Dry Storage For 35 Years: 1969 Ford Capri

While the Capri was available stateside, it never generated quite the following that these cars have in the U.K. Ford’s operations overseas has a track record of cranking out interesting vehicles that were rewarding to drive and then never selling them here; the Capri and recently-introduced Focus RS are exceptions to that rule. This early MK1 Capri has been in dry storage for 35 years and is rumored to be one of 145 still registered. Find it here on eBay with bidding just under $5K and a day left.

The Capri’s were the U.K.’s answer to the Ford Mustang, providing an affordable and sporty driver that didn’t come with high upkeep costs. Rear wheel drive and the option to spec it with the robust Cologne V6 gave the Capri some serious chops, and although this example is equipped with two fewer cylinders, its design still conveys a sense of athleticism not present in other entry-level vehicles. The seller says any rust present is surface-level only and there are no holes in the trunk floor.

As a British market car, this one is right-hand drive – very easy to adapt to, if you’re thinking about bringing what would likely be the only RHD MK1 Capri into the U.S. The simple steering wheel and manual gearshift are a welcome reminder as to what our sports coupes used to look like. The seller believes the sub-65,000 miles on the odometer is genuine and plenty of records will come with the car. The seats would indicate low mileage, in my opinion.

As a MK1, power comes from a 1.6L Ford Kent inline-four cylinder mill. The seller notes the Capri has not run in 35 years, so it will need to be trailered away and have the usual pre-startup maintenance performed. In many ways, this is similar to the celebrated Cortina sedan underneath, and these early models are a touch prettier than the later cars with more graceful lines and gorgeous glass headlights. Although unlikely to find its way to the U.S. anytime soon, I would bet it will find a sympathetic owner wherever it ends up.

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Comments

  1. Rattlinglikenuggets

    I always get unreasonably nostalgic when I see a Mk1 Capri. My uncle had a brown one made in the same year and it was an awesome car for something with a slightly asthmatic 1.6 Kent engine :-)

    • Concinnity

      They did have some racing success in European Saloon Car Racing at the time. They had a very evenly matched rivalry with the BMW E9 3.0CSL ‘Batmobiles’.
      The flared guards and front spoiler panels are still available if you want a lookalike.

      • bog

        Concinnity – Thanks for posting that picture. On one of my various trips back to Germany, I bought an “Auto und Sport” magazine that had an entire section devoted to that series and the German Ford Capri. Which, unsurprisingly, I bought, back here through a Mercury dealership at a huge rebate and discount…mine was a V6 though. Later on I saw guys putting small-block Ford V8s in them. Mainly souped up 289s. Three problem areas: low, due to 13inch wheels caused the exhaust to “bottom out” in snow and our lovely potholes, next; heating system not up to Chicago Winters, and last; the four bolts holding on the rack and pinion weren’t high enough grade steel. All of mine cracked and the darn car just wanted to go in circles (only right). Once these “shortcomings” were dealt with…lovely car.

      • Concinnity

        Putting V8s in as a ‘factory’ fitting fell to the South Africans. See below for the info on the Perana Capris.They didn’t use the 289 SBF, but the 302.

      • bog

        I read those postings about the SA cars. Neat. Also from the guy that was at Hochenheim (I was there too). Memory “says” that I’d heard about German Racing Capris with V8s as well. I also seem to recall them racing at Road America during the wild and wooly days of widened “everything”..Monzas, Camaros, Greenwood Vettes, Mustangs, etc. Off-shoot of either TransAm or GT1 perhaps. Loud AND fast. Once had an all Capri hotrodder book that had some interesting V8s. Side-draft 4 Weber set-ups, Boss302/351s, one with Hilborn stacks. Great fun, lots of $$$$

  2. wasafordguy

    much rather have the mini in the background.

  3. Derek

    I guess driving it home would be out of the question?

    • glen

      Especially if you don’t live in the UK.

  4. Derek F

    I love Mk I Capris too and solid bidding on this one! Though I can see more than surface -only rust, even in these less than descriptive photos.
    The interior looks great ( no radio! ) from all that indoor storage time.

  5. sir mike

    Now I really miss my 73 2.0 Capri.A lot of rust in both fenders….might be more hiding elsewhere…

  6. Neil

    Mk 1’s were, for me, the nicest of all the Capri range. Building them was a nightmare though – from memory the build derivatives at Halewood was 13,920 based on colour, trim level, trim colour, and accessory options.
    this one looks to have all the almost impossible to source trim items and the slam panel and strut mounts look solid Would want to see the rear strut mounts and under the colours to be really happy – especially given the sellers description of “only surface rust”. The front wings are gone – possibly salvageable by a good body shop but at a cost!!
    Current bid of £3,400 is fair for what is there – but the reserve is not met so it all depends on what that reserve is set at. There is a better one with the V4 engine on a separate ad for roughly twice that price – see https://www.ebay.com/itm/FORD-CAPRI-MK-1-1-7-GT-V4-ENGINE-1969-VERY-RARE-CAR/112820939420?_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIM.MBE%26ao%3D2%26asc%3D44040%26meid%3D71f184c4736b45b6b0355dbe714693d3%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D6%26mehot%3Dpp%26sd%3D362239432276%26itm%3D112820939420&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851

    Caveat – nothing to do with me – just happened to see it whilst looking at the featured one.

  7. angliagt angliagt Member

    The front fenders are welded on,making it harder to repai.
    I had a ’73 2000 w/V6 gauges & a sunroof.
    Great road car,but didn’t do so well autocrossing/hillclimbing.

  8. Karguy James

    I loved mine. Fabricated a rear spoiler from a 84 Camaro and used a 69 Mustang front spoiler with black accents. Loved just looking at it.

  9. Karguy James

    Another shot of it

  10. Beatnik Bedouin

    I’d spring for the South African-made Capri Perana, if I wasn’t such a cheapskate and had the storage space: http://www.themotorhood.com/themotorhood/2015/9/3/south-african-wildlife-1970-ford-capri-perana-v8

    • glen

      That was a good article! There’s a lot of interesting cars out there that I’ve never heard of.

    • Concinnity

      All the Capri needed to bring it closer to perfection. A racing spec 302 V8.

  11. jw454

    I drove a lot of these when I worked at a Lincoln/Mercury dealership in the early seventies. They were fun but, I preferred taking out the Panteras. The test drives in a Pantera went much faster.

  12. John Leyshon Member

    Very nice there James ! Appreciate the fabrication work put in on the rear deck. Growing up in the ’70’s i loved these as a kid. Didn’t see too many back in the day, a very rare site now.

    Derek, you can drive the Ford Capri home ! Just head to the east across Siberia, then look for the signs to Alaska. Take the ferry . Not a lot of traffic, but the roads aren’t well maintained. Tire chains would be in order…

  13. gtyates

    I had one of these in high school. Mine was 4 cylinder, automatic, no a/c. Mine was this same red color with a black vinyl top and black interior. Hot as blazes here in the South during the summer! Mine burned about as much oil as gas. lol!!

  14. Luke Fitzgerald

    Might have been stored 35 – but you can bet the first 14 winters will be visible

  15. Rube Goldberg Member

    These were very popular for a while. Before Asian cars kicked in, and wanted something fancier than a Pinto, this is what you bought. Kind of the alternative to the Opel Manta. I had both and liked the Opel better. My Capri was a ’74, V-6, 4 speed. Neat car, but several things I didn’t like. No hatch, no rear passenger room, had the old Pinto 4 speed ( big hole between 1st& 2nd) sorely needed a 5 speed, and the V6 started using coolant at 2 years old, all those issues were addressed in the Capri ll, which was a much nicer car, but by then, there much better Asian cars. Like the Manta, you never see these today.

    • Poppapork

      Ill take a 1.9 4speed manta over this any day! Faster and better handling….

      • Roarrr

        EnFord had Borham their ‘speed shop’ where you could have about anything you could wish for like fully prepped heads, alloy trannys and diffs and close ratio 4 and 5 speeds etcetc. try buying that from your Opel dealers. then there’s Fords racing Heritage.

  16. Solosolo KEN TILLY Member

    I have owned several Capri’s from the 1.6L Kent engine, 2.0L 4 cyl, 2.0L V4 and a 3.0L V6 and all of them were great cars to drive. I have also driven a Basil Green Perana and that was one hell of a, never to be forgotten, drive. The South African “CAR” magazine road test top speed was 142 mph which was considerably faster than my ’67 Mustang that I owned at the time, and the same as the SA Ford Fairmont V8. Great write-up on Beatnicks comment.

  17. ROAR

    EnFord made a bunch of great cars, the 4 ‘s are used in several road racing classes testifying to their durability and tunability! Ford didn’t want to sell it here in the states because they were coming out with the AMERICAN equivalent: the Mustang and didn’t want it to steal customers. The Mustang probably cost less to build using more modern assembly practices, the Capri had lots of hand assembly. Borham was EnFords go fast facility and had about ANYTHING you could dream of for your EnFord like alloy diffs, tranny cases not to mention close ratio gears, Cams, prepped heads etc! Here’s my toy, it has the Cossie Mk-IX engine, 5 speed,F&R ARB’s 4:11’s etc etc.

  18. Tim Pickering

    When I was in college (80-84) I had a 73 Capri with the 60 degree V6 and a four speed. My high school car was a 69 Road Runner, so I wasn’t satisified with a stick engine, so I spent a lot of money at Dobi on things like a four bbl carb and intake, a gear drive, high performance cam and headers – as well as suspension parts. The new cars of the early 80s – Mustangs, Turbo Trans-Ams and such, were fairly easy pickings with that car. But it has a two piece drive shaft, and that was it’s undoing. The joint blew apart during a 7,000 rpm shift. The engine didn’t have a rev limiter on it, and it freewheeled well above its operating limits, and a rod let loose. I miss that car… and the Road Runner!!

  19. Alford Pouse Member

    While stationed in Germany I went to Hochenheim track several times for the races. Saw a Capri there with wide body work done to it, a roll cage and interior work. Seeing me look at his car the owner came over and we started talking. He showed me the motor which turned out to be a 289 with the 4 Weber set up. When I made the comment “Guess this is pretty fast” the reply I got was one heck of a grin. Kind of spoiled things for any other Capri’s. LOL

  20. Cj

    I had a ‘73 V6 manual. Silver with black vinyl top and a sunroof that, when it got off track, took three burly mechanics to yank it back into place. Traded even for a 1965 Porsche 356C. Loved the Porsche – but who knew the Capri would turn out to be rarer?

  21. Robert G Thomas

    My dad bought my mom a brown 1974 4-cyl Capri from the Lincoln-Mercury dealership. It was the last manual car my mom owned, and my dad said driving it reminded him of driving his old MG TC. It was a good-handling car, it ran hot when I got stuck in traffic.

  22. PLMBRDON

    I have owned several of these and presently building a 1972 with a 351 Windsor narrowed 9″. These are gaining in popularity and the prices are climbing. Lots of articles on Youtube with V8 cars and lots kicking ass on the dragstrip. They are getting hard to find. Lots met the tin worm then crushed.

  23. John

    I love the logic. We get a glowing mention of the “gorgeous glass headlights” but not a single picture unless you count the tiny glimpse of one corner of the port side front. In fact, pictures of the front end are totally absent. Hmmm.

  24. Bill

    Still have mine. 1973 2600 4 speed. Bought new while in college in 1972.

  25. Cj

    Send me a picture – would love to see it! contactingcj@gmail.com

  26. John

    I had a blue 73 V6 4 spd car. I kept it about 5 years (till having a daughter increased out space requirements). Mine was a very quick reliable little car with the exception of its throttle cable which had to be replaced on a fairly regular basis (it corroded inside and would no longer move freely). We could never get its AC to work for very long, and I always yearned for power steering. But it was a willing little car that, itself< had yearning to be a sportscar. We had about 120K on it when we parted company with it. I missed it almost immediately.

  27. Jubjub

    As a little kid, it was a Capri or an AMC Javelin. My two first favorite cars. That Matchbox Capri was always elusive…the one with the proper hood, not the Hot Rocker with the big goofy motor sticking out, which seemed a dime a dozen.

    There were a few of these in the family. Remember looking out the side door out over the driveway at my sister’s brand new ‘74 V6. It was steel blue with a saddle interior…loved that car…was devastated when she came home one time with the right front corner all crunched up.
    That door was a great “automotive observation deck” I studied much automotive design from an automotive advertising, money shot, vantage point.

  28. John b

    I believe the “mad max” road worrier car is based on this.

  29. Melvin Burwell

    These were nice cars in the day. A german mustang for the u.s. My older neighbor had a 73 capri 4 spd. He used to take us yunguns to the public pool next town over. Tearing up the road. What a thrill. Memories in the 70s.

  30. bog

    Melvin – If you have seen my post, I bought a ’74, new, and got deep, deep discounts as it seemed no one wanted one. I spent significant time in Germany between ’67 and ’75, so I got to see and drive a whole host of cars not available here. I still miss my first series Lotus Europa and ’57 Fiat 500. But, doubt they’d be “safe” or “practical” here…

  31. bog

    Roarr – great little car you have there ! Yep, Ford has/had great racing and support areas all over the place. Glad you have one where you are. I certainly saw them in Germany, but I had a GTA Fairlane then (390 high performance), so I didn’t know what kind of work they did or parts they had. The Capri was big in sedan racing then and I still have an “ancient” “Auto und Sport” with Capris on the cover and a huge article inside. I was a Ford guy for years, and then the two-seat sports car bug bit HARD. Sadly, can’t afford a GT….

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