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While we found plenty of Mustangs, Fairlanes, and more at the 2021 Holley Ford Festival, one small group in the All Ford Car Show stood out. A group of Capris had gathered at the corner above the autocross paddock to show just how neat and different these little cars could be. We found everything from 4 cylinders to hopped-up V8’s in these rides.
The Capri was produced from 1970 to 1994, but this group was filled with the first-gen ’70 to ’78 vehicles that were sent to the United States as captive imports, sold through Lincoln-Mercury. These cars were, for the time, were aimed to fill a gap underneath the Mustang as the economical sporty coupe. They didn’t aim to have multiple special upscale editions, but many different engines wound up in the chassis. First was the Capri 1600, then 2000, then the 2600 V6, and finally the 2800 V6. They even had the RS2600, which was probably the raciest of the bunch. From a 1.6L Inline-four to a 2.8L OHV V6, they had five different engine choices through those first eight years.
Hot rodders can’t be stopped and it wasn’t long before multiple Windsor V8s found their way under the hood of first-gen Capri’s. Jerry Lacoss’ ’73 Capri, “The Admiral,” was an example of that. His ’73 was no slouch. It was stocked with big power, Cologne fiberglass fender flares, and a whole lot more. To start things off, he had a 302ci V8 crate engine with Inglese Stack Injection to grab eyes as spectators walk by. The small-block is hooked to a T-5 5-speed manual transmission and a narrowed 9-inch floater.
From what we saw, nothing on this ride hadn’t been touched. The suspension was upgraded with a rack-and-pinion steering system, adjustable control arms, RideTech ShockWaves, a 4-link rear suspension setup, big drilled/slotted rotors, 6-piston calipers, and the list goes on. He even has a set of Forgeline Centerlock wheels. Larry built this ride to drive and it was a true standout in the land of Capris.
Ford marketed these rides as “The Sexy European” when they first brought them to the states. While this ride was a Ford Europe project, we’re very glad that they ended up in the States. In the first 4 years of products, 375,000 Capris were sold. That makes them the 2nd bet selling import during that time period, after the Volkswagen Beetle. The Capri corner was a welcome addition to Ford Festival, and we hope their numbers only increase next year.
Jerry Lacoss's 1973 Ford Capri, known as "The Admiral", shows how far you can take one of these European Fords. With a 302, T-5 five-speed, and flared fenders, Lacoss's car is done up to the nines.