It’s been a while since I’ve seen a bubble back Capri; that probably explains why they stopped making them after 1986 due to mediocre sales. It was a questionable strategy to badge-engineer the new 1979 Fox-body Mustang into a Capri, but I guess they figured, “If Pontiac could do it with the Firebird, then why not us?” Of course, the original Capri came from Germany and was a surprisingly big hit in its day. But this is Mercury, after all, and badge-engineering Fords wasn’t exactly a viable long-term strategy, eh? Foden Alpha shot this example as it was about to be hauled away on a trailer toward an uncertain future: Restoration? Drag car? Crusher?
The bubble back, which didn’t arrive until 1983, was an attempt to make the Capri look just a wee bit less Mustang-like; certainly, one had to be a bit more on the ball to tell them apart in front. Mechanically they were very much the same, excepting a few variations and such special editions as the “Black Magic” and “White Lightning” Capris from 1981-1983.
The Capri’s most ambitious creative effort came during its last three years with the ASC McLaren conversions of 1984-1986. In addition to the many visual changes, the 5.0 HP sported a more ambitious Ford Motorsports camshaft and an output upped to well above the stock 200 hp.
An even more ambitious undertaking of the ASC McLaren project was the convertible, which was transformed into a two-seater that sported a windshield raked back by ten degrees. Doing all that took a lot of work, and one has to wonder if it was worth it; in any case, these are rare collectibles today.
The Capri story petered out after the 1986 model year. Since the Mustang was updated and refreshed considerably for 1987, apparently the additional cost of doing all those things to the Capri wasn’t justified. My encyclopedia doesn’t give production numbers for these Capris, but we can assume they were modest at best. But the Capri name wasn’t finished yet…
Had one of these, an ’85 with a 5.0 and a 5 speed. Sure, you could see through the floorboards. And it only ever ran on 7 cylinders. But I only paid $500 for it…and when you account for the $11.50 I found in change strewn about the car, that’s a solid deal right there.
Definitely under appreciated cars, always preferred the look of the Capri to that of the same generation Mustang.
Only ever seen one of these in real life. Black with a red interior, definately not a 5.0 or a Turbo.
It’s actually a pretty nice looking car. I like the rounded touches to the body compared with the Mustang’s sharper corners.
I can’t recall the last time I saw one of these Capris- probably in a junkyard somewhere…
Man I agree. The bubble back gave the Capri some differentiation from the angular Mustang and smoothed it out nicely. Always liked it as something different. I still think the notchback Fox Mustang is the most bad-ass. Very muscle car inconspicuous.
When I first met my wife she was driving a red, ’83 bubble back, Capri RS. I didn’t notice the “5.0” at first but when I did I instantly proposed. Been married going on 21 years now.
Despite the 5.0 and the lovely young owner, I thought the car ugly. Still do. Ew.
Does she know this?
Ha! Of course she does. We joke about it to this day. Now, if that car was a regular hatchback Mustang GT we’d still have that car.
Did Mercury sell a version of this car with a regular hatch?
Not after the bubble back was grafted on for 1983 they didn’t.
The early years Capri had a conventional hatch, but I believe in 1983 they redesigned the car slightly to include the bubble hatch and revised rear end.
I have seen one McLaren coupe, and most people remember the bubble back version. I have never seen a pre 83 model.
According to this website FourEyedPride, production figures for this generation of Capri started out well in 1979 at 110K but dropped off rapidly after that to 58K in 1981, down to 20K in 1984 85 86. So its no surprise that when the Fox coupes were redesigned for 87 the Capri was dropped.
Here’s my old, then brand new!!! 82 5.0. In California at the time this was THE best bang for the buck, even more so here as the Corvette has hampered by a CA 305.
Looks great, those wheels were sweet!
Those were plastic wheel covers. Ford used those on many of the early Fox body cars.
Looks like a nice candidate for a mini-restoration and back to daily driver status for something a bit different from the standard 5.0 GT fox body. Nice find! Just never understood the point of the bubbleback. One does see tiny bits and pieces of happy memories in that front end, paying homage to the German Capri that made a nice impact in the States.The bubbleback? Meh. The Mustang based Capri looked cleaner with the original hatch in place; with this Quasimodo Edition, not so much. Just what were the designers trying to achieve with this look, besides additional solar energy to fade the carpet and turn the interior plastics into a crumbly powder? But it did not stop them from taking this convex look forward…did they not do the same on their version of the Ford EXP????
Looking back and to the overall picture, one now sees the end of Mercury here in this car and in the other badge engineered Mercs in their showrooms.
Oh yeah, the long forgotten LN7, or Quasimodo edition EXP. I haven’t seen on in 25 years or more. Every so often I will see an EXP, not an early one though. I’ve seen the post 1985 ones (with the euro headlights), I haven’t seen a sealed beam EXP in 25 years or more.
What is the Q edition EXP? The turbo one? I have never seen an LN7 except in picture I used to see the late 80s version of the EXP pretty regularly. What is interesting is that Pontiac sold a whole lot more of their Fieros than Ford did these coupes, even with the 4 cylinder. The CRX was very popular as was the MR2. But the CRX was more or less just a different hatchback Civic coupe since the regular Civic hatchback was more of a squareback. The MR2 was interesting as, like the Fiero, it was mid engined but marketed almost exclusively as a pocket rocket. The Fiero suffered from GMs desire to attempt to serve two markets, the small commuter car market (remember the car was designed and planned at the high of the energy crisis) as well as the sporty market. Of course like with many things, the last models were the best. An 88 Fiero GT V6 is a sweet little car to drive.
@Craig in NC: Sorry, I was just riffing off of Michael Notigan’s derisive comment about the bubble back Mercurys, looking like Quasimodo with the hunchback. There was no real Quasimodo Edition of the EXP, although the idea of it amuses me greatly. Imagine the marketing on THAT one! Ha!
Regarding the Fiero, the 88 GT is the best of all of them. When I was selling Toyotas in the early 90’s, a young man came in wanting to test drive the then-new (more Ferrari looking) MR2 Turbo, and to trade-in his Fiero GT. Having driven both back to back, I thought there was little advantage to the MR2 Turbo, the V6 GT had a lot more torque and easier access to the horsepower, no turbo lag.
That Chevy V6 was a good revving engine, but I hated the mufflers they used back then, it had a flat, raspy sound that bugged me to no end. The kid liked the MR2, but IIRC he couldn’t afford it, so he took his Fiero GT home. Before he left, I told him that if forced to choose between the two cars, I’d stick with the Fiero GT, and I liked the MR2 over other similar cars.
The Fiero was a typical 80’s GM cluster-screw, as GM was too afraid to have almost *anything* infringe upon the Corvette’s “sports car” domain. Kind of like the Opel GT before it, I think the Fiero GT would have been a gateway to Corvette ownership only if GM had clearly defined boundaries between the car divisions. As it was, the 80’s was really when all of the GM divisions engaged in a marketing and sales knock-down drag-out fight to gain marketshare, not for the corporation, but themselves. In the end, they screwed the pooch and the corporation.
Geozinger: Great comments today about those 80’s Mercs. I had to confirm my memory regarding the EXP and LN7; indeed the Ford and Merc followed their Mustang and Capri brothers regarding the rear window glass. Actually, the LN7 was first with the bubbleback. What a find it would be to spot an LN7 or EXP. They really seemed to disappear from the the street scene in short order. Ditto too the first generation Escort and Lynx. I kind of liked the Escort GT with the assymetrical front grill intake and front air dam. The Poor Man’s Mustang GT.
Interesting comments about the Fiero GT. As an ex-owner of an 86 GT, it was one of my favorite cars to own and drive. Can only imagine how the updated 88 suspension turned the car into a real performer. A real pity GM killed it off so soon. And as far as practical sports cars go, the Fiero and Fiero GT had it all over the Pontiac Soltice. Mid engined cars have the great benefit of a small trunk in the forward and aft ends of the car while the greatly lauded Solstice had hardly any storage room at all. Oh, and currently I own a 73 Opel GT, the original baby Corvette. Although the potential is there for the GT to be upgraded to more sporting standards, it cannot hold a candle to the Fiero GT, a decent performer out of the box!
I figured as much as there was not a Quasimodo Edition directly but maybe it referred to another model. I now remember the reference to the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
I do not have a problem with the Mercury Capri’s looks with or without the bubble glass. I tend to look at cars more in terms of their intended market positioning and if they are successful at it. It might not be a good car for me, but it may be a good car for someone else. The problem I see the Capri having later in its life, by the mid 80s was that its intended market was shrinking or the market it intended to attract was looking for something else. The German Capri was popular because it was very different than the Mustang, Camaro, Firebird, etc. The early Fox Capris probably were moderately popular by inertia but by as we have seen in these discussions, by 1986 we are talking about back glass, headlamp styles, and front fenders as the distinguishing differences from the Mustang. Basically you were getting a slightly altered Mustang. Unfortunately is more or less how the whole Mercury line went until the very end. I am sure some Capri buyers thought of themselves as a bit more sophisticated and discriminating than Mustang buyers, but the sales figures are what they are.
I wouldn’t say sophisticated never felt that way. I saw my first capri while looking to trade a 85chevy Silverado shorty in on something a bit faster I’d paid ten five for the truck in 86 first car. I traded it strait across for the 85 5.0 capri bubble butt, I always thought because of of the flared rear fenders t-top flame red with back with 4k back in cash from the dealership. Straight to a race shop to spend close to another 6k under the hood an drivetrain before ever driving 30 miles. My brothers an father said I’d been had. I knew different that car was a loud flash fast as hell female attracting cop calling nightmare in a good way other than I’d only had my license for a year and a half before being suspended for failure to pay traffic fines which that car seemed to get just sitting at a hangout. Still wish I had that car today. Got good wrenching replacing clutches till I learn how to shift fast an smooth. Always thought the rear end looked like a porches great car for a highschool kid or a midlife crisis fix I believe.
@Michael: You are correct, the LN7 came with the bubble back upon release in 1981. I thought it odd at the time, but the look grew on me. Kind of like a blister.
My wife really wanted a Fiero when they first came out; I really wanted another V8 car; but with the bad experience I’d had with my 1983 Trans Am, I was reluctant to get into another Pontiac so soon. I bought the whole “Quality is Job One” Ford advertising hook, line and sinker back in the day.
I should also explain I was working for a Tier One supplier back then, and Ford had issued these Q1 books to all of the suppliers’ engineering staff back then. We were all sucking up the “quality” kool-aid, and this was like Chairman Mao’s little red book, in a sense. So I bought the 1985 Capri instead of the 1985 Fiero, but all these years later it was a crap shoot as to which car was better in terms of quality The one thing I can say is that Windsor 5.0 was a pretty sweet motor!
Even though GM will screw up the launch of a car, they do go back and get it right. I’ve seen this many times with my own GM cars. Even in recent times, between my 2001 and 2004 Azteks, there were significant changes on a car with a limited shelf life. An even bigger difference was the one between my 1995 Sunfire GT and my daughter’s 2004 Sunfire SE1. The later car was *vastly* improved.
The Fiero GT’s were just slick due to the different styling and the better parts. Had I been in a position to buy another sporty car, an 88 Fiero GT would have been in the running, but it would have had strong competition from the 5.7L Firebird Formula or Dodge Shelby Daytona CS edition Or possibly a 5.0L Mustang notchback.
A lot of people forget the original Capri that was sold in L-M dealers before the Fox Capri came out.
The original Capri was a Ford of Europe product that was imported into the US starting in 1970 and was fairly popular (for an imported car at the time) being somewhat of a grand touring coupe. When the imported Capri was discontinued, L-M dealers wanted something to sell in its place, so the Fox-based Capri was created. The somewhat quirky styling cues were meant to separate it from the Mustang, but of course sales never were anywhere like the old Capri. Unfortunately most people saw it as the quirky version of the Mustang that it was.
In addition to keeping the old Capri buyers in the fold, this downsized Capri also initially was supposed to interest Cougar buyers who were not all that happy about the bloat that occured with the T-birds and Cougars in the 1970s. The Cougar was downsized in 1980 but was unpopular, it wasn’t until 1983 that the Cougar was redesigned and popular. By then, most of the old Capri buyers had moved on and with the new Cougar being popular the Capri was somewhat left marketless.
I know where there is a 1973 Capri in decent shape cosmetically (bad transmission) sitting in the original owner’s garage if anyone is interested.
He did say “Of course, the original Capri came from Germany and was a surprisingly big hit in its day.” with a link.
I remember them. My good friend’s next door neighbor had a new yellow 73 V6/4 speed, he also had a Mini Cooper, rare cars for Albert Lea MN!
I’m in CA, tell me more about the 73 Capri.
This car is in Ohio. It was purchased new by its original owner in 1973 and after clutch or transmission trouble was parked in the early 1980s in the garage where it has not moved since. It hasn’t been moved in 30 years. As a consequence, aside from minor cosmetic blemishes, it is probably in better condition physically than mechanically. Copper colored with tan vinyl interior 4 speed manual. V6 edition. Don’t know much more about it but the gentleman owner is in his late 60s and well after hip surgery doesn’t get around good so much anymore and the kids have no interest.
Another one I’ve neither seen or heard of,keep them coming please!The red convertible is a stunner but I could put up with a Bubbleback.As a kid I liked the 676/68 Cougars and Cyclones but thought the rest Dadmobiles!Thanks for opening my eyes again
Now theres something I wish had come here there are a couple of 90s Mustangs locally but these Mercury Capri nar never seen one, WTF were Ford australia thinking when they labelled their awful little mobile pool Capri debasing a badge that had some cachet.
It’s just waiting for a 412hp Coyote 5.0 swap …
I realize they probably sold in far fewer numbers than the Mustang, but any 1979-86 Capri is as rare as hen’s teeth these days. I’ve been window shopping at ebay motors for over 10 years and I can count on one hand the number of Capris of this vintage that I’ve seen that were in decent shape.
The one pictured here is probably the nicest I’ve seen, an ’83 bubble back Capri GS with the Essex V6.
my cousin had one of the 85 motorsport capris ,coolest car i ever seen ,sadly he sold it when he got married cuz his wife said it was too fst for her.lol
I used to work with a guy who had an early ’80’s Fox bodied Capri with the regular hatchback. It never ran well, and he called it “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”.
I will confess that I kind of liked these. The bubbleback gave the car a little more of a bulked-up appearance. I liked both looks. I went into an L-M dealer in my great 1985 new car hunt, but the salesman was suffering from some kind of superiority complex who felt compelled to make sure I knew that he knew a lot more about the car than I did. I saw no reason to deal with him anymore and went back to the Ford dealer where an 85 Mustang GT became the runner up to my GTI.
I saw one of these on the road a week or two ago on the way to work, but had no opportunity to shoot it. It was the first one of those I have seen in years. I had forgotten about them before that.
Dude look like a Muss-stang…
My dad’s second ex-wife had an 82 Capri, bright orange, I cannot remember if it was a turbo or a 5.0, but it was fast. I loved it, I was 12yo and it was way cooler than my mom’s Datsun. In the movie “Mr. Mom”, Anne Jillian’s character drove a Capri 5.0, she kinda looked like my stepmom too.
Then in high school I was friends with a guy who’s dad owned the Lincoln Mercury dealer, he always had a Capri of one type or another to drive. Senior year he had a convertible McClaren, red, exactly like in the pic above. I remember it was crazy expensive, like $30k or so, for what was not any better than a convertible Mustang GT. They didnt sell many, so I am sure it is rare today, but I am not sure its valuable. Last time I saw one on eBay it didn’t sell for much.
I like that hardtop McClaren though, I would drive one…
Never saw the movie, but in the IMCDB data base it’s a 82 Mustang GT. A friend had an identical GT but w/o the infamous Michelin TRX wheels/tires.
*This* is one good-looking 3rd-gen Mustang. I can totally see the appeal, decades removed from when the Foxes were everywhere.
The differentiation versus Mustang was on par with what they did in 1967 with the Cougar so I always thought that should have been the name.
I loved the Fox Mustang notchback, it reminded me of a Mercedes 450SLC. The rear quarter windows on the hatch (and all Capris) were too small and made the side glass area look truncated. They made the same mistake on the 1980 Mark VI.
Got to disagree with the Mustang/Cougar Mustang/Capri analogy. The Cougar was much MUCH more different than a Mustang….every body panel, the interior, the hidden headlights, even the wheelbase.
You could tell a Capri was essentially a Fox Mustang immediately. Having had a Capri I obviously preferred it.
Sure there was more difference in 67 that’s why I said on par with, not same. I loved the 67-68 Cougar but always saw Mustang in it from the strong side window shape. Never had a problem with that though.
Fox Cougar vs. Fox Mustang would have been about the same as Camaro vs. Firebird and that was never a problem.
I would love to find a 1977-78 Capri II Ghia, 4-speed with factory air in red, green metallic, orange or yellow.
The Camaro vs. Firebird is a much better comparison. And Thunderbird/Cougar after 1977.
I think they corrected that somewhat with the 87-93 redesign. The physical window glass remained the same but they used a black overlay to give a larger illusion.
I agree with you that the 80 Lincoln Mark VI rear quarter windows were a bit too small, the car actually was built on a smaller wheelbase than the 4 door version and the Town Cars. Even though the Town Coupe was bigger, both seemed to sell poorly. Otherwise I like the lines of the Mark VI they made the car look a lot like the Mark V. Who knows, perhaps that was part of the problem, since the styling cues were so close, people noticed the smallness more. The Mark VII was no bigger but so radically different that people adjusted.
Here is another thing that hasn’t been mentioned yet but is noticeable in some of the pics above, that smoked lens covers were all the rage in the 1980s and 1990s.
The bubbleback was a big disappointment to me because I thought the rear styling of the ’79-’82 Capris was sharp. I’ve never been a fan of the license plate above the bumper but the louvered taililghts kind of made up for it (until ’83). Pic is not my car.
Hey it’s a Capri Black Magic… what a weird name.
Why did these have a Mercury Cougar logo on the front fender?
At the time, L-M division was still using the “Sign of the Cat” as their marketing slogan. They used the cougar head on lots of their collateral, kind of like they used to use the Mercury god head on all of their collateral back in the 1950’s-1960’s.
I think they dropped it from heavy usage after the launch of the Sable, that came with a stylized “M” logo that was supposed to represent Mercury into the 90’s. I know they stopped using the “Sign of the Cat” in ads and other materials by the launch of the Sable.
The cat and the Cougar logos were heavily bastardized by Mercury back in the day, like Cutlass was for Olds in the 1980s.
Mercury was successful up until the early 90s when the Sable was about all that was any different (mostly because of the door design). At least in most years they tried to differentiate from Ford by more than just nameplate and a grille.
I will admit that, while I loved Hawaii Five-O (the original one) for what it was, I loved watching Jack Lord go about his business in his 68 Park Lane and his 74 Marquis Brougham.
Sean, Opel beat Mercury in the mid 70’s with their Black Magic Opel Manta. Great looking car in all black and a multi colored body stripe. I believe it was a Europe only edition…..
Oh man, normally I don’t like them – but the taillight covers on that ASC/Mclaren Capri look so ridiculously cool. Why didn’t they use them on the drop-top too?
I always liked the bubble back Capris, thought it was a nice touch to set them apart from the Mustangs. The Fox-body version of the ‘stang was the only one I ever really loved. They were so un-Mustang, but Ford somehow pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes and convinced the world that some little European looking hatchback was a muscle car. I think if I was going to own one, I’d actually prefer Mercury’s version – just because it’s that much different and doesn’t have a prancing horse logo anywhere. Ideally, it would be an ’83-’84 RS Turbo with T-Tops. AFAIK those were the only years for the EFI turbo in the Mustang/Capri, aside from the SVO. I like the 5.0 too, but I’ve always been really into the turbo Pinto motor. I just read that Ford only sold ~4,000 turbo Mustangs over those two years, so the Capri must be insanely rare with that option.
I never realized they sold as few as they did. I haven’t seen one in awhile, but I used to see them pretty regularly in the 90’s. Two of them lived in my neighborhood back then, one a bubble back V6 and one an earlier 5.0 RS.
The car on the trailer is a 1985 model. I had three examples of this model of Capri, a 1980 Turbo RS, a 1985 RS 5.0L, and a 1986 5.0L Sport Coupe. The 1985 we had was black with the dark red interior. Our 1985 was a hard car to come by, as I had looked long and hard for a blue RS 5.0L for my wife’s then first new car. Couldn’t find a blue one, so we ended up with the black 1985 RS.
The first year of ownership was great, the car ran well and we loved it. I was so happy with it after the disastrous ownership period of my Turbo Capri and my Trans Am, that I sold off my hot rod Pinto and bought the red/gray 1986 for myself (the same color scheme as the car in the pix). Into that second year of ownership (and after I had signed on the dotted line for the 1986), the black 1985 started giving us trouble. I replaced: the transmission tail shaft (twice!), and then the trans completely, the power steering rack, something (I don’t remember exactly anymore) with the fuel pump/system and a couple of other “nuisance” items.
The (formerly) friendly L-M dealer started giving me crap every time I brought the car to them for warranty repairs; and at the time Ford had a policy that you had to get the car serviced by the selling dealer. That sucked when I got a new job and moved 20 miles away. I’m sure they thought I was hooning the car, but the reality was my wife was driving it to her day job and her night school. I rarely drove the stupid thing! All the time this was going on with the 1985 car, I would look at the 1986 car and think: OK, what’s going to break on you?
It never happened. The 1986 Capri ran fine for the three years I owned it. When my first daughter came along, I sold the car off, like so many in my position do at that time of life. Sometimes I regret it, other times I don’t feel bad about it at all…
I got so disgusted with the 1985 Capri, (in a fit of either brilliance or stupidity) I traded it for a 1987 Dodge Lancer ES Turbo, trying my luck with turbo cars again. Considering the miserable luck I’d had with the 1980 Capri turbo, several of my friends plainly asked me if I was insane. The Lancer turned out to be a Car Of A Lifetime (COAL), which is another story for another time.
The car on the trailer is the last of the carbureted cars, which has it’s own following. If it’s early production it will still have a four speed manual, it was part way into 1985 production that they got the five speed. My black 1985 was the four speed. It will also have the 1979-issue 7.5″ rear end along with the Quadrashock set up. I believe the Quadrashock came on line in the 1983 model year (along with the Turbo T-bird’s debut), but don’t quote me on that.
The 7.5″ was replaced with the 8.8″ for 1986 and retained the Quadrashock set up. It worked pretty well at stopping the wheel hop compared to the older cars, but did nothing for that short wheelbase wickedness that caused the car to get out of shape upon launch. My 1986 was the four-speed autobox, and was easier to control than the 1985, but the Goodyear Gatorbacks that came standard on the car were almost useless from a dead stop in the rain. The other thing that was almost useless on those cars were the brakes.Your average $13K Hyundai has far more effective brakes than those cars, and those cars were capable serious thrust.
Given the chance to do it again, I would get the 1986 all over again. The major refresh for the 1986 Mustang brought the Capri along with it, especially with the first year for fuel injection and the previously mentioned 8.8″ rear end. It was the modern muscle car for the future.
Ford was heavy into racing again in the 80’s, and that Mercury would be aimed at the higher forms of racing meaning Trans Am and other road racing (like GM did with Pontiac at that time also, kind of like “white collar” racing), while Ford cars would go in drag racing and NASCAR (more “blue collar” racing). With that in mind, and the desire to separate the two cars in consumer’s minds, the Capri ended up with the bubble back hatch, ostensibly to gain an aero advantage on the high speed road courses, while the Mustang wouldn’t require that much aero help on the drag strips. Capris under Jack Roush won the Trans Am title in 1985 and 1986, but when the car was discontinued after 1986, Roush switched over to Mustang bodies.
The ASC McLaren Capris were truly neat cars, but I’d never seen one back when they were new. When I lived in Atlanta (during the 90’s) I saw one at a business near my home, but I could never catch the owner to find out more about the car. I’ve also seen a couple of the convertible ASC McLaren Capris at car shows here in Michigan, but never have had the chance to speak to the owners of the cars. I knew my standard-issue Capris were rather rare, but the ASC McLarens are very hard to find.
Sorry for the length of the post, but these were a significant car in my personal history. I thought I’d share some of my knowledge.
Geozinger: Great post about your Capri’s. I forgot Mercury got involved in Trans Am. Being a Mustang Turbo (first generation) fan, I remember well the later efforts by Ford with the crazy Zakspeed Ford Motorsport Mustang Turbo racing in IMSA, along with other Ford SVO efforts to refine the Turbo Mustang via racing. Soon after, the Mustang SVO made it’s debut. A great time for Ford Motor Company, for sure.
I hope the subject of this article is being trailered to a new life. It certainly deserves it!
I remember the Zakspeed cars from the IMSA races. It was kind of a funny car, at least for North American standards. IIRC, it had a two liter turbo motor and a bunch of German Ford parts on it and none of it was ever going to make it to the streets here. The later SVO was a great effort by Ford to get some European cachet for the Foxstang IMO, but the whole effort was muddled.
If the SVO was supposed to be the ultimate Mustang, why did it have the same HP rating as the V8? Were we really supposed to pay THAT much more for a turbo Pinto motor, rear disc brakes and a bifurcated spoiler? When I bought my Trans Am, even with the WS6 package, it was still less than the SVO. (Yes, I bought my T/A in ’83 and the SVO didn’t come out until ’84, but the price differential remained the same.)
I originally hadn’t intended on buying another Capri 5.0L. I was trying to purchase a SVO Mustang, but there were very few available. That #@$%# dealer would not budge $1 down from $16K to buy that car! I could have purchased a 5.7L powered F-body or one heck of a Shelby something or another for that kind of money. I happened to see the transporter going down the main drag after unsuccessful negotiations to buy the SVO and bought the Capri instead.
Yeah, actually I do hope this car was saved, I’d hate to see it come back as a refrigerator or something less fun.
I still have the Road and Track issue with a new Canyon Red Mustang SVO on the cover. How I coveted that car, but as you say Geo, 16 thousand dollars was a lot of money back then. Today I paid a visit to the local Ford dealer just to daydream. 38 thousand was the going rate for a new Mustang GT. A Shelby GT 500 and Boss 302 sat in the closed dealer’s showroom. Can only imagine what those may cost!
My opinion, but the Ford of the early 80’s with Donald Petersen at the helm and Michael Kranefuss running SVO was really on a roll. Your memories of the Zakspeed racer are spot on, it really was a funny car impersonating a race car! Back to my thought; I think the Ford of that era was so energized, first with the Quality is Job 1 campaign, followed by the Fox Mustang, the Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, Turbo 4 EFI and intercooled engines, the Taurus and Tempo with their jellybean stylings the return of the 5.0 V-8 and it’s refinement with EFI. I think this era of enlightenment ended with John Colleti leaving the company after the Ford GT program ended. Colleti brought refinement back into the Mustang program, with the 32 valve and later supercharged 4.9, the Mustang Cobra and Cobra R and best of all, an independent suspension in the Mustang Cobra. Quite an engineer…….
Something was lost in translation when those men left the scene and we are left with overweight, overpriced and solid axled 2013 Mustang GT’s…
@Michael: Yes, the FoMoCo of the early-mid 80’s seemed like they were really doing something, it was a great time to be a Ford fan. They put a lot of effort into enthusiast offerings, and it almost seemed like they were trying to re-live the “Total Performance” era of the 1960’s. I was a young child through most of the 1960’s, so I’d have no recollection of what that time was like.
By the time we got to the late 80’s and early 90’s, you could tell the tide had changed. Management had changed by then, too. It seemed to me the race was on to outdo GM by having the most subsidiaries (Jaguar, Volvo, etc.), bigger trucks (Expedition anyone?) and other questionable forays.
The whole Jacque Nasser era was disaster that is only now getting resolved. I think that folks give Alan Mullaly too much credit, in fact, I’m a little worried that when they speak of “One Ford”, that’s all there is going to be. As a fan of Mercurys, I lament their passing, but I see Lincoln in similar dire straits. I don’t know that Ford has the money, the will or the desire to do what it takes to get Lincoln to compete with the high end Germans and Japanese luxury makes.
The real unfortunate item for them is the string of poorly engineered cars that finally drove me away from being a future Ford owner. I’ve owned bad cars from a number of manufacturers, but coming from a Ford family (back when your dad was a Ford man, or a Chevy man, etc.), I should have a built-in bias toward them. But one too many repairs on several of my former Ford products has put me off of them.
There’s a young man in the neighborhood who has a black on black Boss 302 ‘Stang, with a red hockey stick stripe on it. It’s gorgeous to look at, but I wonder how well it will serve him. I hope for Ford’s sake it’s a good runner…
My brother bought a 1986 McLaren Capri Euro Coupe (white with the honey-comb orange wheels) new. I loved that car. When it was less than a year old, he loaned it to me to take to college for a week and I was hit headon by a drunk driver and the car was totalled. As far as I know, he never had any mechanical issues with the car. The 302 is a robust engine and was a rocket in that fairly lightweight car. I can still vividly remember the feel of turning the ignition key, the sound of the engine, the smell of the interior. It was surprisingly tight and rattle-free for that era, with the T-tops and frameless doors, but I think a little water would come in when it rained. It had the 5-speed automatic which shifted just like every other Ford automatic of that era – very noticeable upshifts. I’ve driven 302 Panthers that drove exactly the same. That car was a looker. I sure did enjoy driving it around school that week before I had the wreck.
i would cry if my 83 was wrecked. ive had my 83 RS for about a year,half of that it was parked due to a tree limb breaking the bubble windo and the new carb that up the HP back up to were it was ment to be. that helped me blow up the spider gears in the 7,5 rear end . since then a Yukon locker fixed that totally. talk about fun shifting gears ,in the rain omg you got to know what your doing or sideways is where your headed lol . my car haz 102k not a prob with it it hits almost 100mph in 3rd so rocket yah for sure just had to say capris rock
Ive had a 84 mercury capri rs turbo for 15 years now.the motor only has 10thousand..but it sat at my dads for all 15 years.it needs some touch up work and new fuel lines, but i can’t wait to get started!!! it has the full suspension package that was an option for that year and a moon roof that was optional http://issuu.com/foxmustangmagazine/docs/fmm_issue7/64?e=8705724/4402606 is a link that says 320 made! This is a pic of mine…….
Do you still have this capri’s if so are you interested in selling it?
I now am in middle of doing a paint job on my 86 Capri RS 5.0. Love these cars because they are not a Mustang but close enough that people look twice. I call it the evil twin of the stang.
I bought one new in 86. That car was fast and handled very well! Kicking myself for not keeping it. Put 115,000 miles on it with everything original except normal wear and tear. The standard transmission, gear shift, and body were all original when I traded it in about 92. If anyone sees a black one with the grey front spoiler, I want it!
I live in Bedford Nova Scotia and I use to own that car I was the second owner I had it painted all one color only because sombody ran into me one afternoon . That’s why it’s not grey on the bottom I’m betting the intake is painted yellow where it’s stamped 5.0 .My dad custom machined the ceters on those rims after the originals were stolen and there is prob a chrome RS decal on the pasenger side dash. That was a great car always regretted selling it. Looks to be garage kept as it was since it was new love to see it again.
Nice Capri , Looks Familiar
I’ve photographed a few of these, i think the ones I’ve seen we’re all black bubble backs.
I have an 85 Capri Fox. I have been looking for a rear bumper cover for ever can anybody help me? If someone can please email me or txt me ,I’m in dire need of one kooldude5642@ gmail.com 7249687830 ty
I like the bubble back Capris but also the pre-bubblebacks such as the 1980-1982 Black Magic editions that directly resemble the Cobra Mustangs of the same time period. Honestly, any of these cars are incredible and stand out from anything that you see nowadays. Not sure if repairs are tricky but from what I’ve read and the one I’ve owned, they seem to be solid cars. Been looking for a low miles 1980-1982 Cobra Mustang or Mercury Capri Black Magic with low miles and a clean windshield for a looooonnnnggg time and still haven’t even seen one. They are very hard to come by.
Help last week a wind storm put a branch into my Bubble back window …ouch ..i cant find one anywere… portland ,Oregon i got the car last August Red RS 5.0 100.000 mi on it.. wow talk about Bad Ass FUN but now the rainny season is here and no glass near me can any one help thanks Andy C.
Guys, I know folks here keep repeating how the bubble back Capri was only slightly different than a Fox Mustang. However, I still have my 83 5.0 T-Top, and based on 27 years of repairs and rebuilds, they are quite different beyond the mechanical and interior. The bumpers, hoods, grill, fenders, hatch, quarters, headlight buckets, taillights and most other body parts are unique. In facts, if I am not mistaken I think you could swap the glass (minus the hatch) and the doors….thats about it. I am not sure about the fuel filler door. And maybe the side marker lights. While it is awesome that the drivetrain and suspension is the same, making parts easy to get, good luck if you need a body panel. They may as well be made of unobtainium.
The best part about the Capri round here is the best part about Tigger…..”I’m the only one”
Here’s my 84 Capri RS 5.0, 45,000 miles, hasn’t seen water to even wash it with since 89
Interior still smells like new
Had her since 85
Still a 302 but making about 3 times the HP as it had when I first bought it in 85. At 2965 lbs it’s a quick little car, will do mid 11’s on 245/45-16’s Dunlop street tires pass after pass, mid 10’s with spray. Every car show I take her too she’s the only one there. Check out the inspection sticker date on the windshield 🙂
As clean underneath also, live in PA but car has never seen snow let alone salt in its life
Screen shot of my buddies gps based 1/4 timer. Not bad loaded with 2 adults a full tank of fuel and no spray