Ford Capri 205 MKIII
When a Capri is mentioned, you must surely think of the tv programme, ‘The Professionals’ in the 1980s. Over the years, and if you include international versions, there has been four different incarnations of the Capri, until its removal from sale in 1986. Paul Higgins, who hails from Northern Ireland, bought his recent Capri on Facebook just over two years ago. He comes from a family that has had a range of Ford models, including an Escort, Sierra, as well as several Capri models gracing their driveways over the years. Choosing the Capri was as difficult as you would think it would be. “I was actually working a twelve-hour night shift at the time and got up a few hours earlier to view the car.” This version of the Capri was the first one Paul viewed and he fell in love instantly.
One of the first modifications that Paul made to the Capri was lowering the ride height, using two-inch lowering springs which were mated to gas shocks all round. This is something Paul will continue to monitor and may change in the future. He emphasised the reason why he modified the Capri, saying, “Every Capri looks the same and I wanted to put a younger, Euro twist on it.” He hopes to introduce younger people to the car, who he feels may see Capris as ‘old boy’ cars.
Rebuilding the 205 blocks on the engine were essential when it started to blow oil. Luckily, his dad had two complete 205 blocks lying in the shed for the past twenty-five years – which finally got some use! The engine mounts were also upgraded with stainless steel support cups. The springs at the front were 220lb and ensured the car had a lower, more aggressive look. To assist with lowering body roll, the car was fitted with a GH2 adjustable shocks. He added a spacer kit for the callipers to fit the 2.8 vented discs, which Paul saw as a simple upgrade to the brakes. He has fitted the Capri with 15-inch OZ Fittipaldi split rims, which were imported from Poland. With racing heritage, the Fittipadi rims bring out the performance and keep the focus on style. “Ebay is a wonderful thing,” Paul says. He has also purchased some original three-spoke ATS wheels from Slovenia, as a backup. These compliment the gloss black paint and RS mud flaps.
Ford Capri 205 MKIII right side view
One of the talking points of the car are the wheels, with Paul having polished the black 13’’ alley cat wheels, which sets them apart from the standard four-spokes. Wider dishes were sourced and meant they were eight inches at the front and eight and a half-inch at the rear. These were fitted with 30mm Direnza bolts on the spacers. Paul has fitted a Twin Weber 45s exhaust, which ensures that the Capri is seen before it is heard and is a match for the Pinto engine. This was a full-customised 2.25-inch stainless steel model and sounded so much better than the original Sportex system. The Type 9 gearbox has been fully rebuilt, with a quick shift lever fitted. The advantages of installing one is the power it will give on the road.
Inside, Paul has reupholstered the ‘drab grey leather parts’ with black leather with new black carpets. He has also added a metal, three-spoke Capri steering wheel and Recaro headrests. The headrests were made of fishnet and were immaculate, costing £40 for the full set. Paul likes ‘cruising around in it’, whether it is a trip to the shop or a roundtrip to Dublin. “It just makes me smile and I do love the attention the car gets.” He mentions that without the help of his dad and the company of his brother and best mate, the Capri would not have got to where it is now. “Even if they did nothing but shine a torch or just watch, it all helps.”
Ford Capri 205 MKIII engine
The first event that Paul attended with the Capri was the Northern Ireland Capri Club Annual Show, where it was runner up. The car eventually won the top spot at the Fiftieth Anniversary show in Retrostock in Mondello Park, Dublin the following year. He continues, “The car is very well received, with comments about how they’ve never seen one done like this and also that it’s good to see a young fella interested and looking after an old Ford.” It isn’t all great however, as ‘purists’ say that Paul is ‘ruining a classic’ and should be ‘on a proper set of wheels’. He accepts that people are allowed an opinion and they should appreciate the time and effort put in by the owner. Paul continues, “the car scene is about showing each other their take on their cars and should be appreciated as such.” He has some funny looks with regards to how the car looks, but he takes it in his stride and knows everyone is always going to have an opinion.
Another negative is having a girlfriend who he frequently has to confess to that he has bought more parts for the car (which he sees as ‘essential work on the Capri’). Luckily, he has not come into any problems with rebuild. Paul sourced the parts from Burton, who specialise in Ford, Cosworth and Lotus engine tuning, and Harris Performance Engines.
With the improvements and problems he has faced, would Paul look to buy another Ford? After seeing his brother buy a four-door Mk2 Escort, he is considering buy either one of those or a Mk2 or Mk3 Cortina — which he sees a ‘something else’. He went onto tell us, “This is hopefully the first of many fast Fords and I hope to own an Mk1 Escort at some point.” He had a taster of the ‘Fast Ford’ Ford’ life with a Focus ST170, which he only sold last year. To close, Paul insisted, “I have no regrets and love driving it and everything about it -from its looks to the noise it makes.”
Over the years, there have been many UK and international versions of the Capri, which span from 1968 until 1986. Paul’s version was one of the final models of the Capri, powered by a 2.0-litre Pinto Engine with 99bhp and a top speed of 111mph. This was one of the final coupe models built by Ford, until the car was ‘succeeded’ by the Ford Probe and Ford Puma. The Ford Capri has never been replaced directly, but with the current style of reusing nostalgic model names for newer models, such as the Puma as a small SUV, the Capri name, at least, should not be ruled out completely for return. The closest we came to a Capri replacement was the Visos concept from 2003. Since then, there has been no talk.