Track Rat Project: 1976 Ford Capri

Few vehicles are more intriguing than a retired race car with no history. A car like this is a rolling testament to racing’s culture at the time it was built, from the preferred models to use as track toys to the modifications deemed advantageous for the era’s competition standards. This 1976 Ford Capri here on craigslist is such a vehicle, with tacked on flares and a lowered stance acting as testimony to its competition past.

The Capri is listed for a mere $1,500, with no paperwork except for a pink slip. This example was absolutely someone’s track toy back in the day, as you don’t add box flares and period BBS / Mahle wheels by accident. Not to mention the fact that a Capri was an excellent choice for a cheap track weapon in the 1970s and 1980s, and I’d love to know what it’s got for suspension tweaks underneath.

The interior is actually surprisingly stock considering the exterior modifications. Stock bucket seats in seemingly excellent condition, along with a factory dash with no obvious modifications are both surprising features in a car with such obvious sporting intentions. Perhaps it was used for autocross, which wouldn’t necessarily require a full interior gut if it’s a car you intended to use during the week for commuting purposes.

Hard to tell what happened in the engine bay, as whatever motor was installed has been taken down to the block and seemingly left exposed to the elements. I went through this with my barn find 1980 BMW320/6 project, and the rust that built up along the cylinder walls left no question a proper rebuild was needed. This Capri is pretty cheap for a presumably rust-free California car and would look wicked with the cosmetics left as-is and a hotted up Cologne V6 under the hood.

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  1. Howard A

    To be clear, it’s a Capri ll and they could lose the side panels. It addressed many of the faults with the original, hatchback, 5 speed ( I think) redesigned gas filler, just a better car all around. I was surprised to learn, the Capri ll was the largest selling import behind only the VW in the mid-70’s. What happened to them all? I believe this is the 2.8 motor, one I never cared for. V8 Ford would be a fun swap, if the body could take it, that is.

  2. Hoos Hoos Member

    My first car was a radioactive green ’76 Capri II that I bought from a local junkyard in ’84. It had a little rust, an exhaust leak, a bad window regulator, and some electrical gremlins. No ignition switch was present, so until I had to get state inspection, I’d hot wire it. I fixed the window, did a cheap exhaust patch and put the ignition switch. I bought it for $125 and sold it 2 years later for $250, and the only other repair it needed was a throw out bearing. I drove it hard, and it leaked and burned some oil, but I liked it. I’ve been keeping my eyes open for a few years, but haven’t seen too many nice ones.

  3. RichS

    Deleted already. I’d have bought this and then started trolling Copart listings for wrecked EcoBoost Mustangs

  4. Michael DeRosa

    My very first car was a 1973 2600 with a 4-speed. Great car but I was a stupid 17 year old and crashed it so many times it was criminal. You just don’t see these cars anymore.

    • scottymac

      Come to the little town of Danville, Indiana, there’s two of them here. I bought mine in 2006 from the bay area of California for $1,400, plugged cat, wouldn’t pass smog. Lots of dollars and sweat since then. Tribute to the one I had on the autobahn in the seventies.

  5. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    Absolute steal at this price.

  6. TimM

    I had the chance to buy a canary yellow one once and it looked pretty much the same way! Torn apart down to the block and obviously didn’t run!! Cool little car back in the day!! I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t mind having this one!! Doesn’t surprise me it’s deleted already!!!

  7. angliagt

    Looks like they added the Chastain body kit to it.


    Guys this is not an amateur custom. It is a factory build. I saw one like it on the showroom floor at a big Mercury dealer in 1977 while my father was negotiating on a new Cougar. Motor Trend or Road and Track had this on the cover.

    The wide body anything is in vogue now… it or not. The panels are thin plastic and not sure how this one survives but I like it. I believe it may have been a one year option. Can’t be too many around.

    • Rick Rothermel

      It’s a Chastain body kit, an S3 version IIRC. Lots of Mercury dealers would retrofit their Capri IIs with these body kits so they could drag another $1500 or so out of the sales contract. Remember the little ‘Additional Dealer Profit’ stickers that accompanied the window stickers back then? L/M dealers were clueless to the charms of these gen 2 Capris, often tried to up the ante with vinyl tops, stripes and added ‘stuff’.
      The Chastain kits were nice enough bit the drilling needed to mount the body kit would invite more of the rust that was already an issue with the cars
      I had three of the first gen, including a Bullitt Green ’73 V6 4-gear that was tons of fun.
      The Chastain outfit also made serious bank from their ‘Shadow’ window louver kits, cleverly designed and lift-up for cleaning.
      THE tricked out gen 2 Capri that would be worth finding would be the ’76 Black ‘S’ model that Editor John Dianna had built for HOT ROD magazine back then. Steel European factory flares and proper paint and body work, lowered a tad. Looked killer.
      I think the EcoBoost EFI motor and a 5-speed would be neat in one of these.

  9. KevinR

    Not a race car; it’s someone’s street custom from the late ’70s. Chastain body kit is unusual, but they were readily available when this car was new. Should make a nice project for someone. I’ve always been partial to Capri IIs painted in the black with gold JPS style.

  10. fstedie

    Wasn’t this in the Mad Max movie?….

  11. PDXBryan

    Folks, like a couple people have already said-this looks like a Castain body kit. While it may not be to everyone’s taste, it has some historical significance and might be worth restoring. I bet there are guys in England that would LOVE to get their hands on it!

  12. Billy1

    It is a Chastain body kit. Even Hot Rod Magazine had one of these as there cover car back in the 70’s. The kit alone is worth the asking price-thus the car is free. But, someone figured that out already as the ad is already pulled.

  13. Capriest Member

    Somebody got lucky! I would have had to ship it to friggen Maine,but it would have been worth it at that price. This would be SICK with a modern powerplant in it.

  14. 200mph

    This was never a track car, nor a factory build. Street Capri with Chastain bodykit… more street cred than a tape stripe special but no added performance here.

    My JPS Capri II (called “Capri S” in the USA) was white w/gold, 2.8 V6. Fun, reliable, decent performance and gas mileage. Right car for the times… without the bodykit !

  15. Pete Bormann

    That down pipe in the engine bay almost looks like it had a turbo flange on it. Not the down pipes I remember on a 2.8. Would be nice to have some history

  16. Hans selin

    it possibly that it hade a braodspeed turbo kit on it .

    • scottymac

      Know they supplied the Mark 1, but thought the Turbo Technics was more popular for the Mark 2 & 3?

  17. Stillrunners

    Ran one hard in the late 70’s with the V6 around our freeways and it never failed me…even with the 100LL avgas I ran thru it….traded it off for something……

  18. Mike

    Wow… what memories! I had a ‘73 4 cylinder that I traded for one of the first ‘76’s available with the 2.8L V6. Loved that car except for a bad factory paint job ( silver ) and a propensity to eat water pumps!! Just missed getting a pristine one at auction with only 27k miles. Still crying over that one!😂

  19. Healeymonster

    In 76 they called it the Capri Il. In 77 they dropped the ll and just called it Capri. I bought my diamond white Capri brand new in 77 for $3500.00 off the showroom floor at Sunnyvale Linc/ Mercury. Wonderfull car after it got sorted.
    I prefered the Rokstock cosmetics over these over the top Chastain jobs. Still wish i could find a clean Capri survivor to relive the past one more time!

    • Rick Rothermel

      I moved to Portland Oregon during the ROKStock period, had a ’74 V6 4-gear that looked waaaay better than it ran.
      Rick O. Keiser, owner of ROKStock, was a cool guy. His ‘demo’ Capri II was probably the ultimate, and was a solid hit with ROAD TEST magazine. He tried like hell to make a go of it but the ‘Carter economy’ took him down. The double-digit interest rates back then were death to small business. He eventually shut down and went to sell Hondas and make some money.
      Looking around the net though I found him again… alive and well, with a solo shop in the Portland area. I wonder if he still has the car…

  20. 200mph

    There’s a white Capri II S near Placerville CA for sale now on Craigslist. Interior was resprayed all black, otherwise looked decent for $4000.

    If I didn’t have too many projects & too little free time, I’d have grabbed it.

  21. Jasper

    This looks like something built to play on Mullholland Dr. I myself am not crazy about the body kit, but it is period. It’d look sweet in orange again. I’d say the silver or gray primer attracted a lot less police attention back in the day!

  22. Billy1

    I see traction bars and a single exhaust pipe(stock was dual exhaust), so it may have had some nice hp mods(turbo?) done to it.

  23. John Oliveri

    I was always under the impression, and I could be wrong, that it was a Mercury Capri, not a Ford, although Ford Lincoln Mercury were one in the same, my uncle had a 74, withba 6 cylinder, 4 speed I believe, don’t think it was 5 speed, awesome Lil car, really quick

    • Healeymonster

      Up until 1977 ( the last year imported to US) they were just called Capri. They were sold through Mercury dealers but there is no badge to indicate either Ford or Mercury until 1980 when they rebadged Mustangs as Mercury Capri with a new hatchback and front grill. In Europe where these were built they were strictly Ford Capri.

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