1983 Ford Capri 2.8i Automatic
Exceedingly rare automatic version; recent engine rebuild; ingenious push-button starter
"The car you always promised yourself" announced Ford upon launching its new Capri in 1969, a liberating two-door fastback coupe they hoped would generate the same following in Europe as the Mustang had garnered in the US.
Restyled three times in its 33-year life, the Capri always remained close to its roots. The initially exaggerated belt line would smooth and the impression of almost scalloped sides would flatten out. By the MkIII of 1978, Capri sales were in decline, but the model was still a roomy and individual coupe.
In 1982, Ford decided to launch a new fuel injected power plant and dropped the 3.0 V6 in favour of the all-new 2.8 injection Cologne V6 power plant, with a claimed power output of 160bhp and a top speed of 130mph through the existing 4-speed gearbox This was swiftly upgraded to a 5-speed, and along with an interior facelift, it allowed Ford to keep the car in production until it finally bowed out in 1986.
First registered in November 1983, this Capri 2.8i is most unusual in that it has an automatic gearbox. Quite how many 2.8i models were produced with this option we aren’t entirely sure, but the vendor believes that it could be as few as six. Although there are no bills to prove it, we are told that the engine was rebuilt about two years ago, shortly after the vendor acquired the car – he and his brother have quite a collection of cars and have an engineer friend who works on all of them.
It also got a new starter motor and electronic ignition and a new set of tyres. The ignition barrel had never worked properly and as new ones are unobtainable, a separate switching system was cleverly designed and fitted by their engineer friend. To start the car, you simply press an illuminated button concealed in the ashtray and flick a switch next to it – very ingenious and a good theft deterrent too! The only downside is that the inhibitor switch had to be bypassed and the car will now start in gear so you need to make sure it is in Park or Neutral before you flick the switch.
The electric aerial has also been modified and now operates via a switch under the glove box while the screen washers are activated by a button under the JVC radio/CD. Who wants to be normal anyway? Other than that, it is pretty much what you would expect – a good, honest Capri, in decent shape that has been in light regular use during the current ownership. The vendor advises that it always starts instantly from cold but can be reluctant to start when hot.
Treated to a new battery and fresh oil and filter a few months ago, it was driven some 90 miles to the sale and has an MOT until May 2022 with no advisories recorded. Starting promptly and running well as we have moved it around on site, it is being offered here at a modest guide price and is perhaps the only chance you will ever get to buy an automatic 2.8i.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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