Mercury’s Forgotten Fox: 81k-Mile 1984 Mercury Capri RS T-Top 5-Speed

  • December 08, 2020
Why We Like It

Marketed since the early 1970s as Mercury’s “Sexy European” in North America, the Capri is a very attractive 2-door coupe derived from Ford’s wildly successful Escort and earlier Capri models, which carved out a formidable rally racing and circuit-based touring car competition record. With the advent of the Fox-Body Mustang for 1979, Mercury’s Capri featured distinctive styling tweaks and a decidedly upmarket presence. Both cars were designed to accommodate a small-block V8 engine in addition to the 2.3L ‘four’ and FoMoCo’s contemporary V6. MacPherson strut-type front suspension brought taught, European-style handling and driving enjoyment.

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mercurys-forgotten-fox-1984-mercury-capri-rs-t-top128690829 1014925932314486 5356021951054132188 oOn the heels of 1982’s aggressive new Mustang GT, Mercury followed suit in 1983 with the bold new Capri RS, featuring the same powertrain choices as the reinvigorated Mustang, as well as a unique deep front air dam housing a pair of useful driving lights, along with a low-drag rear “bubble” hatch. More than a styling statement, the Grand Touring Capri RS helped homologate this bodywork for SCCA Showroom Stock and IMSA GT racing, with top drivers including Willy T. Ribbs, Greg Pickett, Tom Gloy, and Lyn St. James. The Capri nameplate faded away after 1986, seemingly too successful for the comfort of Ford Mustang product planners. The Cougar suffered a similar fate in the late 1960s when it nearly snatched Trans Am racing dominance away from Ford, and while a new Ghia-designed third-generation Capri would arrive just a few years later, it was never intended to provide the same level of performance as the second gen Fox-Body cars.

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Powered by what looks like the famed “5.0” 302-based V8 engine paired with a desirable 5-speed manual transmission, this 1984 Mercury Capri RS also features a versatile T-Top roof providing additional enjoyment. While the listing isn’t terribly wordy, the seller does provide an assessment of this clean Capri’s mechanical status, including brake pad measurement, a recent chassis alignment, and maintenance to factory specs. A Summit/Holley 4-barrel carb and aftermarket rocker covers are currently installed, with the original carb and Ford valve covers included with the sale of the car. Recommended needs include a new fuel level sending unit and (predictably) new rear tires. According to the seller, this rare Capri runs and drives without misfires or hard starts and it comes with a clean title.mercurys-forgotten-fox-1984-mercury-capri-rs-t-top128747872 1014943718979374 4645394705354129521 o

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The Fox-Body Mustang was a runaway success when new, and the Capri RS offered a European-themed alternative that struck a chord with performance car buyers of the 1980s. Sadly, few quality examples remain today, and that is truly a shame in the opinion of this Zero260 writer who rode shotgun in several in period. Light, nimble, and very fast, they're just the ticket to clear out the cobwebs on a spirited drive. Unlike its Ford Mustang running mate, the Fox-body Capri has yet to find a place in collector car price guides, but market prices are modest to say the least, perfect for virtually anybody to relive their youth and enjoy modern collector car ownership. When this rare Fox-Body Capri sells, it will surely be well bought and provide plenty of fun without undue financial risk, and ultimately we think their relative rarity and behind-the-wheel enjoyment should see prices rise in the very near future future.

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