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Captive Import: 1972 Mercury Capri

The Capri was offered by Mercury as a “sport compact” between 1970 and 1978. It was a captive import from Ford of Europe which had no direct counterpart on the U.S. Ford side of the FOMOCO family. It was reminiscent of the original 1960s Mustang in terms of body proportions. This nice 1972 edition is said to be original after 80,000 miles other than what may have worn out over 50 years. Located in Edmonds, Washington, this German Ford is available here on craigslist for $7,500. Our appreciation to local_sheriff for the tip!

During the first and second generations of the car, there was no Mercury badging on the Capri. It wasn’t until 1979 when it was repositioned alongside the Mustang as a pony car that the divisional name would begin to appear. The little automobiles first appeared out of Cologne, Germany in 1968 and arrived on U.S. shores in mid-1970. At just $2,300 MSRP, it was marketed as an economy car with style and only one body style. Most of the changes from its European roots were those to accommodate U.S. safety standards, like dual headlights rather than rectangular ones.

While we don’t know which engine is under the hood of this Capri, it’s likely an OHC 2.0-liter 4-banger, although a 2.6-liter V6 was an option in 1972. It would be the first time an American-market vehicle sold by Ford had such an engine. The seller says this machine runs and drives well, so we assume the buyer will need to perform no mechanical work. The body, paint, vinyl top, and interior all present well with no signs of damage or rust. Because of their somewhat disposable nature when first released, it’s rare that you see one of these cars nowadays, especially in this condition.


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Rented one of these in Europe waiting for our car we shipped to arrive. Good power and handling, comfortable. Had nothing to do with it but the original owner/builder of our race car put one of the Ford’s T-4 four speed transmissions in it with racing gears which came out of a Capri. Bullet proof unit which complemented the Capri’s other good features.

    Like 7
  2. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    My wife (then girlfriend) had one as her first car. It was a neat little machine, though with an automatic it was not very speedy. Don’t see many of these today. Skimpy ad, but from what little we can see, it looks pretty good. Could be a fun little car for not much money.

    Like 6
  3. Cadmanls Member

    These were all over the place years ago. This one looks like a fine example and with only 80k miles it’s win win if your in the market for an early Capri. It’s got the third pedal too! Betting it won’t last long.

    Like 7
  4. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    This is a four-cylinder car based on the color of the rocker panel area which would have been flat black from the factory if it was a six.
    Unless it has been painted.

    Like 7
  5. angliagt angliagt Member

    Appears to be a 2000.I had a ’73 2000 with the gauge package
    & a sunroof.It was a great road car,but too heavy for hillclimbing &
    Never thought I’d say this,but a decent deal if it’s as good as it looks.

    Like 1
  6. tiger66

    BF: “While we don’t know which engine is under the hood of this Capri, it’s likely an OHC 2.0-liter 4-banger,”

    Not an OHC engine, an OHV engine. None of the Capris of that vintage had an overhead camshaft engine.

    Like 1
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      The 2000 WAS an Overhead Cam engine (OHC),
      the 1600 was not.

      Like 16
      • tiger66

        You are right. Thanks for the correction of my dumb mistake. I must have been thinking of the 1.6. These are cool cars that you just don’t see anymore.

        Like 2
    • Mercuryman

      I have a 71 and a 72 Capri with a 2.0 OHC. In 1970 the only engine was the 1600 kent for North America. Same engine choices as the Pinto. In fact, the 2.0 OHC is known as the Pinto engine. Can get good power with the right parts.

      Like 5
    • JudoJohn

      Yes, the 2.0 was OHC, belt driven. The 1600 was pushrod. Both were good engines. My best friend had one with the 2.0 liter. Good car, tons of fun! Pretty quick, too.

      Like 3
    • jeffry harris

      Pinto 2000cc OHC

      Like 1
  7. Boatman Member

    Where do you find parts for these cars?

    • angliagt angliagt Member

      Team Blitz,in Ohio.

      Like 1
  8. Connecticut mark

    First car was a 2 litre stick, sounded like it was fast, but nice driver, blew 2 clutches, my grandfather replaced them. My friend had 2.6 auto, much faster and louder. Cool looking cars, throw out those Walmart hubcaps though.

    Like 10
  9. Big C

    My friend’s first car was a ’73 V-6 with the 4 speed. What a fun little car.

    Like 6
    • douglas hunt

      these were popular in my town when I was just out of high school.
      3 of my friends had them with the 2.0 liter, lucky they were non interference engines as one broke a belt on a fishing trip and I was recruited to run up the interstate with the new belt, which I installed in the camping spot .
      They later heard of a fresh painted 2.6 4speed by a local guy that worked in a foreign car parts and repair shop.
      I ended up with that v6 car, lots of good times, it is one of a few cars from my 20’s that I wish I still had.

  10. Andy

    Look closer, has been repainted. Owner says it doesn’t run well when warm. Could be a decent project, but I always ask myself, why was it repainted? Folks don’t usually spend money for no reason. Non original wheel covers too. Also, don’t count on Team Blitz for parts. Go to English suppliers if you want good parts and service.

  11. Paul Root

    I shared a ’71 with the 1600 engine in it with my brother, my first year in college. We got it from our other brother for $300 when he graduated from college.
    Fun car. I destroyed one transmission doing something stupid. The passenger window would fall out of its channel frequently. And the nylon threads of the shifter stripped out, so if you weren’t careful when you shifted, it would come out in your hand.
    My record was carrying 8 guys (including me) home from the rec center, when another driver in our group left early.

    Like 2
  12. Healeymonster

    The last year for these imports was 77. No Capri was offered in the US for 78. The 79 was a modified mustang. This example sans hubcaps would be a nice driver. I had the 2.6 and the later 2.8 versions. Fond memories of my youth.

    Like 2
  13. Joe

    This one should be long gone by now, don’t know why is isn’t.

    Like 1
  14. David Infante

    I think mine was a 73 with the v6 and 4 speed in a bronze color. It had the “rostyle” wheels and a nifty navigator light on the passenger side, rally style. I bought it cheap from the back of a car lot years ago needing a clutch. Actually, the cable was frayed and stretched so an easy fix.
    You could light up one tire at lower speeds by shifting weight away from it in a curve. The car was light in the rear a lot like the fox body mustangs.

    Like 2
    • douglas hunt

      Mine was also bronze colored, and that little light on the passenger side had escaped my memory all these years.
      They had those cool slide in push buttons on the dash for the lights too.

  15. Rob MacGregor

    I bought a new 2800, V6, 4 speed Capri in ‘74, Lime Green.

    Loaded it with every option I could, then stripped all the fenders off, (including the rear quarters), to install four inch flared IMSA styled full fenders, front air dam and molded in rear deck lid spoiler. Threw away the huge bumpers.

    Dropped it four inches. Cut the wheel rims and widened to 10 inches. Built my own sway bars, front and back. Porsche, custom ground cam and Holley engine mods. There was nothing I didn’t touch.

    God I miss that car!

    Like 9
    • 370zpp 370zpp Member

      I also had a new 2800, V6, 4 speed Capri in ‘74. But would not have known how to do what you did to yours. Loved mine. Impulsively traded it, in 76 along with my first CB-750, even trade for a 71 convertible Vette. Big mistake.

      Like 1
  16. Tony

    I had a buddy in the early 80’s that had one of these with a 302 V8 swapped into it. It was a really cool little sleeper. Tons of fun on the road. I think in the end the chassis could hold up to the strain of the larger motor and he ended up scrapping it. I’d love to have one today though!

    Like 1
  17. Howie

    Yes looks like a great car at a great deal. Been a long time since i have seen one,

    Like 1
  18. wes johnson

    I brought a ’72 back from Germany in ’73. Would clean the clock of any Vega around. Always regretted not getting the 2.6 when bought it. In 73 no conversion kits so welder/machinist friend and I put a 289 w/C-6 auto in. Cut and chopped alot of the car getting it in. Was on budget so really made a frankenstein of it. It was quick, but UGLY. Ahh youth is wasted on the young.

    • douglas hunt

      When I had my 73 2.6/4speed, it came to me with headers, and I wanted badly to put the aluminum intake with 4 barrel on it. alas I was a young 20 something going to EE school at night after working all day. I never thought about swapping in a v8 but it makes sense now as a killer sleeper for sure.

  19. dwcisme

    I remember an article in a UK car magazine about a guy who (as they described it) installed a Merlin or Rolls Royce WW2 surplus engine in one of these. Of course, by the time it was finished there was nothing left of the original car except the body from the firewall back.

  20. Mike

    I bought a new’73 4cyl 4 spd, Green with black interior. Loved and babied that car but it was slow in the mountains! Sold it 3 yrs later for $500 less than new. Bought a new’76 V6 Ghia 4 spd. Super quick car, but very comfortable. Wish I still had either of them. You never see any Capris anymore!😢

    Like 1
  21. steve

    It’s funny.. When these cars were new (er) I wasn’t of the means to get a good one., Then, when I had more cash, you couldn’t find one worth having, Now I CAN buy something like this and I’m just not willing to. The other part of it is that I really LIKED the 1600 version. With the Fiesta having a version of that Kent engine, we’d take the head from a 1300 RS(?) Escort (non-US) along with a 2 barrel Weber and make some nice power. No, not neck-snapper, but it was rare that you’d be thinking “This would be perfect if I had a bit more power” Never had the chance to make those mods to a Capri as they were all gone by then. I ALSO wonder why Ford never went the “Lotus” route and install a Cosworth head in that car. I seem to recall that a Cosworth BDA is a Kent 1600 under that pretty head. A twin cam Capri would have been a much better car than the Cosworth Vega and years earlier too…

    Like 1
  22. chrlsful

    guys w/the tweed jacket/lether elbows & 1930’s style hat. The regular guys drove the stang & the cool – the 2+2 (fastback) model.

    Like 3
  23. Cdice

    Had a fastback 76 Mustang II with the Cologne V-6. I believe that was the same engine that could come in a Capri. It was an automatic and not quick but somewhat sporty for a company car.

  24. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member


    Not surprised.

  25. Mike Palka

    I sold a 69 Falcon Futura to help purchase a new 74 Capri 2.0 w/ auto to go to college. My brother now has it! On Memorial Day in 1977, I purchased a 73′ 2.6L, 4-speed w/AC from a pilot in the Air Force that traded it in for a 240Z. I know I got the better deal! Loved that Capri. I currently have a 73′ 2.6L, 4-speed w/ 86K miles on it in my back yard. My plans are to get it restored for next year’s Capri Car Club show next year. Can’t believe it will be 50 years old by then. Go to to see a concept of a Capri. That would be awesome car for today market.

  26. Ward William

    Even as a left hand drive, in this lovely condition, this would be worth far more in the UK. These were famous in shows like The Professionals and most of them have had the backside rusted out of them with heavily salted UK roads and too much humidity. At this price, someone in the UK could import it, convert it to RHD and still make a profit flipping it or just keep it and watch it’s value go up.

    Like 1
  27. Scott

    I’m the lucky new owner of this car. It is in amazing shape. 1 repaint(poor). But the interior is immaculate and the body is nearly rust free. Immediately removed the hubcaps and the cheesy protective trim stickers. Has original rostyle wheels under those hideous hubcaps. Beautiful car and very fun to drive.

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