GRR

Dan Trent: Ford Capri – the classic you can actually enjoy?

26th March 2018
dan_trent_headshot.jpg Dan Trent

Who gets more fun out of classic cars? Those fixating over originality in the hope of eventually realising investment potential? Or those who enjoy them without hang-ups about low-mileage perfection or factory-original paint? 

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A huge amount of time and money is spent on the former, with the top end of the classic car market obsessed about provenance, history and correctly aligned screw heads. But as the money becomes increasingly ridiculous the world of custom restorations, replicas, continuations and the like becomes more attractive, especially for those who want to actually treat their cars as more than an investment nest-egg. 

What does this have to do with my attraction to a bright orange Ford Capri dressed in a wide-arched X Pack body kit? Well, inspired by the sight of Capris in the thick of the action in the Gerry Marshall Trophy race at the recent Members’ Meeting I was straight into the classifieds. 

I’ll admit, beyond the obvious emotional appeal I know very little of any practical use about the Capri, which is always a dangerous combination. A cursory click around a few classifieds revealed they’re not quite as expensive as I’d assumed though, especially compared to the bonkers money being asked for old Escorts and other classic Fords. It’s all relative, of course, the sensible middle ground of £15,000-£20,000 for apparently good cars still a fair chunk of cash but offering up a reasonable selection. 

This bright orange Mk2 3.0 S stood out from the crowd, for fairly obvious reasons. The very period paint colour, the X Pack body kit and the lovely pin-striping all shout 70s perfection to me but when I rang to find out more it turned out the car wasn’t what you’d call original. Restored 15 years ago, the 3.0 S shell was beyond repair and the car was built around a Ghia instead, to which this apparent factory X Pack kit was added. I may not be a Capri expert but I can appreciate a proper, period original X Pack 3.0 S would probably be worth rather more than the £15,000 this one is up for. Pays your money and all that. 

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At the other end of the spectrum is this 3.0 S with fewer than 30,000 miles on the clock and apparently cast-iron history. Continuing a theme discussed in previous columns it’s even got – really – proof of it being a genuine ‘lady owner’ car. It’s twice the money of the orange one but, if it all adds up, would seem to be the kind of Capri you could park at a summer classic car show with the old MoT certificates and receipts displayed on the dashboard and drink in the nostalgic appreciation from an adjacent deck chair. It’s a lot of money. But assuming you didn’t put on too many miles or let the condition slip I’m confident you’d get it back.

Which would actually be more enjoyable to own though? While I like the idea of ‘perfect’ car there are arguments in favour of others being reborn in idealised form, a theme taken to extremes by the 911s expensively ‘reimagined’ by Singer. In that case, the car I drove was an unloved Carrera Tiptronic restored for its owner into a classy interpretation of classic Porsche style. And it was gorgeous.

This Capri is operating at a slightly different level but if an otherwise unremarkable Ghia gets a second lease of life as a bright orange celebration of 70s cool who’s to argue. Assuming the restoration was a good one, the body isn’t a horror show of hidden rust and filler and the engine delivers its V6 power in suitably hairy-chested style I think I could have more fun enjoying this as intended than worrying about adding miles to the lady-owner original. Which is the opposite of what I’ve said here before but, what the hell, sometimes you have to go with your heart! 

  • Ford

  • Dan Trent

  • Capri

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