1971-1978 Ford Capri/Capri II

Capri II

Despite their 1975 arrival, the first Capri IIs were sold as 1976 models.
Despite their 1975 arrival, the first Capri IIs were sold as 1976 models.

One item that was totally new for the 1976 Mercury Capri II package was a new 2,300-cubic-centimeter overhead-cam inline four produced at Ford's Lima, Ohio, engine plant. It weighed nearly 500 pounds more than the British 2.0-liter it was replacing, but was rated for 88 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and developed 116 pound-feet of torque at 2,600 rpm.

Available for an additional $272 was the German-built "2800" V-6, now capable of 110 horsepower with the four-speed transmission, 111 with the automatic (109 in California) -- all at 4,800 rpm. Torque peaked at 146 pound-feet at 3,000 rpm.

The standard package included some familiar features from the past plus improved front and rear stabilizer bars, 165SR × 13 steel-belted radial tires, fully reclining front bucket seats, the return of full instrumentation, and a fold-down rear seat to accommodate large loads that could be placed in the car through the lift-up hatch. Also new, though less positive, was a starting price that shot up to $4,117. Another $217 fetched the Decor Group option that included, among other things, embossed vinyl seats, contoured rear seats, imitation wood trim for the instrument panel, opening rear-quarter windows, lighted locking glove-box, assist straps, and a center console.

Doting on Ford's new relationship to the Ghia design firm, Capri II offered a ritzy Ghia version that included high-back bucket seats covered in Comfort-Weave knit fabric or plush vinyl with map pockets behind the front seats, contoured rear seats, deluxe center console with clock, woodtone instrument-panel trim, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob, plus grab and assist handles. On the exterior, color-keyed bodyside moldings and racing mirrors were utilized, accented by some very stylish cast aluminum wheels. The Ghia sold for a $623 premium over the base model.

Sporty types for 1977 included the "S" model. Sporty types for 1977 included the "S" model.
Sporty types for 1977 included the "S" model.

The ultimate Capri II was the "S" package. Finished in glossy black with gold accents, it was a sign of the times. Anodized gold was applied to the standard black steel styled wheels or cast-aluminum rims, the latter of which were a $113 option. "S" interiors included black vinyl bolsters with gold soft-weave fabric, black carpets, and blackout trim for the instrument panel. Dual racing mirrors, a heftier suspension, and upgraded sound insulation were also included.

(While there was no mention of it in the American sales literature, the color combination reflected the schemes used by Ford-powered John Player Special Lotus racers that were tearing up the Formula 1 circuit at the time. In England, this package was officially known as the JPS edition.) Later in the model year, a white version of the svelte "S" hatchback would become available.

For all other Capri IIs, there was a choice of nine colors, with five interior color combinations. Also offered in black, dark brown, or white-depending upon the exterior color-were vinyl tops, a $95 option.

Some of the more popular extras available on the Capri II included the $276 Select-Shift automatic transmission, air conditioning for an additional $429, the manually operated sunroof at $181, rear-window defogger for $69, as well as a rear window wiper costing another $48. Most important was the addition of the AM radio at $71, or the much more desired AM/FM unit at $136. With the new hatchback design, a vinyl tonneau-style luggage compartment cover was a new extra-cost item at $29.

For more information on cars, see: