Ford Capri Mk3 (1978 – 1987) Review

Ford Capri Mk3 (1978 – 1987) At A Glance


+Great looks improved by the final facelift, brilliantly marketed, exciting drive in V6 form

-Once again, buying a 1.3- or 1.6-litre denies the owner of any excitement

The final – and some would say ultimate – Capri arrived in 1977. And with the minimum of effort on Ford’s part, it put right just about all of the Mk2’s flaws. Designated Project Carla, the re-invigorated coupe looked mean and moody, and proved that the Ford stylists had not lost their magic touch. In fact, it is hard to believe that in terms of styling, the only major differences between the Mk2 and Mk3 amounted to a re-profiled bonnet leading edge, some natty ribbed rear light clusters, and wraparound bumpers.

Once again, the Capri became the pushy young exec’s weapon of choice, and the ‘S’ versions did all they needed to impress potential buyers who may have otherwise been tempted to go and buy a Manta. The 3.0-litre version remained the performance bargain of the decade, which no rival could match – and although the Essex engine was beginning to be seen as a bit long-in-the-tooth side, there was no denying it delivered the goods.

However, time wasn’t kind to the Capri. By the 1980s, buyers were beginning to see the Capri as a hangover from a by-gone era, and just like stragglers at an overnight party the morning after, turfing out time was upon us. Except the Capri didn’t give in to the ravages of time without a fight – despite the arrival of a new generation of hot hatchbacks as epitomised by the Golf GTi and Escort XR3. Ford dropped the Essex engine in 1981, replacing it with the ‘Cologne’ V6 – this creating one of the coolest-named cars in the world – The Capri Injection…

Boasting 160bhp and a 0-60mph time of 7.7 seconds, the Capri was able, once again, to punch above its weight, and give the snobs from Germany and Italy a bloody nose… However, in real terms, that was it for the Capri. Final development was little more than a marketing exercise, with a raft of special editions seeing it into old age – you could buy the Calypso, the Cabaret, the Brooklands. But in an era of engine management and digital dashboards, uncle Henry’s European Pony Car has passed its sell-by date.

In 1987, time was called on one of the defining cars of a generation, and after a run of nearly two million cars, the book was closed on a legend.

Ask Honest John

Is my Ford Capri VED exempt?

"My Ford Capri is due for VED renewal and was registered on 1 August 1983. I wish to know when it was made as I think I may be entitled to free VED. The DVLA have been of no help. Can you offer any advice?"
Currently, for your classic car to be tax exempt, it will need to have been built before 1 January 1982. If the build date of a car is unknown, this is based on the date it was first registered. It's unlikely your Capri was built before 1 January 1982 but if you can provide evidence to the DVLA that it was then you'll qualify for classic car VED exemption. It might be worth speaking to Ford about any historical records for your car. Alternatively, a club such as the Capri Club might be able to help.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

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