Ford Capri MKIII
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3
By 1979 Ford's Capri had been around for ten years, the first in the series appearing in 1969, but of course it had undergone many changes over a decade. 1978's revision was less than many people had expected; only relatively minor changes were made to the Mark 2 style body that had been introduced in 1974, and this was something of a tribute to a design which had aged well over a period when fashions had fluctuated considerably.
Production began in April 1977
with the first cars being available in March 1978, but failed to halt a terminal decline in sales. This model was used in the TV series 'The Professionals', which was credited with keeping interest in the car in the UK. The most obvious difference was in the new 'beetle browed' look to the bonnet line which appeared partially to mask the four new headlights. The radiator
grille, it is true, was different, as was the front air dam. The net effect of all three changes was to effect around a six per cent improvement in aerodynamic
While the changes at the front were easy on the eye, the addition of a boot-mounted spoiler on the S models was less so as it seemed to form less of an integral whole with the car than did the changes at the front. In fact, as purely a cosmetic feature it would not have been there at all, but what it did do was to help counteract the tendency for the rear of the car to rise which was a side effect of the new front air dam.
Hardly any changes were made to the mechanical side of the Capri; the suspension
remained by MacPherson struts at the front, while the live rear axle was located by those traditional devices, semi-elliptic leaf springs. The basic 1300 model, however, was given an increased power output of 57 bhp, up from the previous 50 which was hardly adequate for a car with the Capri's looks!
The top of the line 3000 S used the old trusty Ford V6 3-litre push rod unit as before, and this engine with a power output of 138 bhp gave the 3000 S a very impressive top speed of 124 mph. No less impressive was the 0-60 mph acceleration time of only 8.0 seconds, and there were very few coupes that could match this performance at the price.
In 1981, the 3.0 V6 is dropped from the lineup, but a new sporty version debuted in the Geneva Motor Show, called the 2.8i. The new model was the first regular model since the RS2600 to use fuel injection. Power rose to 160 hp (118 kW), but the car still had a standard 4-speed gearbox. Although the Capri no longer had a racing career, specialist Turbo
Technics developed a limited edition turbocharged
model with 188 hp (140 kW), which could propel the car to 220 km/h (137 mph) in April 1982. A few months later, Tickford upped the deal with a 205 hp (153 kW) version, which also featured a large rear spoiler, white front grille and enlarged bumpers.