One Owner California Survivor: 1972 Capri

When I hear “Capri” my mind immediately goes to the Fox-body generation that was built from 1979 to 1986. Maybe those a little younger than me first think of the 2-door roadster built from 1991 to 1994. Even though (in my opinion) it’s the best looking of the bunch, I’d guess the fewest first picture the first iteration like this 1972 example here. This one was sent in by a Barn Finds reader who found it here on eBay in Fresno, California. After 23 bids the current high bid is $13,100 and the reserve appears to have been met.

With no official brand badge in the North American market, the Capri was sold at Lincoln-Mercury dealers. There’s greater detail on the how and why of that here. A 1972 ad for the Capri said, “Capri made history by being sexy, European, and inexpensive.” Nearly 50-years later I believe those first 2 claims still hold up and we’ll see about the 3rd at the end of this auction.

I know a battle on the semantics of “survivor” typically ensues any time that claim is made, so in the interest of full-disclosure, I’ll let you know this Capri received one repaint (in its original color) in the early 1990s, which looks to have held up quite well. All chrome and glass are original and in good condition. This is an accident-free car, but has a few small dings and is showing a small amount of rust in the passenger side lower rear wheel opening. Forty-eight years in California has served this Capri well.

The interior is in even more impressive condition. The white vinyl seats really stand out against the black carpet and dash. There are a few cracks in the dash and a small tear on the top of the rear seat, but those could probably be chalked up to sun damage rather than neglect or abuse. The woodgrain accents on the console give this interior a slightly upscale feel.

Under the hood is the new-for-1972 2.6L V6 that the seller tells us “fires up quickly and runs smoothly with good oil pressure and no smoke.” It was originally backed by a 4-speed manual transmission, but — another mark against its “survivor” status — in 2004 the original owner converted it to a 4-speed automatic. The seller believes “you could convert it back quite easily as the clutch pedal is still installed and the car was not cut up to install the auto box.”

This is a sharp looking car that has been well preserved. I’ve been familiar with them and perhaps they’re more common on the west coast, but I’ve never seen one in the lower Midwest where I live. Does this look like a good out-of-the-ordinary alternative to a more traditional compact sports car?

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Comments

  1. Bob_in_TN Member

    Very nice. I don’t remember this blue, I mostly remember the browns and greens of the day. I wish it was still a manual transmission. Don’t see them often, especially in good shape. You’d get plenty of attention at Cars & Coffee.

    Whenever an early Capri shows up on Barn Finds (which isn’t often), they seem to generate lots of comments, mostly positive. Many of us must have had experience with them, which makes some sense in that they were at their core inexpensive (yet sporty) cars.

    Like 9
    • Keith wauchek

      I had a 73 2000 4 speed. Loved it. But it was very unreliable. Now however I wish I still had it. I miss it so much.

  2. alphasud Member

    These are good looking cars. The cologne V6 used in this Capri saw use in many cars in Europe and the USA. They made a V4 version of this engine that was used in industrial applications, the Ford Tanus, and the Saab 95 and 96 models got the V4 when 2-stroke became unacceptable to the public. I think it’s one of the longest production runs for a V6.

    Like 5
  3. angliagt angliagt Member

    When we first moved into the neighborhood,I’d walk the streets
    around our house to see where they went.On one of those walks,I
    noticed a car that was covered with a plastic tarp.”That looks like –
    something interesting” I thought to myself.A few weeks later,I saw
    one the wheels was exposed.”That’s a Capri!”.
    I knocked on the door,& met the owner,George,who told me
    that he bought it brand new,in 1972.He said he was going to restore it,
    but after a while,he decided to sell it.
    I happened to mention that on one of the Cortina sites,& had a
    guy in New Zealand contact me,& ended up buying it (for $2000).It’s
    a 2000cc,4 speed manual.
    I hate to see it go out of the area,but am happy to know that it’ll be restored.

    Like 15
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      I drove by there today,& it was……..gone.
      Sad to see.

  4. Steve R

    Nice car. It’s not surprising the bidding has reached its current level.

    The license plate Fran is from the Lincoln Mercury dealer about 3 miles from the house I grew up in. It was one of two dealerships, the other being a small Porsche dealer, on the main north south thoroughfare, I remember there was always one or two Pantera’s on display parked in a row of new cars.

    Steve R

    Like 5
  5. Kevin

    A 1973 silver Capri with the V-6 and a 4-speed was my first new car. Bought it while in the Air Force. I loved that car! It was quick, handled well, and was reliable even in Montana winters!
    I wish I still had it.
    This one has me drooling. They are rare everywhere. It seems like the bulk of them out there have been heavily modified for racing.
    I’d have to go back to the 4-speed. I remember seeing this blue or one very much like it back in the day. It complements the car nicely!

    Like 4
  6. Mitchell Ross

    Nice to see a Capri doing that kind of money. They were great cars and good to see them reaching collectable status

    Like 3
  7. Euromoto

    Sister had one. Dad bought it new for her, maybe ‘72. Green over tan, nice car to my 10- year-old eyes. Sometime later a fuel line under the hood let go and the engine caught fire totaling the car. I remember the horn switch being on the end of the turn signal stalk, very European I suppose, but very weird to me at the time.

    Like 2
  8. jerry z

    Rarely have I seen pre-73 Capris for sale. Not surprised by the price since these cars usually rusted back to earth. The blue does look good too!.

    Like 7
  9. Todd Fitch Staff

    My first car! Almost. I had a ’73 in this color or similar, V6, four-speed. Love the white upholstery on this one. When I bought mine, it had Corvette style side pipes if you can imagine that. I remember flipping through the pages of the Dobi catalog dreaming of all the cool upgrades. I got the quad-exit exhaust and it was glorious. That add-on trim on the natural style line down the side is somewhere between redundant and ridiculous, but fine-looking car. Best wishes to buyer and seller. Thanks for the write-up, Johnny!

    Like 4
  10. Autoworker

    A high school buddy painted his ‘71 Capri with white refrigerator enamel. It actually looked pretty good until he took it to a car wash. The paint came off in sheets. 😀

    Like 4
  11. Ben T.Spanner

    My first new car was a a 1972 Green over tan, V6, 4 speed. There were none in my city I was about to drive 2 plus hours to buy a red over black one, when truck loads arrived, and I got just what i wanted.
    After one year someone just had to have it and it was sold.

    Like 1
  12. Frank Fitz

    Hagerty did an article in Capri back in 2013 regarding poor survival rate/ number they insured etc. I bought a new ( naturally brown) 1973 4 speed with the sunroof that I drove 60,000 miles in 1st year of law school commuting from East Lansing to Detroit. It handled well and had zero maintenance problems early on except base of “A “ pillars were beginning to rust .Very nice car. Can’t recall the time I saw one on the road here in Michigan. GLWTA .

    Like 1
  13. Harry A Pape

    My ’71 green w/tan interior (my first new car) sits in the barn awaiting resto . . . Drove it from NY to SoCal when in AF then back to NE (via Alabama) . . .
    Great car; great memories
    . .

    Like 2
    • JP Jordan

      If you still have it, I would like to try my hand at restoring it, if you would part with it. I’m 73, and need a project. I had a couple of 1971’s (4 Cyl, manual) in the early eighties, and enjoyed working on them. I live in CT.
      What say you?
      Cordially, JP

  14. John Oliveri

    My uncle Phil had a 74, same blue, w a 4 speed it was a 6 cylinder, he blew the trani on his 62 Grand Prix and bought the Capri new, his had black interior, I like the white much better, quick and nimble, she was a lotta fun, kept it a long time, he passed away in 1980 and if his son didn’t take it, I was going to,his son got it, never saw it again

    • ken tilly UK

      @John Oliveri. Are you sure it was a 6 cylinder as I am only aware of the straight 4, V4 and V6 engines in these Capri’s?

  15. Mike

    I had two: a ’73 2000 4spd forrest green with black interior. Sold it for a’76 2800cc 4 spd white Ghia with black interior. Loved them both but the V6 was a rocket compared to the 4. This one is the nicest ’72 V6 I’ve seen, but not sure it came with white seats. Never saw that interior when I shopped for my ’72/”73. Great fun cars…wish I still had mine. Traded it for an ’84 Toyota Cressida, another great car that went for 20+ years and 250k + miles!!

    Like 3
    • Dan D

      I also don’t believe they came with white seats. The seats and door cards look too new to be original. I do love this color, the manager at a shoe store I worked at in high school had a blue with black 4-speed, probably the 4.

  16. Jasper

    These inspired some of my first words…Patty car! My sister had one in this color but a 1600. She traded it in on a new ‘74 V6. A silvery blue with saddle interior. Very classy combination. Someone…please pick those red reflectors off of the center caps!

    Feeling stuck with a ratty Porsche 944 to wrench back into decent shape. Feeling like it’s probably one of the most low valued cars around right now. Wish there was a chance in hell I could trade it towards something akin to this to get back to my ‘70s roots!

    Like 1
  17. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    I was doing front end alignments at a Ford dealership in Pendleton, Oregon when these came out. Part of the dealer prep before delivery was doing an alignment. It might have been the first car I came across with rack n pinion steering. The cool thing was I got to test drive a lot of new cars.

    Like 3
    • John Oliveri

      Cool job for a car guy

      Like 1
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      Didn’t Pintos have rack & pinion?

      Like 2
  18. 370zpp

    Converted it to automatic? That’s like…….. well just wrong.

    Like 4
    • Ralph

      Yeah, that made my eye twitch uncontrollably……maybe he lost his left foot and right hand in some sort of shark bite incident?

      Like 2
  19. chrlsful

    randomly: daily drivers do well in autos, more women drive standards than men, most autos now over rule mannys in performance (pep and MPGs)…

    These introduced me to the World Car concept (german ford?) and the world of cars has never been the same 4 me since. Also – the ego involvement of auto purchases when looking at one of these owners v a stang guy…

  20. John

    In ’85 I think it was, I paid $800 to the original owner, for a ’77 green Capri with black interior. As I recall it had a 2.3l four with 4 speed manual and was built in Brazil.

  21. J Moose Howery

    Sold my 701/2 Z-28 and bought one of these in 1977.I was getting out of the auto parts business and going to college.Needless to say it was one of the bigger mistakes I made in life Sold it to a guy whose dad owned a Chevy dealership in Houston. Next time I saw that Z was completely restored

    Like 1
  22. Long timeer

    This is my 1st text. I would love to get this ca, get parts from Europe and build the car well. The v6 engine had different parts in Europe like the exhaust manifold which made the engine far more powerful. Would be a fun car to drive.

  23. wardww

    In this condition, this is BIG BIG money in the UK. These were every boy racers dream, especially after seeing CI5s Bodey and Doyle thrashing them around in “The Professionals”, along with the Escort RS2000, also sold in the US under a different name. Wheeler dealers did an US escort recently and shipped it back to the UK. I’d buy this and send it back to the UK and triple my money. It’s a no brainer.

    Like 3
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      Those Escorts were NEVER sold in the US,
      just 1981 & newer,which were a huge step backwards.

      • wardww

        It was an 1985 Merkur XR4Ti that WD did but what’s a few years between friends. The validity of my comment still stands.

  24. Rick Rothermel

    I had three over a six year period when I lived in Alaska…. ’71 silver blue 2l a/t (dog) a new Bullitt Green 2600, 4-gear, decor group that I did some mods to- spoiler, headers, cibie lights… KILLER CAR! And a silver Blue ’74 2800 4spd that I had custom painted and spent WAAAAY too much $ on! Fun cars that didn’t age very well, so there are few survivors.

    Like 1
  25. John Oliveri

    V/6 4 speed, fast Lil mother

  26. ozzsp250

    I had a 1969 3000 GT I purchased new in Australia for $2790

    The engine was 3000 cc UK know as the Essex engine coupled to a 4 speed. Great torque and I used it to tow my Ozzy Ford Falcon hill climb car.

    It was sky blue with white leather interior, black bulge on hood, black stripe down side ending with a GT badge in red over rear wheels. It would go to 100 mph in 3rd gear and turn good fuel economy in 4th — at the time gas was around 69 cents an imperial gallon.

    I took in to New Zealand and left it there to travel the world and never got back to drive it again.

    Like 3
  27. Dave Mathers

    A former Army soldier came into our service department in 1974 with a 72 RS2600 ‘import’. Fuel injected, mini-lights,rolled front and rear fascias (NO bumpers) and Recaro seats. I asked if he wanted to sell it and he said ‘maybe’. I’ll give you $2,000. Nope, I want $5,000. Got a call about six months later, he bought a farm and needed some equipment and was ready to sell it to me for $2,000. BAD fast piece that really handled. Found a guy who gave me the five grand a couple of years later!!

    Like 3
  28. Art Himp

    Had a 74 silver V-6 4 Speed black interior with decor option. Loved it. Wish I could find another. That was back in 78. It was very fast for that little V-6. Remember beating my cousins Olds Cutlass with a 350 4 barrel carb to 69 mph, then he took over. Lol.

    Like 2
  29. Al

    Love this car. Girl friend had one, V6, sunroof, auto, great fun to drive, good road-trip car. Take another in a heartbeat.

  30. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Ran the you know what out of my girl Lucia’s after I put a new clutch in it…..ran the snot out even with that 100 av gas we got from work ! Well built little V6 and the rest in these buggers !!!!

  31. Rick

    My employer in 1971(2?) would buy me a company car of my choice as long as it wasn’t expensive or flashy. I got a green 4 speed V-6 Capri, punched some holes in the muffler and a bad-ass “sports car” as a company car.

    Like 1
  32. Joe Carter

    I had a 73 green on black with the 4 speed 2600.Great wee car remember the map reading light on the windshield pillar.

    Like 1
  33. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $15,000.

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