1981 Ford Capri 2.8 injection

Guide price: £25,000-£35,000
・Special Build for Henry Ford II
・Factory Automatic installed by SVE  
・Documented in Steve Saxty’s latest book – Secret Fords 
・6,800 miles in the last 28 years

The Background 

Designed as a Fastback Coupe, it was Ford's intention to reproduce the North American success of the Mustang across Europe with the Capri. Mechanically the Colt (which was the name used in the development stages) was essentially based on the popular Ford Cortina. The production of the Capri began in 1968 and it was unveiled to the public at the Brussels Motor Show in 1969. Ford aimed for the car to be affordable to potential buyers, by offering 1.3 litre, 1.6 litre and 2.0 litre engine options, and by the end of the year a 3.0 litre V6 producing 138 bhp was also an option. 
Within the first two years Ford had sold an amazing 400,000 Capri’s proving it was here to stay! 1972 saw the MK1 Capri receive a facelift, which included larger headlights, enlarged rear lights, Quad headlights on the 3.0 Litre GT, more comfortable suspension and the Kent engines were replaced with the Ford Pinto engine. With the Capri now a well established model worldwide 1974 brought us the MKII Capri. 
Although the MKII Capri was styled similar to the MKI a few big changes had been made. The bonnet was shortened to suit everyday driving and Ford made the rear boot lid into the first Ford to feature a hatchback. The Capri was still offered with a 1.3, 1.6 and 2.0 litre and not forgetting the huge 3.0 litre V6. Fitted with either 4-speed or 5-speed manual transmission or the option of Ford's new C3 3-speed automatic transmission were available. A more modern dashboard and smaller steering wheel brightened up the interior. 
The MkII had a production run until 1978 and still proving popular worldwide, Project Carla was introduced to us, otherwise referred to as the MKIII. The new styling on the Capri worked extremely well, with the more aerodynamic shape the MKIII improved performance and economy over the MKII. With the trademark quad headlights, similar to those on the RS2000, the leading bonnet edge was pulled down slightly over the headlights for a more aggressive appearance.The rear lights were the “sawtooth” style as used on the Cortina, Escort MKIII and Granada. Again, the same engine range was available in the MKIII, with the 3.0 litre S regarded as the most desirable model. You may remember the 3.0 S flying around the streets of London from the famous 80’s TV show “The Professionals CI5”.   
As more strict emission regulations came into force, the 3.0 V6 that had been the top of the tree for the Capri was dropped from the range and replaced in 1982 with the more economical 2.8 Injection which produced a claimed 157 bhp, but tests show the figure was closer to 147 bhp, still plenty enough to the rear wheels. The 2.8i was given a more luxurious velour trim in the early models and then in 1984 there was a special model with a limited slip differential and half leather trim. The addition of the 2.8 injection breathed new life into the Capri range and this enabled Ford to continue production for another 3 years than they had originally planned.

The History

Without doubt, the Capri is one of Ford’s iconic classic cars from the 70’s and 80’s and although there are not many about, this one is not just your average 2.8 injection. As you’re about to read, it has a rather unique history. 

Registered on 17th December 1981 to Ford Motor Company, this Capri 2.8 injection was pulled from the production line in Cologne and given some extra special treatment as this car was to be built for Henry Ford II for use when traveling in the UK. The special treatment started off with the Capri receiving extra layers of the wonderful Graphite Grey over Strato Silver paint and stricter than strict quality control checks. 

Once the car arrived at Ford Dagenham it was personally collected by Ford’s former Executive Director of European Communications and Public Affairs, Paul Harrison. He drove the car to Special Vehicle Engineering (SVE) at the Dunton Technical Centre headed by Rod Mansfield. It was here that the final touches were put to HF2’s 2.8 Injection. These included full leather seats which were designed and commissioned by the Ford Design department. The driver’s seat slightly wider than the standard Capri seat to accommodate HF2’s frame and re-trimmed door cards were also fitted to match the seats. For more convenience on trips to Scotland, the 2.8i was fitted with an automatic C3 gearbox. This conversion was completed by the team at SVE and not Somar Transtec who would carry out an ‘after-market’ conversion if you requested an automatic option through a Ford Dealership. 

Once the car was complete it was delivered to Turville Grange, Buckinghamshire which was the Ford family’s country residence. The Capri stayed with the Ford’s until 1983 when it was returned to Dunton and purchased by Ron Mellor who was then Head of Ford Product Development. Ron bought the car for his wife to use. The 2.8i stayed with the Mellors for 3 years, then Ron put a for sale sign on the staff notice board offering the car. It was purchased by another Ford employee, Alan Jarman, in the Design Team. Alan used the car on his weekly commute from Torquay to Dunton. In 1993 the car was featured in the Capri Club International magazine and had the mileage showing at 62,000 (this magazine is included with the car). In the same year Alan put the Capri up for sale and he stated in the advert that it would only be sold to a Capri Club International member. 

The car was then sold to Leslie Garner who kept the car until April 2007 when it was sold to Terry Kingston who was a well known classic car collector. Between 2008 and 2010 Terry partially restored the Capri to its former glory. He had the car repainted in the original colours and many new parts fitted which included, fuel tank, exhaust, brake calipers and hoses. Terry sadly passed away in 2017 and the car was sold by auction in September 2017 by his estate. 

Since the auction the Capri has passed through another 2 owners who have not really used the car as it now only has 68,958 miles on, meaning that the 2.8 injection has only covered around 6,800 miles in the last 28 years!

This brings us onto the seller, who has had the Capri in his possession since November 2020. From December 2020 to February 2021 he has carried out a huge amount of recommissioning work and also finished off restoring it to its full glory. 

The Paperwork

The V5 is present and shows 6 previous keepers.  
There are 11 MOT certificates for the Capri, one of which is the current one that expires on 22 February 2022. Two sets of keys are present.  
Some receipts that come with the car are from when Terry was buying parts to restore the Capri, sadly any other history has been lost. 

The Interior

Inside, the Capri is pretty much as it was spec'd for Henry Ford II. Open the door and the door cards are in good condition. The special design wider driver’s seat and passenger seat do have some age related wear to them but they are not torn and still extremely comfortable. Looking at the rear seats, these have not had much use. 
From the front seat the 3 spoke steering wheel is in good condition with no real signs of wear. The Capri was treated to 6 gauges. The odometer, which is showing 68,958, the rev counter, water temperature, oil pressure gauge and voltmeter all work as they should but the seller did mention that the fuel gauge is sometimes a bit hit and miss. The radio cassette is an original Ford unit. The buttons for the rear wiper, fog light and heated rear window don’t show any real signs of wear. Lower down on the centre console is the classic Ford oval clock that is working fine. 
The carpets throughout the car are in brilliant condition. The headlining does have a couple of small holes, but it is all still nice and taught against the roof. The parcel shelf is still in place and has even escaped the 90’s tradition of cutting massive holes to fit a set of 6x9 speakers. 
In the boot area the hatch has had new boot struts fitted. Under the unmarked carpet is the spare wheel, original jack and the wheel brace which has had zinc passivation to restore it to look new. Some other parts treated to zinc passivation include the boot striker plate, door catch strikers, rear wash bottle bracket, bonnet catch and spring, bonnet stay, headlight frames, radiator cap and a number of other brackets and bolts in the engine bay. 

The Exterior

Finished in Graphite Grey over Strato Silver, as previously mentioned this 1981 Capri 2.8 injection was repainted in 2008. Since then it has only covered a couple of thousand miles and so the paintwork is in very nice condition. The seller has had the car machine polished to bring back the pop in the Graphite Grey. There are an odd few marks as you would expect, considering it was repainted in 2008, but nothing that stands out. 
Starting at the front, the Quad lamp front end is in lovely condition with no chips to the headlights or indicators. The bumper is nice and straight with no dents, and the corner plastics are in a tidy condition. The leading edge of the Capri’s long bonnet edge is relatively free from any noticeable chips that we could see. There is a small patch on the nearside wing edge that has been touched up. All the wiper arms have been powder coated to give an as new appearance.  
Around to the sides the Capri sits just as it should, the door gaps are straight and equal on both sides. There is a new twin pinstripe and “Injection” decal which were fitted at the time of the respray. The satin black trims around the windows are all in good condition, as are the door mirrors. The sunroof has had a new outer seal fitted. The seller says “the sunroof is a little stiff”, and thinks this is due to the sliders it runs on. He has managed to source a new set of sliders and these are included with the car. He also points out that there are a few small micro blisters on the edge of the roof by the swage line.
The hatch on the Capri aligns nice and straight and the boot spoiler is in a nice tidy condition. There are no cracks in the rear lights and the bumper is free from any dents. A couple of things the seller pointed out is that the rear wiper works fine, but the spray for the wiper doesn’t. Also, there is a repair to the rear valance where it has had a plate welded in (neatly), and not noticeable from the outside. Another plate has also been welded on the floor pan area during the earlier restoration.  The underside is in general very good with no areas of concern or MOT advised.
The wheels on the Capri have been refurbished and finished in original Strato Silver (L) contrasting with the lower half of the car. These have had four new period looking Dunlop Sport Classics fitted recently which have the Goodyear NCT tread pattern. 
The engine bay has also been treated to a lot of work which includes, repainting of the inner wings and front slam panel. The brackets for the fuel filter, expansion tank, power steering reservoir and battery clamp have been powder coated along with the rocker covers and headlight bezel rings. The plenum and inlet manifold have been vapour blasted to bring back the fresh aluminium look. 

The Mechanics

The 2.8 Injection V6 produces 157 bhp and 165 ft-lb of torque which equates to a whole load of fun in the tail happy classic. The seller has completed some extensive work during the recommissioning of the Capri to get the 2.8 injection running just as it should. This included the removal of both cylinder heads for inspection. One was found to have a problem on one of the exhaust valve seat’s and so a replacement head was sourced. Both heads had the valves re-seated, new head, manifold and exhaust gaskets. The warm-up regulator has been refurbished and the injectors have been ultrasonic cleaned, with number one injector replaced. It has also had fresh coolant, oil flush and oil change along with new spark plugs and air filter. The C3 automatic gearbox which, as mentioned previously, was fitted by the team at Special Vehicle Engineering (SVE), has had the automatic transmission fluid changed. 
The car now runs just as Ford intended, the V6 barks into life with the flick of the key. The seller reports that the car pulls well through the gears, and the gear change is nice and smooth. There are no untoward noises coming from either the transmission, differential or the engine. The suspension still holds the car well on the road and sits nice and level.  
In February this year, the car was driven by Sam Dawson of Classic Cars Magazine for a 5 page feature in May’s edition. Sam quoted that the car had been subjected to ‘one of the most sympathetic refurbishments he’d ever seen’ further endorsing the care and attention that the car has been recently subjected to.

The Appeal 

・1981 Ford Capri 2.8 injection built for Henry Ford II. 
・Unique parts include special Ford design full leather interior, widened driver’s seat and an SVE fitted automatic C3 gearbox. 
・After service with Henry Ford II, it was Ford employee owned until 1994.
・The Capri has only covered 6,800 miles in the past 28 years.
・Extensively recommissioned by the seller 
・Recently featured in Steve Saxty’s book - Secret Fords and driven and featured in May’s edition of Classic Cars
So it’s quite safe to say that you will never find a car like this again!

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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 sellers discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1981
  • Make Ford
  • Model Capri
  • Colour Grey
  • Odometer 68,958 Miles
  • Engine size 2792
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Location Hampshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
31 bids
  • ma•••• £25,250 30/04/21
  • la•••• £25,000 30/04/21
  • ma•••• £24,750 30/04/21
  • la•••• £24,500 30/04/21
  • ma•••• £24,250 30/04/21
  • la•••• £24,000 29/04/21
  • Br•••• £23,750 29/04/21
  • la•••• £23,500 29/04/21
  • la•••• £23,000 29/04/21
  • Bi•••• £22,000 27/04/21
Message C&C Auction Team

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