Modern Classic: Ford Capri


Photography: Influx/Magneto

“I couldn’t afford a Mustang”, says 26-year-old Capri owner Pete Wallwork from Truro, Cornwall. I had asked the bike mechanic, BMX rider, barber and photographer the obvious question. Why would a young gun be attracted to a Dagenham bred pastiche of American Muscle from the eighties?

“I am actually really into American muscle cars, but there’s something unique about the Capri that is just as interesting, for me at least. There’s nothing like it in terms of British cars. There’s something about its shape, it’s attitude that just appeals to me.”

For a young man, Pete has surprising experience of the hero of stylish blue-collar motoring. “I bought my first Capri for £200 when I was 17. It was a 2.0 litre S and it was just rotting in someone’s front garden so I took it off his hands.” Like many young lovers of old cars, the lust for a particular flavour of steel and grease came through the family thread. “My granddad always had Fords, and was always tinkering away with bits and pieces in his yard. So it’s not surprising that I would go for something like a Capri in the end.”

Pet’s current ride, a 1986 Mk 3, has its own character in itself. Its various modifications and stylistic tweaks produce a suitably badass aspect. “ I’ve never had so many people turn their heads and take notice. When I drive through town we get a lot of attention.“

The exhaust note probably has something to do with it. “The engine is actually a ‘Pinto’ two-litre bored out to 2.1. It’s got twin 45 Webers and an upgraded ‘beast’ exhaust, too.” The result of these wholly appropriate modifications is a car that sounds properly strong and heavy, rather than all mouth-no trousers bark.

“She drives really nicely, with the combination of the engine and the rear axle from a 2.8i”. So what you see is genuine rarity in the big picture of British motoring. A mini GT that feels as if it’s meant to be driven over long distances, with real enthusiasm.

And the styling of this car reflects the visceral nature of its guts. Flared arches, clean black paintjob and slot mags complete the picture perfectly. “The car was actually originally a laser in white,”, Pete goes on, “ it came with the RS x-pack, factory produced fibreglass arches. They wed to the steel beautifully.” That grille is from an earlier version of the car too,. Pete thinks it’s from a late MK1, but can’t be sure. Opinions anyone?

But whatever the hotch-potch of the car’s elements, it retains its pure bred DNA, that of a aspirational hang-dog, an Essex reared mongrel that pops its collar and never hides its light beneath a bushel. And that’s why we like Pete’s Capri.


7 Responses to “Modern Classic: Ford Capri”

  1. Roger Lyons

    Used to have an LHD RS2600 till some twat wrote it off 🙁
    Then a matt black MK3 that I fitted a Sierra Scorpio 2.9 engine (tried to fit the 4×4 running gear too
    which didnt go well) but the car did over 160mph in that trim with a 2l axle.Thats a cracker you got there though n the grill is from a mk 2 1977 I think.

  2. I had a couple loved them both, Also got a 2.8 engine in bits rebulit engine but never got it on the road before you know who said it had to go :-(. I still want to get 2.8i at some point. Thanks Flux top marks!

  3. Kscourtney

    It may have been Britains answer to the muscle car but my version is closer to how it should have been with a 5.7 V8 fitted. It sits in the engine bay no problem and would probably have sold better specially in the states.

  4. "Capri" Tom

    Great article.  It’s good to see younger drivers getting involved in the Capri scene.  By the way, the front grill on your car is from a mk2 Capri.  I currently have 4 Capri’s, a 1969 mk1 2 litre GTXLR (gold with a black bonnet), a 1974 mk2 3 litre X-Pack in white, a 1978 mk3 3 litre S in red (my daily driver) and the one I’ve been working on for the last 7 years & have just finished is a customised mk3 with a 468 cubic inch (7.7 litres) Oldsmobile big-block V8 with a Jaguar V12 I.R.S. & is fitted with the XX-Pack body-kit.  I’ve owned 3 others over the years and they’re very definately addictive.  Mark my words, you’ll end up with a collection of them eventually!  Happy 4 wheel drifting Pete.

  5. Everything & anything you need to know on Capris then visit the ‘ Laser Page ‘ website. Had them for over 25 years, got 3 now, daily driver is 2.0S on 4x bike carbs with Eaton supercharger. More fun than a beemer, more rare than a porker, turns more heads than a Jag!

  6. Nice car Pete. They have to sound right. I have a 1986 Mk3 with a 3.5 litre V8 running through Rover 5 speed box and 280 rear axle,and straight through 2 inch pipes. It has only done 16000 miles from new. Because of the gearing I get over 30 mpg.