is the Turbo RS, like the seller’s car. The Turbo RS was the Capri equivalent of a Mustang GT. Mercury built about 110,000 Capri’s for 1979, with just 9,500 of them being the Turbo RS. Thanks to Four Eyed Pride for the production data.

The seller’s Turbo RS has little more than 15,000 miles on it and looks to have spent most of its time on earth hiding in a climate-controlled sanctuary. We’re told it’s been owned by the same party since new. The Merc is finished in gloss black paint which could be original, flanked by pinstriping, decals, and Turbo RS-specific badging. If there are any flaws with the body, they’re not mentioned or visible in the photos supplied. Perhaps even nicer is the tan interior of the car, which looks as though it’s hardly been used. It has a rich feel to it that’s reminiscent of some of Ford’s European cars. We’re old this Capri is in excellent mechanical condition, powered by a turbocharged 2.3-liter engine paired with a 4-speed manual transmission and a limited-slip differential.

There are a few 1979 Mercury Capri’s for sale on the net, but most of them are run-of-the-mill models that have been treated like used cars – and priced as such. The Turbo RS would command a premium, but we’re not sure by how much. The seller’s car was the highest priced Capri found for ‘79, but the only one with this kind of mileage and condition this car is in.

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  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TNMember

    Very nice. Don’t see the Fox Body Capri all that often, especially the early years. Attractive car in great shape, especially the interior which was prone to wear and deterioration of the plastics. Someone loved this car for decades, hope the next owner will do the same.

    Like 8
  2. MrvansMember

    Nice original, but that whale tail is out of place.

    Like 13
    • Greg Litfin

      That’s right, that whale tail was not a factory option.

      Like 0
  3. Robert Eden

    The RS Turbo cars are so rarely seen. This looks like a very nice example save for the spoiler.

    Like 7
  4. Sherminator

    Are you sure that interior photo isn’t from the sales brochure? Seriously, this is a beautiful and well kept example of the Fox body Capri, with the exception being the whale tail everyone else noted.

    Like 4
    • John Derossett

      This may be my car I had in 1979. Identical. Except for spoiler.

      Like 0
  5. irocrobb

    Granted it is a car you rarely,if ever see anymore but that sure seems like a lot of money to me. I liked them new and it still looks appealing to me. I do remember seeing a great number of these roaming the streets but most were the base model.

    Like 0
  6. Gary

    I bought one new in ‘79. Black on black with sunroof. Dealer ordered it for his son. It came with the decals under the hatch and I never put them on. After several trips to the various dealers for an engine noise that only I could hear and a couple of phone calls and letters to Ford the turbo let go at 33k miles. Ford replaced the turbo and most of the internals free of charge. Oiling problem was the determination. Despite that I loved the car. I added a shorter whale tail and front air dam and aftermarket wheels.

    Like 0
  7. Lance G Nord

    In 1981, I custom ordered an ’81 Capri Black Magic with T-tops and turbo (same Fox body). That car definitely turned heads… I loved the car even though it was a performance dog (compared to previously owned muscle cars). Sadly, the build quality sucked (the dark days of domestic automobile manufacturing). I had it in the shop at least a dozen times in the first six months. The most irritating issue being the window louver nutserts constantly stripping out.

    I was forced to sell it when I got divorced. It turned out to be a wise decision. I replaced it with a ’72 IH Scout II which seldom broke down and I ended up loving even more than the Capri.

    Like 4
  8. Russ Ashley

    I had a black Capri RS back in the mid-eighties that looked exactly like that, but mine had an in line six engine instead of the turbo four. I think I like mine better as it seldom gave trouble, and turbos weren’t that refined and/or durable back then. I bought it used for my wife and paid $1500 for it.

    Like 1
  9. A Shaw

    I purchased a 1979 Capri with a turbo 4 cylinder and put 125,000+ miles on it and never had any problems. It was dark grey with red interior and sun roof. It was a great car.
    I would consider buying this one but I think the price is too high. Asking more than I paid for mine in 1979.

    Like 0
  10. MarveH

    My bother had a 81 Capri 4 cylinder, 4-speed, beautiful car but a dog. He test drove a 79 Mustang turbo before he bought the Capri. The turbo was definitively old tech. Foot to the floor…nothing…nothing…nothing…boost!…and back to nothing.
    For you geeks, the 1979 Mustangs and Capris are the only year where the inside door handle is at the bottom of the door and the window winder has the plastic circle on the door panel.
    Also before you drill into the body of an old car to put some awful accessory on, stop, seek counseling, and search your conscience. Just don’t.

    Like 4
  11. lc

    I owned a 81 Mercury Capri with the 6 cylinder, but I can’t recall if it was the straight 6 or v6. My parents bought it for me in ’89 for $1600. I made monthly payments to them, and paid it off. I enjoyed it, and it ran good. The only major thing I had to replace was the clutch paw. I owned it for 10 years. During my four year stint in the Navy, my Mom drove it as a grocery getter. I finally sold it for only $500 to join the Coast Guard. Actually, I never joined the CG, and sold the car dirt cheap for nothing:(
    This black Capri looks nice except for the Whale Tail. The tan interior shows nice and bright complimenting the black exterior.
    I would say that the turbo 2.3 injected engines became better later in the 80s. The turbo 2.3 I own transplanted from a 84 Turbo Coupe into my 90 Mustang LX kicks in nice with little lag.

    Like 0
  12. PairsNPaint

    I always preferred the Capri’s styling over the Mustang’s – especially the box fender flares. Lovely car, would love to park it in my garage but 20 large is out of line, IMHO.

    Like 1
    • SubGothius

      I will be forever mystified why Ford didn’t transfer these handsome boxflared fenders to the Mustang for its ’87 facelift, since they were canceling the Capri anyway.

      Like 1
  13. JoeE

    Nice car. I love the Capris because they’re not just another Mustang.

    Had an ’83 RS 5.0 4-sp back in the day. It had a 4 bbl Holley from factory. Fun & fast car. Now have an ’86 5.0 5-sp with a Vortech S-Trim. Fun & really fast car!

    Both my Capris were red. Always loved the boxed fender flares too.

    Of course, I’d like to have a McLaren version someday.

    Like 1
    • John Polacek

      I had an 83 (ugly brown but it was cheap), once you freed up the exhaust and put a later 5 speed in, it was extremely quick for the day. 3 yrs of pure street racing abuse and I lost one clutch and one trans. Those things were very tough for certain. Pretty sure the 99 conv I have now is faster, but those were great days

      Like 0
  14. Steve H

    Interior is fantastic but would bet this has been repainted. To much orange peal in spots but overall a Really nice car! I too am a fan of the flairs. Someone is going to end up with a very nice ride!

    Like 0
  15. JoeNYWF64

    A rare instance, i would think, where a steering wheel was carried over from a previous generation(Mustang II)! Should have kept using it until air bags were required.

    Like 0
  16. Phlathead Phil

    So we have gone from ‘fox’ to ‘cobra’ and now coyote?”

    Even a ‘whale’ tail to 🥾. What’s next ….

    “The Dolphin” package? 🐬

    Hey Joe, where’d ‘ya get that new car???

    I got it in Seaside, California at a new dealership sponsored by Monterey Bay Awuarium. Its got the ‘Fin Tail’ A.I. Transponder mounted on the roof.

    Like 0

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