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1979 Ford Capri 3.0 Ghia

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1979 Ford Capri 3.0 Ghia


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Billed as “The Car You Always Promised Yourself”, the Ford Capri was launched in 1969 and eventually sold more than 1.9 million units to people who clearly thought that yes, they were indeed worth it.

While the simplicity of the mechanical components meant the Capri was cheap to buy and robust and reliable, which is exactly what you want when your sports car has to do double duty as the family hack, the styling was anything but; with a striking fastback rear end and a low, long bonnet that seemed to stretch out into the 21st century, the Capri must have been as exotic as the island it was named after.

Offered initially with either a 1.3-litre or a 1.6-litre engine, the range quickly grew to include a two-litre V4 Kent, or a V6 Cologne of the same displacement. A three-litre GT arrived in September 1969, its 138bhp enough to see out the Swinging Sixties in style.

A more luxurious 3000E arrived in 1970, followed by the competition-focused RS2600 in 1971. A facelift followed in 1972, bringing with it more comfortable suspension, bigger taillights, and different seats. Larger headlights too, and the Ford Pinto engine replaced the aging Kent.

September 1973 ushered in the rare RS3100 with 148bhp, lower and stiffer Bilstein suspension, ventilated front disc brakes, and a huge ducktail rear spoiler. Only 250 were built for homologation purposes.

Ford might have sold 1.2 million Capris across the globe by this time but it was starting to look old, so 1974 saw the unveiling of the MKII. Building on the success of the earlier cars, it featured a slightly shorter bonnet than the MKI but a larger body, more interior space and a useful hatchback boot.

The two-litre 100bhp, four-cylinder ‘Pinto’ engine might not have boasted huge power but it delivered more than enough to make the Capri huge fun to drive while simultaneously returning decent fuel economy and uber-reliability. Parsimonious owner could still opt for the 1.3-litre or 1.6-litre engines, while the playboys could order it with that lovely three-litre V6 under the bonnet.

The MKIII arrived (sideways, presumably) in 1978, bringing with it a nicer interior, a black ‘Aeroflow’ radiator grille and ‘sawtooth’ rear lamps in addition to the 2.8-litre Cologne V6 fuel-injected engine in 1982. As a replacement for the carburettored three-litre it pumped out a healthy 160bhp, giving the Capri 2.8i a top speed of 130mph, or more than two miles a minute.

Various limited editions helped the Capri stay competitive but its days were numbered thanks to the proliferation of the cheaper, faster, and better handling hot-hatchbacks that were by now dominating the sales charts. The Capri 280 ‘Brooklands’ was the final special edition, seeing the Capri out in December 1986.

The Capri three-litre was also, of course, the wheels of choice for The Professionals. Okay, it might not be up there in the automotive hierarchy alongside James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5, but it sure as hell beats the TR7 the boys drove before settling on the blue oval…


The Vehicle

We are delighted to be able to offer this stunning, ‘matching numbers’ Ford Capri 3.0-litre Ghia finished in its original colour of Oyster Gold, just like Ray Doyle used to drive.

In the care of the vendor for the past three years, it has been the subject of a nut-and-bolt, bare metal restoration over a nine-year period in total. Bought as a part-finished project, he has continued to lavish care and far too much money to bring it to the condition you see today.

The work was thorough and fastidious, using genuine Ford parts for 85% of the parts replaced. The engine has been rebuilt to 3.1 spec and converted to run on unleaded fuel. Now barely run-in, it has only covered around 700 miles since being completed and was serviced only last week. Obsessive, you see?

A very well-known car, it has been featured in a seven-page editorial feature in Retro Ford magazine, was awarded a ‘Top 20’ place at last year’s Classic Ford show at Mallory Park, and was the preferred photo used for promotion of the event.

And, if that’s not impressive enough, Corgi has made a 1:43 scale die-cast model of this very car, including matching the number plates and featuring it in its catalogue.

Once-in-a-lifetime is an overused expression, but not in this case…

On the Outside

The bare metal respray set the owner back £4,400 in in March 2015. A big chunk of money for sure but probably a fair sum too, as the work has been done very well indeed and the paint finish is almost certainly better than could have been achieved in period.

There really isn’t much to say about it other than it is still in a stunning, untouched condition and is completely free of stonechips, scratches and marks after coming to us on a covered trailer. The panel fit is impeccable, and everything fits better than it did when the car was first built.

Interestingly, the original build sheets were discovered hidden in the car’s headlining. These give a fascinating glimpse into the car’s build history, including the flaws the factory had to rectify before sending the car out.

The 5.5J x 13-inch alloy wheels are in the same condition as the rest of the car, which is to say they’re unblemished and look like new. The tyres, including the spare, are matching new Firestones.

As we will never tyre of explaining, our experience shows that matching high-quality tyres are an infallible sign of a caring and mechanically sympathetic owner who is prepared to spend the appropriate amount in maintaining their car properly. Their presence does not, of course, preclude the need for a thorough inspection - something the vendor would welcome, by the way – but do give you a shortcut into their attitude towards maintenance.

New/old stock light lenses finish the exterior off, and even the pop-up aerial is a Ford-branded item. Neat, huh?

Work to do is minimal and limited to the sunroof, which is a little stiff. The vendor has cleaned and lubricated it, and is certain that it is only a little recalcitrant through lack of use.

On the Inside

The original driver’s seat cover is in good shape, but a little saggy in places. This could be professionally sorted out, or you could leave it as it is. FWIW, we can’t help but think that the rest of the interior, including the rest of the seats, is so crisp and attractive that we’d probably get someone to tidy it up a little. That said, they’re all wonderfully retro and look fabulous.

Plenty of new/old stock switches have been used throughout, and the instrument gauge cluster has been refurbished, along with the fascia panel. The headlining is good, and the carpets are very good. In fact, we’ll stop waffling and let the pictures tell the story for themselves, other than to say that it really is as every bit as good as it looks.

And, as you can see from the photos, even the spare wheel well in the boot was resprayed, so is as minty fresh and as utterly solid as the rest of the Capri. It also contains a freshly refurbished alloy wheel and a matching new Firestone tyre – and even the parcel shelf is whole and in fabulous shape. When was the last time you saw that on a Capri?

Work to do is minor. The owner tells us that the tailgate struts are a little weak, and while aftermarket replacements are available for £20 a side, he was holding out until he could find genuine OE Ford items. Just like you should.


The original three-litre engine was stripped down and fully rebuilt to 3.1-litre spec. The work was as thorough as that done to the rest of the vehicle, and comprises a gas-flowed and balanced cylinder head, with the ports and inlet manifold modified to Stage 3 specification. Larger valves were fitted, along with hardened valve seats to allow it to run on unleaded fuel. A 3.1 SE2 camshaft was selected and new cam followers fitted, along with new valve springs.

The cylinder block was over-bored +60thou, to bring it to RS3100 spec. A new crankshaft was fitted, and the brand-new connecting rods were cracked-tested, checked for ovality, and then balanced before being fitted to RS3100-type pistons. A heavy-duty steel timing wheel was used, along with the latest style of oil pump and drive.

A modified DGAS38 carburettor conversion was re-jetted for Stage 3 performance, and the owner estimates that the engine now develops a little more power than a standard 3.0-litre engine. However, up to 200+bhp is available should the new owner want to take it that far, but the vendor was just keen to build a solid, reliable engine that is better able to meet the demands of modern traffic conditions, yet still has some headroom for future improvements and tuning.

He’s done a cracking job, as it performs with a silky smoothness that has to be felt and heard to be believed. It has just had its 500-mile inspection from the engine builders and, with just 700 miles under its belt in total, still needs another 300 miles or so of gentle use to complete its running-in period.

The rest of the mechanical components have been restored, refurbished or replaced to the same high standard as the engine. Please take the time to look through the photos and invoices to get a sense of just how through the work is as there is simply too much to list it all here; all we would add is that we’ve driven it, and it in no way disappoints, feeling tight and lithe and every inch the car you imagine it to be.

As for the engine bay itself, as you can see it’s beautifully painted and impeccably finished. Even the underbonnet sound-deadening fabric is fresh and new, and there’s a period Castrol sticker in there, along with a Motorcraft oil filter with the date of change written on it and a genuine Ford rubber battery cover; it’s the little things, isn’t it?

And, as we mentioned in the introduction, he’s just serviced it with new fluids, filters and spark plugs, too.

The underside is, as we’re sure you’ve already guessed, strong, free of rust, and neatly undersealed and painted.

History Highlights

The Capri’s MOT certificate expires on the 26th of April 2021, and was gained without a single advisory point, something it has done every year for the past three years. The car comes with a number of expired MOT certificates plus a sheaf of invoices and bills to confirm the recent work that has been done to it.

It also comes with two keys, the original owner’s handbook, operating guide, and storage wallet. A Corgi model of the car also comes with it, of course along with a Haynes Workshop Manual and original sales and accessory brochures.

The Capri also comes with upwards of 900 photos of the car in all stages of restoration from the bare metal bodyshell and stripped-down engine all the way through to completion. Oh, and there’s a full list of its previous owners as well.

Please visit the documents section of the gallery of this listing where you will find photos of this and other paperwork to support our claim that this car has been restored and maintained to an impeccable standard.

If you’d like to inspect the car prior to placing a bid – something we would encourage – then please use the Contact Seller button to arrange an appointment.

NB. We know that many of you will be limiting your social exposure over the coming days and weeks, so if you’d rather not come to see the car in person, please give us a call and we can shoot a personal video of the car honing in on any areas you’d like us to concentrate on.

Or, even better, why not contact us with your mobile number and we can set up a WhatsApp video call? You get to direct us in real-time, giving you a virtual personal viewing experience while maintaining the lockdown. We like to call it ‘The Market’s 2020 Vision’…

What We Think

If you’ve always promised yourself a Capri then the chances are you fall into one of two camps: you either want a low-mileage, possibly lightly tweaked, Brooklands 280, or you’ve set your sights on a 3.0-litre.

We can’t help with the former, but we’re all over the latter. Freshly restored and in need of nothing other than love and a tank of unleaded, this is a rare opportunity to buy the closest thing to a new Capri you’re ever likely to find.

Even the boss, who is not an easy man to impress and regularly tempers our enthusiast with a hard-won reality check, is gushing in his praise of it: “really quite special” and “phenomenal” was his summation.

And while we could understand your reluctance to buy one with an automatic gearbox, having driven it we think it suits the car’s laid-back, grand touring nature far better than a manual. We’re never short of drool-inducing machinery around here, but it is rare to find a car that every single one of us has been lusting after like this…

As for how much we think it’ll raise, we think the guide price of between £13,000 and £20,000 is very reasonable indeed. After all, when did last see one in this condition? And one that comes with its very own Corgi scale model?

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon: to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car and AnyVan for transporting it.

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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paul c

  • Location: Abingdon
  • Odometer Reading: 103000. Total rebuild at 102300
  • Chassis Number: GAECWD01036
  • Engine: 3.0
  • Gearbox: Automatic
  • Colour: Oyster Gold
  • Interior: Chocolate

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