The Ford Capri is an excellent illustration of the company's understanding of the need of producing the right car at the right time for the right price. The compact 2-door coupe offered practicality, sporting prowess and durable well-proven mechanics for the stylish family man. By the time the third incarnation of the Capri arrived in 1978, Ford had shifted the model upmarket, and while it lacked a level of mechanical sophistication, it still looked the part.
Aware of the need to bring the Capri into the 80s, Ford's research division in Essex developed a Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system for their 2.8 V6 engine and in the process re-invented the Capri. It was found to have not only extended the model's longevity, but it became the most sought-after production Capris of the era.
The Capri 2.8 Injection was a lot more than a Capri with a hairier chest. Ford had made sure that the extra power, which now allowed the car to beat the 8-second mark to 60 mph, could brake and handle in comfort.
The car was treated to a new luxurious interior trim, with impressive standard equipment but also treated to a smart set of pepper pot alloys, the option of an eye-catching twin-tone paint finish and the distinctive yet subtle body graphics. There was no mistaking the new Capri 2.8 Injection.
This example is quite possibly one of the best early 2.8 Injection cars you’re likely to come across. This beautifully restored example was in very good shape prior to being subjected to what can only be described now as a potentially show-winning car.
With much of this 1981 car retaining its original parts, it has seen a sympathetic renovation, which has not only retained its exact factory specifications but comes with hundreds of invoices covering five decades of careful ownership. Finished to an exceptionally high standard, the car has been given the full works by a respected Ford enthusiast, who has a proven track record for quality and detailed restorations.
The History and Paperwork
Five decades' worth of invoices
£3,000 recently spent on part
£7,000 spent on body restoration alone
12 Months MOT
Professionally restored by Classic Dreamworks
Originally registered in November 1981 by Dees of Croydon, the first owner was a company director at a construction firm, who kept the car for two years. It then went through a succession of owners until it was bought in 1988 by an owner who kept it for 17 years and is believed to have overseen its first restoration. It has since been passed through to several keepers since then, but each one has done their bit to ensure that the car remained in good shape. The volume of invoices that come with the car has been carefully organised per year which serves as a testament to how good it was even before its latest restoration.
As well as hundreds of invoices which cover servicing, maintenance and low-level mechanical work on the car, it appears to have been carefully used on a regular basis, serving as a ‘show queen’. It retains all of its previous MOTs as well as DVLA documentation listing all of the previous owners. It is this background and the careful retention of that considerable evidence of its cherished past that attracted the car to its current owner, but his plan was not just to maintain this responsibility but in his own words, to take it one step further.
The owner has a particular interest in finding original solid cars with decent provenance and gets genuine joy from simply making them the best he possibly can. With two previous cars under his belt, the end game rewards him with noteworthy results at auction. His motivation? Simply done for the challenge, rather than the fame. The self-effacing owner is a die-hard Ford fan, and part of the allure of restoring a car like this is seeing someone else's enthusiasm for the brand. The owner discovered the car via a Hertfordshire-based prestige car dealer, who had obtained it from a Capri Club member. Recognising the potential of the solid and well-documented 1981 4-speed 2.8i car, those who know these cars will testify that these German-built cars are not only rarer than the later somewhat more flashy models but offer a fascinating insight into Ford's ability to successfully market a new generation of fuel-injected cars.
As alluded to, the car was already presented to a high standard when he obtained it late last year, but his task was to bring it up to a level that he would be satisfied with. A quick check of his invoices indicates that he spent nearly £3,000 on new parts, and he estimated that he donated 500 hours while working on the car. A further £7,000 was spent on the body restoration. At least 80 new parts have been bought covering mechanical, interior, body and aesthetic elements of the car, some of which are described in the main sections. An additional 40 listed parts have been either media blasted, powder coated or wet painted, which outlines the owner's attention to detail, which becomes very apparent when you note that the car has been furnished with a full set of zinc-plated nuts and bolts.
It goes without saying that a core focus is the body of the car, which saw a bare shell restoration at Classic Dreamworks, including a rotisserie underbody restoration and professional ‘Raptor’ underseal, however, the mechanical side has also seen a considerable amount of elbow grease and time, with an inventory of parts and tasks running into the hundreds. Naturally, the process has been documented and the owner has taken over 1000 photos. Even as you read this, further improvements are being prepared in time for the sale. The car is old enough to be classified as tax and MOT exempt, but the current owner has placed a full 12 months MOT on the car for good measure. The car has only covered around 100 miles since its restoration, to ensure that everything is performing at 100%. He states that it is essentially a brand new car. The owner has also mentioned that the car will feature in Classic Ford magazine.
Perfect 'Carla' Recaro seats
The 2.8i cabin is fully furnished with every available option for the flagship 1981 Capri range, and its originality, as well as its condition, could be easily described as showroom perfect. The Recaro Grey Check ‘Carla’ fabric seats with velour fabric are in superb shape having seen a refurb, with no obvious issues in terms of wear. They all retain a firmness, suggesting that the sponges are in good shape.
The matching door cards are free of scuffs and lavishly offer a triple helping of carpet, fabric and vinyl finishing. The carpeting in the car is also free of any form of age and is so clean to a point where one might be reluctant to even wear shoes in the car…
The dashboard, facia and centre console are free of any form of damage, with all of the buttons and switches in good working order and displaying very little in terms of wear. The heater has seen a complete renewal, with a new blower, motor, resistor, matrix and seals fitted. The full complement of instruments is housed in a very tidy binnacle, with the tachometer, ammeter, oil pressure gauge and speedometer all functional, with no damage to the faces or bezels.
The car retains its original-style three-spoke steering wheel, which demonstrates very little in terms of wear. The sports gearshift knob is in a similar positive state. The car is fitted with the optional multi-feature stereo cassette player but is the only interior fitting that is not operational. The headlining is in good shape, fitting tightly with no significant marks. The sunroof operates perfectly with no evidence of leaks.
The boot is nicely carpeted and, like the cabin, is completely dry, with no signs of interior dampness in this garaged car. The plastic lining is in good order, with a few light marks noted. The parcel shelf is one of the few non-original parts fitted to the interior of this car and as a new part is virtually flawless. It has to be mentioned that the whole interior has also seen a full set of new screws, which is not something one might consider but that level of detail is simply the final touch in making this car so appealing.
Exceptional exterior presentation
Fully restored pepperpots
As to be expected on a car that has seen a deep and detailed restoration, there is very little to detract from its exceptional presentation. A handful of blemishes were noted on the day and those with a keen eye may spot them in the photographs, but the owner has since replaced or repaired the barely noticeable issues.
The panel fit, as well as the panel gaps, are consistent and it would not be an exaggeration to suggest that it is as good, even better, perhaps, than the original factory finish. The owner has stated that he estimates that 80% of the car is original, and he has gone to great lengths to try to retain as much authenticity as possible, with many parts simply being subject to refurbishment rather than replacement.
The construction of the Capri is famously simple, which is one of the main factors in for its DIY popularity. It has to be said that the assessment underneath the car does not reveal any form of structural deficiencies and a check at the floor pan, chassis rails, strut top mounting, inner wings (including the strengthening plate), A posts, sills and rear spring hangers are free from any form of issues.
Externally the car does not display any form of metal blemishes, with all of the body panels, including the rear arches in exceptionally good shape. All of the doors open and close with ease, the boot struts are well up to the task, and the seamless operation of both passenger doors suggests that their hinges are not worn or sagging. The body is free from any significant signs of road wear or scuffs, including the front air dam.
The Graphite Grey over Strato Silver paint application has been executed to a very high standard, with no impediments to the finish noted. The coverage is even, with no flat spots or runs. The twin bodyside tape-stripe and model decals have been carefully applied, with the owner even recalling the exact measurement to ensure a perfect mount! While it may not be too obvious in the photographs, there were the lightest of scuffs on the sunroof, but this has since been repainted.
The iconic pepper pot wide-rim alloys are the original items but have been acid dipped, powder-coated, sprayed and lacquered. Needless to say, they are in excellent condition and topped off with chrome wheel nuts. The Nankang tyres are all matching and are all less than 6 years old, with well above the legal tread.
The glass, including the unique bonded-in tinted tailgate glass and the opening rear quarter windows, is in good shape, with no issues with their rubber seals. These have been subject to renewal as part of the restoration process. The owner has also pointed out that the slightly scruffy trim around the windscreen has also been renewed since the photos were taken. The headlights and plastic lenses are in excellent shape. The black rubber body side moulding is all well mounted with minor signs of age noted.
The eagle-eyed viewer may note that the photos reveal a slightly damaged rear bumper, but again this has since been replaced and repainted and now literally looks good as new. The front rubber over-riders and end caps are in good shape with the slightest of marks noted. The iconic rear spoiler is in very good condition. As the owner's commitment to detailing is a thread that runs throughout his work, it is worth noting that the number plates have been remade with the original issuing dealer names placed on them, as well as a copy of the rear glass dealer sticker.
Many new parts to the engine and running gear
Immaculate engine bay
The 2.8i engine has been another core focus for the owner over the restoration period and has seen a significant amount of new parts. Along with the usual serviceable items, key components have been removed, cleaned, refurbed or replaced resulting in what can only be described as an engine bay worthy of a prize.
To help the presentation of the car, the original mounts, struts, cross members and brackets have all been refurbished and treated, with even the gearbox bell housing, prop shaft, rear drums, anti-roll bars and engine block have been removed and treated. The engine has also seen countless replacement gaskets and seals replaced.
The fuelling system has seen attention with a new fuel pump, accumulator, clips and pipes as well as a brand new tank. All of which have enabled the car to start up with no issues. The fuel injection system has not presented the owner with any issues and the car starts on the button, with no dashboard warning lights and displays compliant oil pressure.
Once the initial exhaust condensation clears, the engine ran very sweetly with no knocks or unwanted noises while the car was idling. The car is believed to have been fitted with a Janspeed exhaust system, which has been cleaned and polished, as well as treated to new clamps and gaskets. The throaty hum of the pipes adds to the Capri's sporty character and provides the perfect soundtrack to complement the car's potent acceleration.
The engine temperature remained stable, with the fan not needing to cut in while the car was on tick-over. It has seen a full set of water hoses, and a new water pump, including a gasket and thermostat. It has been subject to an overhaul of its braking components, with a new master cylinder and reservoir, a pair of rear wheel cylinders, caliper rebuild, and new rear brake lines.
Because of this focus on the brakes, the car is said to brake uniformly, with no juddering or squeals noted. The 4-speed gear change is slick, with no issues reported thanks to a new clutch fitted along with its pressure plate and thrust bearing. The car rides well, which is no doubt helped by the all-round installation of polyurethane bushes, with new rear bump stops and new front springs to add further confidence to the Capri’s safe handling.
The Capri has always had a special place in the British publics' hearts. Even when the rest of the world gave up on it, its enduring popularity and respect allowed the car to remain in production for far longer than it really had the right to.
It’s this connection, along with Ford's typical virtues of straightforward mechanical maintenance, great looks and driving excitement that add up to the perfect recipe for what has to be described as one best Capris for sale at the moment.
Notice to bidders
Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.
As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the seller's discretion.
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1981 Ford Capri 2.8 Injection
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