1970 Ford Capri 1600GT with 3.0 Essex V6

Highlights


  • Recipient of a photographically-documented restoration completed in the summer of 2022
  • Transformed from a 1600GT into a powerful, muscular three-litre V6 Capri
  • Only 250 miles covered since restoration
  • £15,000 spent on parts alone

The Appeal


Surely there’s no car more emblematic of 1970s British cool than the Ford Capri? Armchair experts may scoff and say the 1970s was the decade everything went wrong for the British motor industry, but they’d be gravely mistaken. With its Escorts, Cortinas and Capris, Ford was getting everything right.

With the Capri, Ford of Europe repeated the success Ford of America had enjoyed some five years previously when it launched the Mustang. The Mustang is famously cited as history’s fastest-selling car, and the Capri proved to be an immediate success, too. Like its American cousin, the Capri’s success lay in the fact that it was a fast and exotically good-looking but affordable sports-car which made performance motoring available to the masses.

Launched in 1969 with engines ranging from an economical 1300cc four to the thundering three-litre Essex V6, there was a Capri for every taste and budget but, of course, the 3000GT was the one everyone really wanted, with a top speed in excess of 110mph.

Even if The Professionals made the Mk. III Capri more famous, we think the Mk. I was the best-looking, and this one looks especially good in its period-appropriate Valencia Yellow with black vinyl roof. Newly emerged from an extensive restoration, this Capri has been rebuilt with the Essex V6 and all other components correct for the 3000 V6 model. In this specification, it represents the ideal Capri.



The History and Paperwork


  • Acquired by the vendor as a yellow 1600GT in need of full restoration
  • Rebuilt over several months to a beautiful standard, with the desirable Essex three-litre V6
  • Paperwork includes the current V5 and invoices running to £15,000 for parts alone



The Interior


  • Largely original interior required only minor freshening up
  • New headlining installed
  • Period-correct Radiomobile radio sourced

While this Capri required restoration when it was purchased by the vendor, the interior had survived remarkably well and what you see is almost entirely original. The seats, door cards, dash and carpets are all preserved just as the vendor found them, with nothing more than a quick clean needed to bring them up to a highly presentable appearance. The black vinyl with woodgrain veneer trim looks just right in a 1970s car.

It may generally be observed that everything is in very good condition, including front and rear seats, although there is some patina in places, such as on the steering wheel. The headlining was in need of replacement so that has been completely renewed and looks superb.

In the photographs, one may notice a hole in the dash where the radio should be. Please be aware that this gap has now been filled, as the vendor has sourced a period-correct Radiomobile radio from a Jaguar, which fits into the slot very nicely.

Only one job remains for the new owner, which is to source a carpet for the boot. Originally, the early Capri had quite a Spartan boot with only a carpet but no side panels, so this should be a straightforward job. At present, there is no spare wheel.



The Exterior


  • Freshly painted in a brilliant vibrant yellow
  • New vinyl roof professionally fitted
  • Attractively fitted with aftermarket deep-dish Superlite wheels

The 1970s was no time for being a shrinking violet. Fashion favoured bright, bold colours, and the cars of the day suited them very well. In Valencia Yellow, this Capri stands out and looks fantastic.

The vendor, an experienced restorer, painted the car himself. The finish is excellent, although it was never the intention to perform a concours restoration and there are a few extremely minor imperfections, such as the odd chip or paint blister. These really are not obvious, though, and we very much doubt anyone will notice them unless they scour the car as we have done.

The vinyl roof was professionally fitted and we cannot find any fault with it. The chrome bumpers are in superb condition with just a very light patina. Since three-litre Capris were a relative scarcity when new, it isn’t easy to locate all the correct chrome trim and, ultimately, the vendor had to buy second-hand chrome trim from Australia. While it’s in very good condition, being second-hand it does have some light marks and a few small dents in places.

While the Capri remains faithful in almost every respect to its original 1970s specification, the vendor was rather taken by the more modern trend for fitting deep-dish Minilite-style wheels, and so the Capri now sports an attractive set of Superlites. They were purchased brand-new and remain in essentially brand-new condition.



The Mechanics


  • Every mechanical part now correct for a three-litre V6 model
  • Fully rebuilt engine and gearbox
  • Tested at over 100mph

If you’ve got a detailed knowledge of Capris, you’ll probably know that there’s more separating a 1600 from a 3000 than just the engine and badges. Doubtless, a lot of Essex conversions have not been done to such an exacting standard, but this car’s restorer did not scrimp on doing everything properly.

Accordingly, everything on this car is now correct to three-litre specification, including the chassis rails and top strut mounts with strengthening plates. The vendor completely renewed the springs and shocks, along with the steering rack, with new bushes and joints used all-round. The braking system was completely renewed, with new front discs and callipers, rear drums and shoes, brake pipes and so on.

The engine and gearbox have been completely rebuilt, and since completion the Capri has only covered 250 miles. A new clutch was fitted (with brake and clutch master cylinders correct for the three-litre) while a new propshaft was created entirely from scratch. Additionally, the whole car has been completely rewired.

We have seen the Capri start, run and drive and are very impressed by it. The muscular V6 sounds fantastic, of course, and to drive it feels just as a big, beefy sports-car should. The vendor has had an opportunity to run the car at a special facility and reports that it exceeded 100mph with ease.

Having been off the road until very recently, it has been a long time since the Capri was last subjected to an MoT test but it is, of course, exempt.



The Summary


Over 50 years after it launched, the Ford Capri remains one of the best sports-cars money can buy, especially if you’ve got a family. Ideally, you’d want an early one, since they were the best-looking, with the three-litre Essex V6, since that was the most exciting engine before the expensive, high-performance RS3100 appeared.

While this example didn’t leave the factory as a V6, we don’t see why that should be a problem. It has just emerged from a painstaking restoration which has seen it mechanically rebuilt just as if the factory had made it as a three-litre, so few people would guess that it’s not original. It promises to be enormously enjoyable and, with the restoration finished only a few weeks ago, this must be one of the best-presented cars on the market.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 2022
  • Make Ford
  • Model Capri 1600 GT with 3.0 Litre Essex V6
  • Colour Yellow
  • Odometer 245 Miles
  • Engine size 2994
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Location Sussex
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
13 bids from 6 bidders
  • gonow_f•••• £15,000 07/08/22
  • Reg2464 £14,500 07/08/22
  • gonow_f•••• £14,000 07/08/22
  • Reg2464 £13,500 07/08/22
  • Integra•••• £12,500 06/08/22
  • gonow_f•••• £12,000 06/08/22
  • Integra•••• £11,500 06/08/22
  • gonow_f•••• £11,000 06/08/22
  • Integra•••• £10,500 04/08/22
  • roger-n•••• £10,000 04/08/22

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