Preserved Patina: 1974 Mercury Capri

This 1974 Mercury Capri isn’t quite the fire-breather like we saw the other day in the form of the rare RSR turbocharged model, but it holds almost as much appeal thanks to its survivor-grade qualities and its rust-free chassis. The Capri spent most of its life in Iowa before relocating to Pennsylvania with the current owner, who has called it his own for the last seven years. The interior has been refreshed and it’s said to run well, and he chose to leave the outside alone to preserve the awesome patina it sports. The Capri comes with two extra sets of wheels and is said to have been undercoated by the factory to keep it in mint condition underneath. Find it here on eBay where bidding has reached $5,755 with no reserve.

The Capri is a bit of an orphan classic, not exactly considered collectible but also not available at a bargain-basement price. The car was a bit of an oddball when it arrived, especially considering how many American car shoppers still wanted full-sized rides and short bed pickups. Obviously, the Capri was a proven entity in its native land, but in the U.S.A. it was answering a question not too many folks were asking. It’s a shame, too, as Ford’s European offerings were generally very competent cars, but as history has shown – right up the modern era – consumers just don’t tend to take much shine to the overseas relatives. The Capri today has a limited following which is one reason for its low price ceiling.

The Capri looks sharp on the inside, benefitting from a recent upholstery job, while the seller has left the outside alone to cash in on the sentiment right now that loves seeing nicely patina’d cars and trucks left alone. The seats appear to be in mint condition, as does the center console, and while the door panels and armrest are clearly used, they’re in a nicely preserved state. The steering wheel is original and it looks to have the factory radio as well, and the fake woodgrain trim around the instrument cluster is in good order. The carpets show no signs of blemishes or obvious rips and tears, and the dash doesn’t appear to be cracked, either. It’s always good to see a manual gearbox in one of these.

Now, while I wish I could recognize engines based on sight alone, I can’t claim to be able to do so – but I don’t believe this is the desirable Cologne V6, but rather the 1.6L four-cylinder. This isn’t the preferred engine, but it’s at least not the smallest motor Ford offered in the Capri. The seller reports having tackled numerous maintenance items, including a valve job, new carburetor, new rubber moldings, replacement radiator, and a rear differential rebuild, among other improvements. This is a turnkey classic for not much cash, and if you can live with the obscurity, I doubt you’ll lose any money on it after a year or so of use.

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Comments

  1. Mike D

    That’s a 2.0 liter. And in 1973, the Capri was the second most imported car, after the Volkswagen Beetle.

    Like 16
    • Jim

      The 1.6 wasn’t an overhead cam as pictured here. I had a 73 Pinto with the 1.6. Top speed was 75mph! My dad had the 74 Capri with the V6 and it was much faster and more nimble.

      Like 1
  2. don

    I think that is a 2 liter. That is a good combination with the 4 speed. I always liked it better than the v6.

    Like 11
  3. Sonny

    Yes it’s the 2.0. The 1600 was not overhead cam and was dropped from the US lineup in 72 I believe,

    Like 8
  4. Todd Fitch Staff

    Nice one Jeff – my first car! Almost. I had a ’73 in this color with the chrome bumpers, V6, 4-speed, and a hand-cranked sunroof. I remember paging through the Dobi catalog drooling over all the cool parts I could add. I did spring for their dual exhaust system with quad chrome tips. Man did that thing sound nice. Like many of us I didn’t realize how cool it was until years later. Thanks for the memories!

    Like 13
  5. Terrry

    The 1.6 doesn’t have the rubber timing belt cover in front, being as it’s a pushrod OHV engine. I had a ’71, which looked like this car except without the federally mandated girder beams front and rear. Fun to drive car!

    Like 1
  6. Mercuryman

    It looks really good with the Mustang II 5 slot wheels.

    Like 1
  7. Derek

    There’s a 1.6 version of the Pinto motor too, incidentally.

    Those bumpers are pure boggin’, by the way…

  8. sir_mike

    In 1974 you got the 2.3 4cyl…plus really ugly bumpers.

    Like 1
  9. JoeNYWF64

    Thinnest & shortest rear sway bar i ever seen – above the rear axle – if that’s what it is …
    http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/uX0AAOSwWKthO45E/s-l1600.jpg
    No nonsense dash – well laid out.
    In new cars, i’m not spendin several grand for video screens in dashes i do not want – even in the cheapest car you can buy here – the Spark – not an option!
    & some aux gage readouts may still be missing!

    • Rick Rothermel

      I had a ’74 2800/4-gear that I played with in Alaska. The bumpers are located with three bolts on each side, and weigh about 50# each. Pull them off, the car raises about 3inches. I put the bias ply snow tires on 14″ steelies from my Courier pickup, car looked fearsome. Never won anything, just had fun…

      Like 2
    • douglas hunt

      yea, they had those cool pushbutton switchgear

  10. LarryS Member

    The bumpers are kind of unfortunate. I wonder if they could be swapped out for the earlier ones? Not a Capri expert by any means, but does it look like it’s sitting high in the rear to anyone else? Had a friend in school who had an earlier version of this (small bumpers). Ugly brown color was similar to the color of my ’76 Rabbit.

    Like 2
    • Rick Rothermel

      I had a ’74 2800/4-gear that I played with in Alaska. The bumpers are located with three bolts on each side, and weigh about 50# each. Pull them off, the car raises about 3inches. I put the bias ply snow tires on 14″ steelies from my Courier pickup, car looked fearsome. Never won anything, just had fun…

  11. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    My 74 V6 pictured here, back in the day. Great car.
    By the way, the V6 models were easy to distinguish by the black rocker panels.

    Like 5
    • douglas hunt

      my 73 2.6 V6 4speed was this color, but had been repainted without the black rockers

  12. JudoJohn

    Nice car. These are getting rarer and rarer. They were all over the place in the ’70’s. A buddy had a ’71 red Capri. Lots of fun, and easy to work on. Around 80K, it started burning oil. He wanted to get some insurance money for it. So, he had a “friend” of a “friend” at work steal it and burn it. The cops figured out what happened because one of the perps talked. So, if he tried to get the insurance money, he would get charged with fraud. So, he ended up with a burned up car and no money.

    Like 2
  13. JudoJohn

    BTW- the author states that it was factory undercoated to keep it from rusting. The factories didn’t undercoat them, dealers did. It was not for rust protection, but noise reduction. It actually helped them rust, because it held water against the floors.

    Like 3
  14. WayneA

    Rented one in 1974 when my Pinto got trashed by an attempted theft. Wish I’d had traded my Pinto in for one. It was a nice ride. Rental was a V6 (German 2.8L) with an automatic.

  15. Jasper

    The ‘74 still had a 2000.

    There was a handful of these in my family. They were all over the place and their absence today only proves they were loved and mostly driven into the ground.
    Parts were iffy too for a while. Neat little cars.

    Few cars capture an era so well yet seem to never age. Still such a youthful and fresh car.

    Like 2
  16. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $7,602.

  17. Jim

    The 1.6 wasn’t an overhead cam as pictured here. I had a 73 Pinto with the 1.6. Top speed was 75mph! My dad had the 74 Capri with the V6 and it was much faster and more nimble.

  18. Dwcisme

    A fellow I knew in college had a V6. One night, 4 of us were out on the town and in a moment of bravado, he did a hard 1-2 shift and the shifter snapped off at the base. Fortunately, there was enough left for him to get a Vise Grip on. I’m not sure if and when he got it fixed.

    • douglas hunt

      i had a 73 V6 4speed, i too broke my shifter off, found a replacement in one of the local junkyards, along with a really nice “sport” style steering wheel from the wreck, a lot nicer than my base model car had.

  19. douglas hunt

    as i wrote in the comments of the turbo capri article, i had a 73 v6 2.6 4speed. there were a lot of these in my town, at least two of my buddies had them, and talked me into buying mine. wish i still had it.

  20. RG in PDX

    I, too, had a ’74 V-6 that the shifter broke off from the linkage. The local Lincoln Mercury dealer welded it back together, but it broke again. Sold it for a 1980 Ford Fiesta (similar to the one featured here).

  21. Sonny

    Many have reported this happening to them. There was actually a recall on the shifter. They should have replaced, not welded, the shifter. Mine never broke but I have the updated replacement, just in case.
    There was also a recall on the seat backs that called for re-welding by the dealer, but that repair was only as good as the mechanic doing the repair.

  22. t-bone BOB

    Ended: Sep 17, 2021 , 10:35AM
    Winning bid:US $7,602.00
    [ 37 bids ]

    Located in:Lawrence, Pennsylvania,

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