The Other Fox Body: 1983 Mercury Capri RS 5.0

The Mercury Capri is seen far less frequently than its Fox-body twin, the Ford Mustang. Even harder to find are the desirable RS cars, equipped with the venerable 5.0L V8 motor, otherwise found in the Mustang GT. This Capri has been hidden away somewhere in Vermont for the past 10 years and retains its desirable Recaro interior. Find it here on craigslist for $4,500 and thanks to Barn Finds reader Fordguy for the find. 

The Capri’s rear-end treatment likely turned off some hardcore Mustang fanatics back in the day, and it’s still a downer today. Obviously, Mercury was trying to distinguish its version of the muscle car any way it could, but this reminds me so much of the Plymouth Laser / Dodge Charger of the same era that it’s almost impossible to get the Mopar hatch out of my head. The blue-on-white stripe package doesn’t help, either.

As mentioned, this Capri retains its unique Recaro interior, though it will likely need some work to be perfect again. The interior is otherwise a barely-disguised Mustang underneath, but the red inserts are unusual to see in a white car – perhaps the color isn’t original? The seller mentions that the strut towers are solid but doesn’t elaborate about any other rust issues, a potential concern with a Vermont car.

Here’s the answer to my last question: this Capri has been repainted, poorly, with the engine bay left the original color of crimson and the white paint just sort of sprayed carelessly along the firewall. Cars like this automatically demand you ask where else were corners cut, and make you hope the answer is limited to the amateur paint job.

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Comments

  1. Miguel

    It needs way too much work for the money.

    It is smarter to start with a car that hasn’t been messed with so much.

    Like 5
  2. Green66

    Way too much work needed for that asking price. Plus the person who tried to make it into a mustang with a wheel swap and a bad paint job needs to be brought out back of the woodshed.

    Like 9
  3. Tiberius1701

    Seats are not Recaro, but Lear Siegler produced ‘Sport Seats’ as the Ford and Mercury catalogs referred to them. And why on God’s Green Earth do folks not at least try to clean the car up for presentation. Geez..

    Like 7
    • Rob

      I worked at Lear Siegler, in Kitchener, summer job…

      Like 1
  4. Mike

    That looks like a crimson cat edition!

    Like 2
    • Jett

      One of those was nearly my first car in 1990 or so, but they were asking way too much, and my parents said no. Lol

  5. Harry A Hodson

    As always, white paint hides most sins. Waves and dents are far less noticeable. And the Capri HAD an attractive backside, before they opted to go with the ‘aero’ hatch glass.
    Sadly, this one would be a Pass.

  6. Robert Eden

    Based on those seats, it is a Crimson Cat all right. The seats are the giveaway.

  7. vlrd56

    85 miles/hour maxi for a V8 of 5 liters ???

    • David

      Regulations at that time limited all speedo’s to 80ish since the National Speed Limit was 55mph.

      Like 1
    • Jett

      With the 157 hp 5.0, you could probably hit about 115 mph right out of the box. With some work, it probably wouldn’t be hard to hit 130. But the 5.0 was never about top speed, anyway. American muscle has always been about the 1/4 mile, or the 0-60…

  8. Wrong Way

    Could be a nice car with a bunch of work! Myself tho, find me a Shelby Capri, and it’s sold! I have been looking for one for years! I want to put one with my Stang collection!

    Like 1
    • Capriest

      It’s an 83 crimson cat capri someone put a stupid shelby paintjob on. Damn shame it’s a terrible look on the capri, and they look great in white with the RS graphics. The blue stripes just scream shelby or chevy to me. Being an 83 RS owner myself the lack of taste saddens me, but at least it’s still around. Get rid of the blue stripes and replace them with some RS graphics and it would be a nice looking car again. It has potential, but the ask is too high to reverse the “improvements” previous owner sadly spent money on. I paid less for my rust free black 83 rs a few years ago, and while the engine and suspension are modified the interior is far nicer, and the paint though not as shiny has not been molested.

      • Jett

        I’ve heard of “resale red”, but never “wesale white”…

    • Jett

      Uh, I hate to tell you, but there’s no such thing as a Shelby Capri…

  9. SK

    I bought one of these new. Traded my 79 Mustang Pace Car. Build quality, ride and acceleration were better than the Mustang. It didn’t hop like crazy from a standing start like the Mustang. The Mustang was absolutely planted at 140 (did some engine work) where the Capri front end would lift at 130. Mine was the Crimson Cat RS H.O., Getrag 5 speed, sunroof, no air. Crimson Cat edition meant all chrome was painted black and the car was red.

    They were both great cars. I see a couple of Pace Cars running around where I live, but I never see Capri’s.

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