Ford Capri MKII Ghia 3 Litre
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4
Today there is a growing allegiance of Capri aficionados, and one of the most keenly sought is the Capri Ghia
V6 3 Litre. At launch the Capri II 3000 GT was considered to be one of the best value-for-money performance cars on the market, although the replacement of the "GXL" and "E" iterations with the Ghia
moniker did not present quite the value you would have expected.
A near £600 premium was asked for the Ghia
over the GT, it being priced at £2,609 compared to the mechanically identical GT at just over £2,060. The Ghia's standard specification was exceptionally comprehensive, featuring such luxuries as sun-roof, extremely attractive alloy wheels
, tinted glass and a push-button radio and rear screen wipe/wash.
The Mark II Capri's were free from unnecessary brightwork and came in attractive colours offset by the standard black vinyl roof. The Mark II Capri was radically diffferent to earlier Capris, the entirely new bodyshell retaining only a basic resemblance to the old model. Its most important feature was the semi-estate car design it shared with the Scimitar GTE
; in place of the tiny conventional boot of the Capri Mark I
(much of which was filled with the petrol tank immediately behind the rear seat) was an open tail area behind fold-down rear seats, access to which was through a lift-up tailgate, incorporating the heated rear window and the steelwork which previously would formed the boot lid.
The tailgate was supported by two hydraulic struts, which often necessitated slamming to make the catch work. The petrol tank was moved to under the floor, but contained only 13 gallons, which detracted from otherwise excellent GT capabilities, given the V6's fuel consumption of around 18 m.p.g., the range was barely adequate.
In practice owners found the Capri's tailgate to be convenient, but the sloping roof and protruding wheel arches made the bay a less convenient size than appearances. This could be fixed by folding the rear seats flat, and the tailgate allowed large objects to be loaded with ease. The separate rear seats were also very useful, so that if one person was seated in the back you could fold the other to provide additional luggage space. Unfortunately Ford used hard plastic rubbing-strips, which would encourage luggage to skate all over the place.
The all-black interior of this Capri Ghia
was tasteful, and the seats in particular were excellent in appearance and comfort, Ford's then new synthetic Riaolto cloth upholstery being a big improvement over the synthetic Beaumont cloth used on other Ford models. The central panels of the doors shared this same material, while the lower panels were trimmed with cut-pile carpet which was generally well fitted to the floors. Adjustable headrests were very neatly shaped into the front seats and the separate back seats were similarly styled, but without headrests - and unfortunately there was no arm-rest between them either.
Stowage included an arm-rest with hinged lid between the seats, a awkward-to-open cubby-hole with a lid doubling as a picnic tray and map pockets in the backs of the front seats. Very clear instruments grouped directly in front of the driver included a 7,000 r.p.m. tachometer, Ford again followjng their peculiar trend of not marking it with the maximum recommended revs, in spite of there being no rev. limiter in the engine's ignition system, a 140 m.p.h. speedometer
with trip and auxiliary km/h calibration, an ammeter, oil pressure
, fuel and temperature gauges and a clock on the centre console.
The fascia was manufactured in Cologne, and was the same unit that was fitted to the 3000E, German RS 2600 and Granada Ghia. It looked great and was of very high quality, however the switch gear was diabolical. There were no less than five push-on/push-off switches to control the front and rear wipers and washers! When even the cheapest Morris Marina
had excellent wiper control on the steering
column, Ford continued to spoil a top of the range car. What is more, the windscreen wipers were dreadful in the extreme, something common on every Escort and Capri. Adding to the insult was the fact that the wipers would start to lift off the screen at 70 m.p.h.!
Eyeball vents were included in the Ghia's facia and the rear quarterlights were openable, but with sensible use of the steel sunroof and the tilting facility which it offered, usable on the move even in rain, ventilation was excellent. This car had very poor heater controls, however, many owners complaining that the car would bloww either very cold or very hot air. The window winders were manual, with no electric option, a heated rear screen being standard and the rear screen wiper, with a washer fed from a large bottle in the spare wheel well, was more reliable than the front wipers, but rarely necessary except after being parked in the rain.
Tall rear=seat passengers would soon learn that knee room was very tight, but adults could be carried without too much discomfort, provided it was a relatively short trip. While two lights in the "boot" of the Capri had three-position switches so that their courtesy action could be used or dispensed with.
The Capri carried over the conventional live rear axles setup, with soft, semi-elliptic cart springing and double-acting shock-absorbers mounted fore and aft of the axle; a rear anti-roll bar
replaced some of the roll stiffness lost by reducing the spring rates. Softening the Capri 3-litre suspension
did not help the handling, making the car feel less taut, rolling more and prone to understeer more than its predecessor. That said, it should be remembered that, in both handling
and performance contexts, the 3-litre versions of the Capri had gained over 300 lb. in weight compared with the 3-litre Capri I's, which was bound to make a substantial difference. If understeer was an initial trait with the Ghia, it was not an embarrassing one, and at high speed the handling
became almost neutral and could be pushed into safe oversteer if you were brave enough. Automatic or not, there was enough bite at the wheels with a heavy right foot to kick the tail round on slower corners and traction was very poor in the wet, stressing the need for a limited slip differential in the "big Capris".
Ford's choice of beefy-looking Pirelli Cinturato CN36s, in 185 HR 70 x 13 size on the 5H alloy wheels
, was a wise one, as in their day these were tremendous tyres
under any conditions. Perhaps the most noticeable difference between the Mark I and Mark II 3-litre Capri's was the ride comfort; the softer springs made the previously choppy ride into an almost luxurious one. On a less satisfactory note, stability in cross winds at high speeds was noticeably poor, perhaps a little worse than the old model, and this was one production car which would have benefitted from the fitting of a front spoiler or a re-design-to prevent the front end going light.
The Capri's low-geared rack-and-pinion steering
was heavy but precise, and thankfully power steering
was available as an option shortly after launch. In bad weather conditions the Capri was predictable and easily controllable. The new Ford C3 box was a vastly smoother unit than its predecessor, and naturally the Capri had a disc/drum braking system with servo assistance. Around town, and on the open road, the Capri proved itself to be a well accomplished car that had matured like a good wine. Switch gear aside, the only problem with the Ghia
was that the GT was so much better value.
MkII Capri 3000 Ghia - 1974-1978
- Engine six cylinder vee formation at 60 degrees
- Crankshaft Four main bearings
- Bore x Stroke 93.66mm x 72.44mm (3.69in x 2.85in)
- Capacity 2994cc (182.7 cu in)
- Valves Overhead camshaft
- Compression ratio 9.0 : 1
- Fuel system Webber 40 DFAV twin-choke carburettor
(later Webber 38/38 EGAS carburettor
- Maximum power 138bhp at 5100rpm
- Maximum torque 174 lb ft (24.1.5kgm) at 3000rpm
- Transmission Four speed manual gearbox, fully
synchronised. (Optional Ford C3 three-speed automatic
- standard on Ghia from 1976)
- Gear Ratios 4th 1.00, 3rd 1.412, 2nd 1.94, 1st
3.16, rev 3.346
- Final drive 3.090
- Top gear speed 21.9mph (35.2kmh) per 1000rpm
- Brakes Front disc / rear drum, standard servo
- Wheels / Tyres 5.5in wide rims (later 6in) and
185/70 13 tyres
- Length 168.8in (4288mm)
- Wheelbase 100.8in (2559mm)
- Width 66.9in (1698mm)
- Height 51.1in (1298mm)
- Front Track 53.3in (1353mm)
- Rear Track 54.5in (1384mm)
- Unladen weight 2580lb (1170kg)
- 118mph (190kmh)
- 0-60mph 9.0 secs (10.5 secs automatic)