Ford Capri Mk1, Mk2 & Mk3 Tuning Guide
The Car You Always Promised Yourself or Fords Mustang for Europe was a huge success from the word go. With its sexy styling, it’s seemingly endless range of accessory packs, trim levels and engine choices and of course it’s simple Escort and Cortina derived underpinnings it was always going to be a hit. Over its life it enjoyed several face lifts and two complete overhauls with engines ranging from a 1.3 Crossflow right through to the torquey 3.0 Essex and with the more modern 2.8 Cologne V6 it really was all things to all men.
The cavernous engine bay is a modifiers delight. With the Pinto being standard fit you could seriously tune up a 2.0 as per our Pinto Engine Tuning Guide or you could fit a Cosworth YB Turbo with very little bother. The V6 engines are grunty things and also respond well to tuning, these can be fairly easily replaced with the later 24 valve BOA or BOB Cosworth V6 which makes for a nice modern take on a classic car. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous a Duratec or Zetec will go in the hole with little fuss using many of the Escort conversion parts as found throught the catalogue.
Regardless of engine, a common modification to four cylinder cars is the fitment of a five-speed, Type-9 gearbox as removed from four-cylinder Sierras. Having an extra gear far improves motorway cruising and is a relatively simple conversion to do. We can supply a fully reconditioned Type-9. The Sierra ‘box isn’t a sporty unit, but with our modified first gear kit and a quick-shift things will improve significantly. If you are planning more power for your Capri you have several options for your gearbox in addition to the option of fitting a Borg Warner T5 or the later MT75 units (the Capri has a large gearbox tunnel so these are quite an easy upgrade) we can supply the required bellhousing for this. Quietest gearset for a standard ‘box is our helical synchro gearset for the Type-9, this is stronger than the standard gearset but is just as quiet. It also benefits from having much better ratios - perfect for the fast road car. If you’re planning something a bit more serious, we have a wide range of straightcut, dog-engagement and even sequential gearboxes from Tran-X and Quaife. Most Capris came fitted with an Atlas axle (rear loading diff rather than the front loading unit of an Escort) which is much stronger than the English equivalent. The 2.8i Capri Special came fitted with a limited slip differential as standard but most of these will be worn out by now. We can supply you with either Quaife or Tran-X limited slip differential units for the Atlas and the English, which will suit fast road right through to full on track use.
To improve the handling of the Capri it’s similar drive train components to the Escort mean that you are quite spoilt for choice dependant on your budget and what you will be using the car for. A simple pair of front lowering springs and rear lowering blocks will improve the handling no end, don’t go too low though. The car would also benefit from uprated bushing throughout, after this you can opt for adjustable inserts at the front and adjustable dampers at the rear though if you have got a 2.8i your car should have the standard fit Bilstein dampers. If you are after serious handling we recommend some 2.25" or 2.5" adjustable coilover struts which are available as exchange items, again our sales staff will be able to recommend the best units for your application and budget. Lowering a Capri can give it a large amount of camber which is great on track but not so good on the road so this can be adjusted out with some adjustable TCAs.
As the 2.8i came with vented discs as standard, this is the simplest modification for lesser models. Using our caliper spacer kits with some uprated discs and pads you will greatly improve the braking of your Capri. Another great modification is the fitment of an anti-dive kit, this will make the car feel noticeably more stable under heavy application of the middle pedal. If you are after something a bit more serious then we have a wide range of brake conversion packages from Hi-Spec and Wilwood which cover anything from fast road to full on race use. If it’s the track that the car is destined for we can offer an exchange bias pedal box unit for your Mk3 Capri.
Whichever way you look at it the Capri is a cult classic and thanks to common chassis components can easily be modified into a seriously fun car. At the moment we think the Capri represents the best value "retro" Ford out there.