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Rodan Dork
5/16/21 5:51 p.m.

Back in high school, some 35+ years ago, I had a 1974 Ford Capri.  These days, it's known as a Mk1.  Back when it was my second car, it was just a quirky Euro Ford that no one knew anything about, and was hard to find any performance parts for.  One of the few sources was Dobi, in Brea, CA just a few miles from home.  A local mechanic (back when corner gas stations had mechanics) had a really cool one with box flares and a turbo engine, and I drooled over it every chance I got.

The Capri also had a racing pedigree, with great success in Euro racing with the RS2600 and RS3100, and later with the Zackspeed MkIIs.  Honestly, I learned most of this decades later, when the internet became a thing.  At the time, I just loved the car and had some cool dreams about what I wanted it to be.  It was the foundation of my love for all the Euro Fords that had so much motorsports success that both preceeded and followed the Capris.

I managed to do a little suspension work, and put flares on my '74.  It had the honeycomb BBS looking wheels off a Mustang II that I found in the junkyard, and 205-13 BFG T/As.  I rebuilt the motor, and added headers, cam, and manifold for a 4bbl 390cmf Holley (from which grew my utter hatred of Holley carbs!).  And then it got stolen my freshman year at college.  I got it back, but it was jacked... I ended up selling it, and moving on, as we usually do.  All the dreams of what it could have been went with it...

The only pictures of that car I have are from after the theft recovery, with the stock wheels back on, and in pretty bad shape....

Life went on... I graduated college, moved to AZ and started a career.  I had many other motorsports projects and pursuits.  

And eventually, I started looking for another Capri.

I actually had a number of potential "unicorn" projects.  240Z, 510, Notchback Fox 5.0, aircooled 911.  By the time I was ready, most of them had become so expensive as to be impractical.  I got close for a while, when I bought a Mk1 Cortina...

But what I wanted to do with the Cortina just looked like it wasn't going to work (I wish I'd known more about Miatas then, as a Miata front subframe may have solved my problems), so the Cortina got sold.  At least it ended up a running driver for the kid that bought it. 

I found few Capri candidates over the years.  They were obscure enough to avoid the huge price increases of the popular cars, but they were a lot harder to find within striking distance.  I saw a few overpriced examples in CA, and looked at a local one about a decade ago.  It looked like it had been in a demo derby, and the guy wanted too much.  Last week, I found one on FB marketplace... the price was cheap, and it was within striking distance!

Rodan Dork
5/16/21 6:14 p.m.

So, after my immediate excitement, I ran headlong into the usual Failbook marketplace frustrations.  No phone number, and no response to several messages.  The car was about 2 1/2 hours away... 

I did some internet 'stalking', and identified what later turned out to be the correct location of the car.  The contact info I turned up on the web yielded no results.  When I was about ready to take a drive and knock on a door, the poster finally responded on Failbook.  Turns out the car was his dad's, and he gave me the contact information.  Turns out his dad is the owner of the property I identified during my internet investigation, so I was on the right track.

I called, and had a good conversation with the owner, and set up a time to come get the car.  When I arrived, the son was present, but dad was off somewhere.  Son was genuinely surprised to see me.  He said I was the 5th or 6th to contact him about the car, but the only one who had actually shown up at the appointed time!  Dad showed up after 15 minutes or so, during which time I had taken a good look at the car.

I had pretty well decided that I was buying this car before I left home, but I was encouraged seeing it in person.  The seller had swapped it to a GM Vortec V6 and 700R4 trans (which will be coming out), but it was originally a 2.0l 4 cylinder car.  It still had most of the originall interior, which was pretty thrashed.  The sheet metal was pretty straight, with some minor exceptions, and the glass was even good, with no cracks.  Seller claimed it runs, but there's no battery and its set up to pull gas from a plastic bottle under the hood.  He also disclosed that it had a rod knock...  So much for getting some $$ for the engine...

I had a scare when the seller went to find the title and returned 30 minutes later scratching his head, empty handed.  He disappeared into the house again, and came back fifteen minutes later with the signed and notorized title.  Big sigh of relief!

Final purchase price:  $1000

Since driver Capris in decent shape are bringing $8-10k these days, I'm happy with the price.  We got it loaded in the trailer and made the trek home.



Rodan Dork
5/16/21 6:29 p.m.

This morning, I unloaded the car at home.

I stripped off the Chevy emblem the prior owner had stuck on the grille, and removed the fender mirrors that were screwed into the sheet metal.  I also took the goofy hot rodder chrome 'eyelids' off the headlights.  Wheels are 80's T-Bird, if memory serves... tires are pretty bad, I might need to find some cheap replacements just to roll it around.  I know the RF has a slow leak, and the RR has a giant tread separation.

Then I started on the interior... just wanted to clean it up a bit before rolling it into the yard.  The interior was nasty....


There are some things you never want to find in a car you just bought...  indecision



The trunk was where I found the only real problem rust...

I also found the original console (pretty thrashed) and the taillights in the trunk...




Rodan Dork
5/16/21 6:34 p.m.

I made piles of "Capri", "definitely not Capri" and "uknown"... the definitely not will go to the dump tomorrow.  After that, I hit it with the shop vac, and got thing to the point where I didn't think a hazmat suit was necessary to work on it.  Odometer shows 69k miles... no idea if it's been rolled over or not.


jimbob_racing SuperDork
5/16/21 6:40 p.m.

I like this so far. More please. 

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
5/16/21 6:49 p.m.

Everything about this, so far, is perfect.  Except for that bottle of yellow liquid. 

Rodan Dork
5/16/21 6:53 p.m.

So, where's all of this going?

Not sure of all the details yet, but it will definitely be some sort of Cologne race clone, not sure which version.  Probably with modern running gear.  Maybe some pretty radical suspension modifications.  But it will at least look 'vintage racer'... 

This isn't going to happen quickly... this is my 'retirement' project, and I'm retiring in a bit over two years.  I have lots to do yet on our Miatas, but this will be getting some attention along the way, if only in terms of 'preservation', to prevent any further degradation of condition.  I'll keep the thread up as things happen.



Datsun310Guy MegaDork
5/16/21 8:41 p.m.

In 1978 my wife was 16 and she bought a used Capri and learned stick on it.  She loved that car and I'm guessing 1972?

This is the only pic she has. 

I really like your plans with the car   

JoeTR6 Dork
5/16/21 10:08 p.m.

Nice find.  That's practically rust free for a Capri.  That looks like a '73, but it's hard to tell without bumpers.  My parents had one that I never got to drive because some idiot rammed it at an intersection.  I would love to find something like this and see if a Miata suspension could be made to fit, then drop a 2.3l Ecoboost under the hood.  Should be a fun project whatever you do.

Rodan Dork
5/16/21 10:59 p.m.

In reply to Datsun310Guy :

Your wife's car was a '74... first year of the big plastic bumpers on the US cars.  '73 would have had chrome steel bumpers.  yes

There was no "1975", and the MkII came to the US as the Capri II in late '75 as a 1976 model.

Rodan Dork
5/16/21 11:08 p.m.

In reply to JoeTR6 :

It's a '74... I got the rear (giant plastic) bumper with it.  cheeky

I will be taking some measurements to see if a Miata front crossmember and suspension will fit under it... devil

Power will be at least a V6, though.   The 3.7 V6 out of the current Mustang is interesting.  Need to figure out if it would fit.  DOCH engines are wide...  The fallback position is a 302.  Either would make the proper noises, and be plenty quick.

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
5/17/21 5:58 a.m.

I can't remember the forum member's user name but he's been building a mk1 Ford Mustang with a 3.7 and he might be helpful with information.  His is kind of wild in that he created an ITB intake using BMW M5 parts and I believe he's controlling it all with a Megasquirt MS3 setup.  As well as the Capri's swallow engines like 460's I would think this motor should fit, especially if you get rid of the strut towers if/when going to a Miata setup. 

I really really want to re-aquire a mk1 Capri and do a resto-mod project on one so I'll probably be geeking out over this thread as it develops.

therealpinto GRM+ Memberand Reader
5/17/21 6:20 a.m.

Nice to see another fellow Capri fool here and welcome back to owning one!

You can look into my thread if you want some front suspension ideas but starting all over, I would take a long, hard look at Miata or RX8 parts...

I feel a good 302 is hard to beat in a Capri, it suits the car, it fits and it can be anything you want it to be. Sure, the 3.7 Mustang V6 is interesting too but I always come back to how nimble a small block Ford looks in the engine bay. My turbo Pinto is over-crowded compared to the SBF.

It looks like a good foundation to build on, and the price is nothing to argue about. Sure it might have been a couple of hundred dollars cheaper somewhere else or in another time but in the big picture, it doesn't matter - now it's yours!


AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/17/21 4:49 p.m.

love these cars soooooo much.  good find!  looking forward to following along.

JoeTR6 Dork
5/17/21 6:54 p.m.

IIRC, the Miata track width is just a little wider than a stock Capri.  This would work great with a RS2600 clone. devil  Do some measurements for the rear subframe as well.  If there's room for a live axle, it may fit with some cutting and coaxing.​​​​

wawazat Dork
5/17/21 7:31 p.m.

I'm a fan of the Capri!   

Rodan Dork
5/18/21 3:33 p.m.

Thanks, guys.  It's always nice to bring home a personal unicorn.

I got the title transferred today...  hadn't been registered in over 5 years, so the title had been purged by the state.  Extra fee to 're-create' the title, and then AZ requires you to register a vehicle for a year to transfer title.  So I had to pay for a year's registration just so I can mail in the non-op paperwork as soon as I receive the plates.  Dumb... 

I am very interested in adapting the Miata suspension to the front.  The rear, I'm probably more likely to leave as a straight axle, probably Ford 8.8 in some type of 4 link arrangement with coilovers...  need to do more research there.   The gearing choices are pretty limited with a Miata diff, and things get expensive pretty quickly when you put different diffs in a Miata rear suspension.  Another possibility is the current Mustang independent rear.  Again, lots of research to do first.

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/18/21 3:57 p.m.

Big time into this. 

Shavarsh Reader
5/18/21 4:32 p.m.

Looking forward to seeing where this goes

Rodan SuperDork
5/18/21 5:42 p.m.

This afternoon I took a scuff pad to the roof, just to see how bad things are.

The surface is smooth, but obviously there's still corrosion there.

It will be a long time before this thing is ready for bodywork and paint, but I feel like I should be doing something to halt the slide down the corrosion cliff and protect the metal until the time comes.  But it needs to be something that won't make the eventual paint prep more difficult than it needs to be.  I've not had a lot of luck searching on the subject, so I'll probably start a thread in the general section.

The good thing is that here in AZ, the 'ol tinworm moves very slowly indeed...

jimbbski SuperDork
5/18/21 6:58 p.m.

I've been an owner of 4 Capris over the years. I have a friend who's owned 2 of them.  He still owns the second one and we've been working on it the past 3 years to get it finished.  You see it sat parked in his garage for 27 years! A total mechanical rebuild and some body & paint were required. We just need to install the mostly stock interior parts and some exterior trim and  then it just needs the engine fully broken in and the normal tuning and adjustments. Here's some pics: 

Rodan SuperDork
5/18/21 10:17 p.m.


Are those A008s?  That says a bit about the timeframe!

Racingsnake Reader
5/18/21 11:19 p.m.

In reply to jimbbski :

Nice looking Capri. 

@Rodan Look forward to seeing the build - my vote is 302 fwiw. I've got a '70 I need to get back to work on soon...

Pushrod Reader
5/19/21 12:01 a.m.

You said earlier that it was a 2-liter...but the dash looks stock complete with tach. AFAIK the 2-liter Capris never came with a tach, only the V-6 models.  Or were the '74s an exception?

Either way, nice project and best of luck with it...:)  As long as everyone is chiming in with engine suggestions, mine would be (cough, Zetec, cough) with some Retro Ford UK goodies, including their Miata 5-speed gearbox adapter kit. (their BDA valve cover for the Zetec is also really cool).

therealpinto GRM+ Memberand Reader
5/19/21 12:15 a.m.

I have built a 4-linked MkI Capri (Mustang II 8" axle) and while it worked fine it was a race car with no rear seat. My next Capri project may contain a live axle (Volvo or 8.8) but I am leaning towards a torque arm setup on that one.

I see the Miata rear subframe fitted with 8.8 IRS diffs in the US, I would think that's a decent solution, especially in countries where those parts are easy to get (not the same here in Sweden). While I fitted a Sierra (XR4Ti) rear IRS to my Capri that's not a solution I really would recommend. A lot of work for something that is not very much better. The Miata rear suspension is a very much better deal IMO.

Regarding the rust, I have had good results using citric acid as a rust remover/inhibitor.


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