Forgotten Foxbody: 1983 Mercury Capri RS 5.0L/5-Speed – Sold?
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January 8, 2023, Update – We confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found, we’re assuming this ride is “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
Throughout its history, Ford’s Mercury Division lived in relative obscurity, forced to make do with up-level, badge-engineered versions of similar Ford-branded products. By the 1980s, Ford’s bean counters forced designs between the two divisions to be nearly identical. One exception was the 1979 Mercury Capri. While the car’s greenhouse reminded you of a Mustang, the Capri’s distinctive front and rear styling, combined with more flared fenders, provided a much more distinctive look, at least on the exterior. Once inside the cabin, it was hard to tell the difference between the two cars. The most desirable version of the Foxbody Capris is the V8-powered RS version, essentially a badge-engineered GT.
This gray 1983 Mercury Capri RS 5.0, originally listed in December 2022 on Craigslist near Seattle, Washington, is said to be a single-family-owned survivor example. This Capri RS 5.0 is a nicely-optioned example featuring the more desirable five-speed manual and a factory sunroof.
Once offered for $22,500, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is well above the rolling average of this guide’s summary for second-generation Mercury Capris produced between 1979 and 1986. By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can navigate to each comparable car sold as a way to help you evaluate the price of the Capri featured here:
As a second data point, the Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls well above this guide’s #1 “Excellent” appraisal of only $13,100 before making equipment and powertrain adjustments.
Leveraging its new Fox Body platform launched with the 1978 Fairmont line, Ford introduced the new Mustang and Mercury Capri siblings for the 1979 model year. While the Ford Mustang version replaced the Pinto-based Mustang II, the Capri version replaced its European captive import predecessor. As a result, the 1979 Mercury Capri marked the first Mercury “pony car” since the 1970 Mercury Cougar.
While visually similar to the Mustang, the second-generation Capri came solely in the three-door hatchback configuration. Capris featured its own front fascia, a vertically-mounted grille, and dark-tinted taillamps with horizontally-ribbed lenses. In place of the widely flared wheel openings of the Mustang, the Capri offered slightly flared wheel openings and widened front and rear fenders. In 1983, the Capri received a redesign of the rear hatchback, distinguished with a large compound-curve “bubble-back” rear window. For 1984, the front fascia of the Capri RS was fitted with a front air dam.
Along with the base-trim Capri, Mercury offered the Capri Ghia (shared with the Mustang), Capri GS, Capri RS, and Capri Turbo RS. The Capri RS/Turbo RS was the Capri equivalent of a Mustang GT. During its production, the second-generation Capri maintained powertrain commonality with the Ford Mustang, with inline-four, inline-6, V6, and V8 engines offered during its production; the only Mustang model with no Capri equivalent was the Mustang SVO.
The second-generation Capri was produced through the 1986 model year. In 1987, while the Mustang underwent a mid-cycle update (lasting until 1993), Mercury withdrew the Capri, focusing on the Cougar XR7 as its two-door performance vehicle; the next Mercury hatchback sports coupe was the 1999 Cougar.
The MotorWeek Retro Review YouTube Channel features this vintage test drive of the then-new 1983 Mercury RS 5.0:
While prices of Foxbody Stangs continue to rise, this 1983 Mercury Capri RS offers the performance of a similar Mustang GT for less money. Sweetening the deal is how well preserved and unmodified this example remains, right down to the factory radio.
Here’s the seller’s description:
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