Live Auctions

Sporty German Gem! 1971 Mercury Capri

Shiny and highly original, this 1971 Mercury Capri in Augusta, New Jersey seeks a new owner here on eBay, where the four cylinder 2+2 has at least 13 bidders competing for ownership of the German-built pony car. The high bid exceeds $5000 with about five days left. A four-speed manual gearbox backs up the inline four cylinder, and the seller describes it as “fun to drive.” The listing says the little Mercury harbors “minimal rust” thanks to early years in California.

Extreme close-ups comprise the interior pictures, but check out a brochure showing the nifty dashboard at eBluejay. I owned one of these, a ’73 with the 2.6L V6 and four-speed. Like most German cars, the Capri will happily deliver extended highway driving at wide-open throttle or as near to it as conditions allow. Mileage is stated as what you see here, around 50,000.

Sadly someone bumped the photographer just as they clicked the shutter, rotating their phone 90 degrees away from the proper orientation and knocking the subject out of the frame. The rear of the vehicle should look much like this 1969 Ford Capri on Wikipedia, the European market equivalent.

Every American Capri wore the “power bulge” hood, a modification necessary on 3.0L six cylinder models. This car’s European 1.6L (98 cid) Kent I4 engine made 64 HP according to Wikipedia, the only engine offered when the Capri first invaded the USA in model year 1969. Most Capri fans prefer the classic look of these chrome bumpers to later bloated and body-colored bumpers.

Credit the seller for showing the driver’s seat, a mandatory shot for any respectable listing. Rather that wear, we see how UV damage turned the vinyl upholstery brittle. Then it simply failed at the weak points. That inset rectangle in the rocker panel held a shiny metal Ford blue oval, and I remember waxing it regularly on my ’73. The live axle results in cruder handling than the BMW 2002 and other contemporaries with independent rear suspensions, but this Capri still offers a connected throwback driving experience that modern cars cannot replicate, and the Capri remains affordable compared to more sophisticated options. Do you have a soft spot for this sexy European pony car?

Comments

  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Yes Todd, I have a soft spot for the “sexy European.” I always liked them. Really, really wanted what you had (73 V6 4-speed) back in the day, but it was out of my price range. As a consolation prize of sorts, I talked my girlfriend (now wife) into a 71 4-cyl automatic. It was a fun car. Good to see one which hasn’t been eaten up by rust.

    Previous posters on BF have noted that Capris have quite the following in Europe, with preserved/ restored examples bringing big bucks. I remember someone noting that it is reasonable to expect decent, not-expensive examples from the US ending up in Europe. Anyone have first-hand knowledge?

    Like 12
  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    My friend George (original owner) sold his ’72 2000 Capri
    to a guy in New Zealand.
    I had a ’73 with a 2000 in it.It was a great road car,but not
    a great autocross/hillclimb car.
    The pictures in the posting don’t show the rear fenders very-
    well,common rust spots on these.

    Like 8
  3. RayT Member

    I remember looking at these before buying my Mazda RX-3 back in 1971. The dealer had no V6 Capris, and the “four” felt pretty sluggish compared to the rotary.

    Of course the V8 conversions built in South Africa would have changed my mind!

    Like 8
    • Joe

      The Mazda RX-3 did not come out in 1971 in the USA, the first model year was the 1973.

      Like 1
      • RayT Member

        You’re right! My typo: the RX-3 was a ’73.

        Like 5
      • tiger66

        Incorrect. They were sold here starting in the spring of ’70. I had a GF back in the day who had a ’71 with the 1600 Kent engine.

  4. Howard A Member

    I know, we go through this everytime one of these comes up with me on these, like all 3 times, meaning, there just aren’t that many left. I had a gray ’73, 2.6, 4 speed, in ’75, I thought would be a replacement for my aging MGB( that lasted another 8 years, btw). I looked at the RX4, but “settled” on a 2 year old Capri. Initially I liked the car, it’s why I bought it, but several shortcomings cropped up right away. 1st, the transmission was out of a Pinto, with a corny big gap in between 1st&2nd,( sorely needed a 5 speed) handled poorly, especially in snow, and so-so brakes, lackluster heat( I think my MGB heater put out more). The back seat was for small children only, and the trunk opening was too small( sorely needed a hatchback) Also to mention, back then, some gas stations still didn’t have auto shut off, or poorly operated ones, resulting in gas down the C pillar. I thought that was the dumbest place for a gas filler. The motor began using coolant, and it was adios Crapi [sic].
    Now, the Capri ll was a much better car, addressed all those issues, but dealer network was iffy, people had bad experiences with Mercury dealers that didn’t want them. Kind of like Buick and Opel. In the early 70’s, when these came out, there wasn’t much choice. By the late 70’s, Asian cars were a much better deal, and that was that. Fun to see one again,,that isn’t at the bottom of some pile at a junkyard.

    Like 8
  5. Wayne

    I always like these. I was an autocross champion (local sports car club) in our area and convinced a co-worker (Charlie) to bring his Capri out to an event. His car had upgraded suspension, (from Rok-Stok?) wheels, tires and engine. He was disappointed in his times, so I took his out for a run. It was fun on acceleration, but not so on cornering. The only car I ever spun out on an autocross course. I would still buy one if the time and price was right.

    Like 3
  6. steve

    If Ford had refined these (see list of shortcomings above) and used it as the sporty version of their economy car (think “Karmann Ghia vs “Beetle”) they’d have had a hit. Make what was the Pinto into something utilitarian and not try, as they did, to make it stylish (making it a lot less useful) they’d have sold more of both. I always liked the smaller push rod engine. Yes, the bigger engines had more power but all that did is point out the other weaknesses in the car. Handling and brakes didn’t improve with more weight and power under the hood.

    Like 2
    • Terrry

      Or even better, Ford should have imported the Cortina into the US instead of the Crapi.

      Like 2
      • William R Hall

        I remember the Cortinas brought over in the early sixties. They also had a hot rod model with a Lotus engine.

        Like 1
  7. Paul T Root

    My first car was a 1.6 1971 Capri. I really liked it. The transmission was weak, or maybe the driver was rough. I remember the nylon threads holding the gear shift gave out, and it would come out in your hand. That was an adventure when on the road.

    My record was 7 college guys in the car driving it back from some event or other, just a couple miles.

    Like 3
  8. douglas hunt

    i had a 73 2.6 v6 4speed in the mid 80’s, lots of memories in that car, unfortunately pre phone camera so it and a couple other of my cars didn’t get captured for memory
    there were a crap ton of these running around my town in the 80’s, and my buddy had one with the 2000 4cyl 4speed all hot rodded up with orange paint and mini lights and he knew a guy had a 73 v6 sitting in a garage after being painted and i was able to buy that car. there were 2 more in my circle of friends including a 2.8 v6 automatic and another with the 2000 4cyl.

    Like 3
  9. Mike

    I bought a ‘new 73 green 2.0L 4spd as my first car at 16 with my money. Loved that car but it was anemic in the So Cal mountains for ski season. Two years later sold it for $500 less than my purchase price and bought a new ‘white 76 Capri II Ghia with the 2.8L V6 and 4spd. Loved that car! Outdrove my friends’ 320i’s!! One of the best cars I’ve ever owned…

    Like 2
  10. Steve Clinton

    I remember seeing these at an auto show in 1971.
    You could take the bumper in your hand and flex it.
    I wasn’t impressed, but it DID leave an impression on me to never buy one.

  11. Howie Mueler

    I can not even remember the last time i have seen one of these.

    Like 2
  12. chrlsful

    the muscle guys went for the stang back then, the ‘leather patch elbows’ these. If U think they ‘spin out’ Wayne – look what they do to them today. Few simple mods & back at it…course might put U ina different class so be sure the bent 6 is in there too 8^ )

  13. RoughDiamond Member

    My late brother bought a bright orange ’76 Capri II new with a V6 motor and manual transmission and it was a lot of fun to drive.

    Like 2
  14. Mark

    Always liked these. Design is spot on.
    Yes, they had their issues but given what is available in the aftermarket nowadays, no reason this one couldn’t be converted to a reliable road hugging perfomer without having to butcher it up.

    Like 1
  15. Pleease

    Bet this “sexy European” won’t go for a “shamefully low price”, as the ads used to say.

    Got to drive a number of these in my 1974-75 airport valet parking days and really liked them. Very peppy as I recall.

    Surprised there aren’t more survivors, as I always considered the Capri a desirable car from that era. As others have mentioned, I virtually never see one “in the wild”.

  16. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    Loved my 74 V-6 4 speed. Even with the swollen bumpers. Wished I had kept it longer.

    Like 2
    • douglas hunt

      my 73 2.6 4speed was this color, man would it run out on the interstate.
      It came with headers, I longed to swap on the aluminum intake and 4barrel carb that was available aftermarket, but alas i was 24, working at a NAPA days and going to a technical school at night for electrical engineering school, so between chasing girls and school i had no xtra funds

  17. Michael Berkemeier

    These always looked like they were going backwards. Whoever the stylist was must’ve been drunk…well, it was in Germany.

  18. TinCanSailor

    I owned a pair of these, a 71 with a 1.6 liter and a 73 with a 2.6 liter and a four speed. I paid $700 for both in 1981. I kept the 73, and that is the car I drove while in college and it was a blast to drive. I found a Dobi catalog and put on a bunch of suspension parts, added an aftermarket cam, four bbl intake, a 390 Holley carb, and headers/dual exhaust.

    By today’s standards, even after all that it was still a slug, but it would keep up with the Camaros, Firebirds, and Mustangs of the era (admittedly not a high bar).

    It was a fun little car and one I wish I would have kept.

    Like 2
  19. Joe Carter

    I had a 73 2600 manual I loved the car although it gave me a lot of grief as well.Great memories of my first sports car have had quite a few cars since then.My Capri had a beautifully crafted chrome map light on the windshield pillar a nice wee option.

  20. Mike Palka

    I sold my 69 Ford Falcon to help dad purchase a new 1974 Capri, 2.0L w/AT. I used it in college until my sister needed a car to learn how to drive in. After I graduated and got my first job, I tried multiple times to buy the Capri back from my dad. He said NO. My younger brother ended up with it and still has it today. We swapped out the AT for a 4pseed, fabricated a front air dam. Installed an aftermarket sun roof. He put in a small cam. Fortunately, it’s still in his garage. Unfortunately, it’s under a bunch of boxes! I finally found MY Capri on Memorial Day 1977. 1973 Mercury Capri, bronze w/ black vinyl top, 2,6L, 4-spd., dual exhaust, AIR CONDITIONING, rear window louvers, Michelin tires on Cragar 4-spoke rims. This Capri belonged to an Air Force pilot. He traded it in for a Datsun 260Z. I kept my Capri for 8+ years, put 160K+ miles on it before getting the engine rebuilt, then sold it with 180k+ miles on it to go back to college. The car was peppy. I was on I-16 between Savannah and Macon GA when a Datsun Z car pulled up. We were going 90+mph when I had to slow down because the front end was lifting. I ended up putting a front spoiler on it. The Cologne engines were very popular but lacked the power that other engines have.

    I have never seen another Capri exactly like mine. However, last August, I found one close to it in PA. 2.6L, 4spd & vinyl top. It’s in my back yard ready for restoration. Yes, parts are hard to find and there is a small following for these cars, but I love them. BTW did I tell you that between my brother and I we have/had 5 Capri’s at one time.
    • 73- 2.0L w/4-spd,
    • two 73’s 2.6L w/4 spd.,
    • 74 2.0L w/AT,
    • 76 Capri Ghia II, 2.3L w/4 spd.

    Like 2
    • Mercuryman

      Parts are not hard to find. Motormobil in Germany has an amazing collection of nos and reproduction parts. Shipping isn’t terrible. I wait until I can afford a batch lot and ship everything at once. Great to deal with. Aldridge trimming has interior panels, head liners and seat upholstery. The exchange rate is more favorable for you with U.S dollars. I have to use Canadian. There is so much out there. The car is loved the world over. Australia is also a good place to look for parts. You can do anything you want to them, engine swaps, mod the existing engine. You will be the limit to what you can do long before parts becomes an issue. Rock auto still carries a decent selection of maintenance type parts. If you need inspiration or help, reach out. There is a great community of owners and enthusiasts out there. Team Blitz is a good resource, however I find the prices about the same as Europe, and with shipping and duty sometimes more. I am trying to compile articles about the car, it’s history and modifications. I have been collecting magazines for years. When I have time I will start scanning them to make a folder I can email to fellow Capri people. Good luck!

  21. Gsuffa Gsuffa Member

    As real proof that these car are legendary and beloved, all the comments so far are about memories of cars other than the one in this article.

    Like 2
    • Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

      … with further evidence via the fact that most of the comments are positive.

      I was at an event this fall which had a “show within a show” with eight Capris. It was a real treat, as I hadn’t seen any for a long time.

      Like 1
  22. wifewontlikeit

    First car! 1973 Capri 2600, fun to drive and nimble. There were some issues, but it was fun, got reasonable milage (remember the gas crisis and alternate days?) Won some races and did some rallying. Loved it!

  23. MitchRoss Member

    Ranger 4.0 engines bolt right in as they share the block with the 2.6 and 2.8 V6

    • Mercuryman

      There was a guy in California that made kits to put the 2.9 into the Capri. Injected, with an adapter harness. I know there I a company in Germany that makes adapter plates to put the 2.8 front cover on a 2.9 so you can bolt on a 2.6 carb intake. One day I hope to try both the 2.9 and 4.0 in one of my cars.

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