What An Ad! 1973 Capri Survivor

capri

Thanks go to Barn Finds reader Herb for alerting us to this find! It’s rare that you find an early Mercury Capri that isn’t completely rusted away. This one does have some issues, especially on the driver’s side rear fender, but that’s original metallic blue paint you are seeing, and apart from a spray-on roof replacing the original vinyl I would classify this car as a survivor. The Capri has 77,690 miles (and for once I believe it hasn’t turned over) and is offered here on craigslist in Seattle, Washington for $4,000. I have to say, however, that the real star in this case is not the car, although I like Capri’s, but the verbiage in the ad. The story told about the car and the lives it’s touched so far was extremely enjoyable to read but wasn’t hyperbole. If you have a few minutes, it’s really worth the read. I ended up hoping that the seller keeps the car! If you read the ad, let us know what you think in the comments.

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Comments

  1. jim s

    that was fun reading. selling more like a life style then just a car. makes up for all the adds i been reading that have less then 10 words total. i hope the car gets saved.

  2. Chris in Nashville

    I wish I were closer and could go save it but time just will not allow a trip to Seattle right now to check her out and not into buying blind.

  3. sparkster

    A friend at work in the 70’s had one of these. He let take it for a spin one day during work. I was gone for an hour. What a blast to drive. He had side pipes on his ( a 70’s thing ) The V-6 just sounded and ran great. I think he was a little miffed that I was gone so long. I just wasn’t sure when the next time I would be able to drive another Capri. Ahhhhhh the 70’s

  4. Dave

    That was a good story !!! I want to buy the car just because of it !!

  5. Fred

    I owned one! Actually forgot I had owned one because I had owned over 100 cars by age 25. Reading this reminded me of it in all it’s metallic brown glory. The writer really has a career waiting for him in automotive writing should he decide to pursue it.

  6. sir mike

    what an ad..loved reading it.bought a 73 copper metallic 2.0 new…wish i would have kept it. Norm from Team Blitz should buy this one…he has all the parts and knowledge.

  7. Charles

    The ad is cool! The fact that one of these survived is amazing, because they were truly a POS. While in high school I worked at a repair shop that specialized in imports. We had several customers who owned Capri’s. I used to pick them up, do oil changes, detail work, and such, than deliver them back to the owners. If the car needed anything more complicated it went over to the shop for professional repairs. Parts falling off on the highway was a common problem. There were a lot better cars on the road. No doubt this one is a survivor, and I hope it finds the right home and continues to survive.

    • Howard A

      Hi Charles, thank you. I bought a ’73 Crapi [sic] in late ’75. It was brown. ( see where this is going?) The car really was a nice concept, but like you say, it was a pretty lousy car. It had already developed coolant issues (V-6), the 4 speed was right out of the Pinto ( big gap between 1st and 2nd) and sorely needed a 5 speed. Nasty blind spot in the right rear, and never liked that gas door on the C pillar. It handled crummy ( in all fairness, I was used to an MGB) and was front heavy and terrible in the winter. I think the later Capri’s addressed some of those issues. They were popular for a while, though.

  8. Ian

    I’ve had my series III 2.0s Capri for over 20 yrs and enjoy it as much now as when I got it. It’s gone from an embarrassing pile of junk to very collectable and series 1 like more so – esp here in the UK. Parts are OK via specialists here and this car at $4000 is a steal in series 1 form

  9. blindmarc

    I always liked these. I got to drive one for a few months in the mid eightys, and enjoyed the time in it. Never had any problems.

  10. Barzini

    If they had awards for the best written Craigslist ads, he would win the top prize by a landslide.

    • Jason

      They *do* have a “Best Of” feature. (Look down on the right side of the footer.)

  11. Jasper

    Maybe they weren’t the most robust thing on four wheels, but they had style and performance. I always loved ’em. This would make for an interesting drive back home to Kentucky purchase.

  12. DonS

    After reading the ad on Craigslist I quickly clicked the “best of” link at the bottom of the ad. This is truly is well written story\ad.

  13. Charles

    I actually like the Line-X spray on top to replace the factory vinyl top. It looks decent on the car. Providing that the metal was properly prepped and any rust was removed, the spray on top should last a long time and not hold moisture causing rust to form like those vinyl tops were so famous for.

  14. daveT

    Hi everyone, my second post here and loving this site. This car speaks to me. Especially when the prices of Datsun Z’s of the same era escalated recently. I hope it gets saved. I too voted for best of craigslist.

  15. Karl

    Car and Driver once did an article on a later, Europe-only hi-po version of this car and called it the German Mustang GT. What a difference between this car and the Cologne V6-powered Mustang II. I know–my first car was a ’74 Mustang Mach I with the 2.8 liter. It accelerated like it was chained to a tree stump and got less than half the gas mileage this car gets. Too bad Ford hadn’t yet gotten the mantra of “World Car” and “One Ford” that came later–this car could have been a hell of an American Mustang.

  16. Leo

    What a read, this was truly a beautiful story. Verry entertaining. I must save this guys contact info for whenever I need to sell something. Lol

  17. cliffyc

    Fantastic ad,informative and well written. Steering shimmy is a common trait on Ford/Mercury Capris. I would want to have the original Rostyle sreel wheels repainted as they are period correct, Ford RS 4-spoke alloys would look great too. Great Capri for somebody.

  18. Charles

    Decent tires, good alignment, straight brake rotors, and a steering damper should correct any shimmy problems.

  19. Doug M

    I wrote to him as he suggested and recommended he check out barnfinds.
    This community needs him.
    Memories were refreshed for me, I had an identical ’73 tho white, sans the vinyl roof corrosion option, but with the “featherlight rear weight bias” torque oversteer option. Drove it several times during the winter of ’83/84 from upstate NY to N VA via the “Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania”. A treacherous route when dry let alone in the snow to visit an eventual (ex)wife. If not for my wonderful sons I wish the Capri would have killed me. The tail happy practice was a invaluable lesson for my future racing endeavors. Two years prior I had wrenched on an IMSA Kelly Cup Capri II and just thought the ’73 could be as much fun….silly me.
    The ignition module issues and face of the Grim Reaper at every curve entry was what finally converted me mid winter to a VW diesel.

  20. MikeH

    I haven’t bought too many new cars [I decided used makes more sense], but I bought two of these, a ’73 and a ’77. I loved them both. The ’77 with the 3L V6 could beat any Z car around.

  21. JimmyinTEXAS

    I have never driven one of these, but was always impressed by the looks. The comments here lead me to think that if this happens to be a member of the large majority of the model that drops parts on the highway at random, it wouldn’t hurt to tastefully retro-mod it to bring it closer to modern. Little larger wheels with disk all around, a few tweaks of the suspension front and rear and for the coup de gras a 3.5L eco-boost. That spray on top doesn’t look to bad in pictures but up close might be an issue. Great ad definitely got a best of vote.

  22. Chris A.

    We had four of these in the family during the 80’s, two 2.0s with Pinto engines and then two v6’s, all 4 speeds. The best was the red V6 4 speed bought new that lasted 3 weeks when Mom was side swiped and pushed into a guide rail. Totaled the car and Dad took the insurance settlement and immediately bought another V6. The V6s were nose heavy but good quiet cruisers. In winter you needed good snows with studs, a full tank and a 50 lb bag of sand in the trunk. The 4’s were much better balanced and nicer to drive. Charles hit it dead center, to avoid shimmy or any vibration the front suspension had to be tight with premium tires on well balanced wheels. Mom and Dad were driving across NC in the first 2.0 and Dad having had enough of a front end vibration, turned into a speed shop in Randleman NC and asked them if they could balance the front wheels, tires and rotors up to 120. The manager laughed and said sure, sent them across the street to the diner and an hour later it was ready. Smooth as glass, turned out the shop did a lot of contract work for area NASCAR teams. They’d pulled the brake pads and balanced the hubs, rotors, wheels and tires as one unit. Smooth as glass. I had my 2.0 as a second car when a big Olds skidded on ice and rear ended me at a downhill stop sign. Totaled it, but no fire as the gas tank was forward, high and between the rear axles. The Capri series were built very light, but except for the rusting, were better cars than Ford Pintos. The V6 series that were assembled in Cologne, Germany had a much better buld quality than the Ford of England cars.

  23. RickyM

    Brilliant Ad! So much better than the vast majority of the Craigslist ads that I have read after referrals from BF. Nice Capri. Remember loads of these Ford Capris (as they were in England) in my childhood.

  24. Karl Luedemann

    I owned one of these. This is why I still do all my auto maintenance. Fiber timing gears? Stick shift was welded at the base? Sometimes, I would have to crawl under the car to line up the lever arms on the shifter, to get it to go into any gear. The interior vinyl shreaded by itself in sunlight. The rack and pinion was held in place with 4 spot welds, which is why the front end would, “shimmy”. The entire rack could shift from side to side when you would hit a bump. The solution was to stop, then drive again, until you hit another bump, then stop again. The oil pressure gauge was an actual pressure guage, with a plastic tube going into it. I called a plastic tubing company, gave them the inside diameter of the tubing, and told them it needed to withstand around 60 psi. The guy laughed and said, “No flexible plastic tubing can stand that kind of pressure”. I replied, “Well I guess I know that”. I had about 4 patches where I used a small section of copper tubing, and small hose clamps. It had 73,000 miles on it when a lady pulled out in front of me. I was praying it was totaled when the tow truck was leaving with it, when I saw the drive shaft flopping around under it, (it had 3 universal joints, with a big bearing to support the middle one, which was very expensive to replace, even from the junk yard). In the summer of 1980, I spent about $2000 on parts from the junk yard, and fixed 2 problems every day, just to keep it running! 1973 model v6. It was totaled, and it was the happiest day of my 20 year life. I got $1000 from the insurance company. Did I mention the rear wheel bearings were press fit to the axel, and we’re ball, not roller bearings? Did I mention you could literally bend the rear bumper with your bare hands? Worse car I ever owned, and I owned a Ford Windstar!

  25. CharlesS

    When I was 12 I started servicing my parents cars. By the time I was 14 I pulled the heads of of my mom’s 1966 Chrysler because it had a couple of burnt valves. A local machine shop did a valve job, and I reinstalled the heads on the engine. The car had factory AC so there were lots of parts to deal with. The car ran 120K more mIles before a piston ring cracked and the engine required a complete rebuild.
    A friend of my mom’s had a Capri. She offered to pay me a few bucks to come over and change the oil. While sreviving the car I found out that it had a very dirty air filter, so that was replaced also. I was impressed at how awfull those cars were just from that one encounter. Two years later the wing nut vibrated off of the breather and of course it was my fault. That POS car and the dipstick owner badmouthed me for several years, even though my skills earned me an after school job at an automotive machine shop. I have always hated those cars.

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