Finally Found: 1976 Mercury Capri II – STILL $12,750

by | May 2024 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Malaise Monday

(To stop the slideshow and expand the pictures, click on the current photograph below)

May 11, 2024 Update – The private seller of this 1976 Mercury Capri we first spotted in April proactively deleted their original Craigslist ad and replaced it with a fresh listing. The pictures, description, and asking price all carry over from the original ad.

With nearly five years of experience blogging about cars spotted on Craigslist, some models have remained elusive during that whole period. For our Malaise Monday theme, we’ve been on the hunt for years to feature a 1970s-era Mercury Capri. While we’ve written about the “Bubble Window” badge-engineered Fox Body Mustang twin of the 1980s and the Australian-built convertible of the 1990s, the elusive Ford of Europe sourced first-generation Mercury Capri remained on our “to feature someday” list.

There’s a good reason Malaise-era Capris, especially the later MkII version produced for the 1976 through 1978 model years, are so hard to come by.  Despite worldwide production of just over four hundred thousand units for those three model years, only 56,441 of those (roughly 13%) wound up imported to the U.S. Factor in the age and in many cases, rust, and it’s easy to understand why we just don’t come across any for sale that often. Even Bring A Trailer has only auctioned ten examples over the past decade.

This Red Over Black 1976 Mercury Capri II For Sale, first spotted on Craigslist in Brentwood, California in April 2024, is one of the 29,904 such models imported to the U.S. that year. Mercury offered Capri II with two engines that year.  As was the case with the Ford Pinto and Mustang II, the Capri II came standard with an 88 horsepower 2.3 Liter inline four. Optional was Ford’s 2.8 Liter overhead valve V8 that produced 109 horsepower.  The example for sale here features the standard engine mated to desirable four-speed manual transmission.  With only 104K miles, a California Blue Plate, and “mostly original” paint, we’re calling this Mercury Capri II for sale a sympathetically preserve example.

Currently offered for $12,750, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, shows that only five sales among this website’s sources in the past five years.  By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can get a sense of what those comparable examples sold for and where:

As a second data point, the  Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #2 Very Good” estimate of $9,600 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $15,700.  Noteworthy is fact that neither the Old Cars Price Guide nor the Collector Car Market Review even list Mercury Capri II’s from the 1970s. Unfortunately, these cars do not come to market often, so if you really have your heart set on adding one to your garage, the seller likely holds most of the bargaining chips in this case.

“Captive Imports” were a common term used during the Malaise Era as domestic automakers scrambled to offer more fuel efficient compact to compete against the growing popularity of Japanse cars. Lincoln-Mercury imported the Capri as its captive import produced by Ford of Germany from 1970 through 1978 across two generations of the model.  While the first-generation featured a two-door coupe body style, the Capri II launched for 1975 with a hatchback body style depsite featuring very similar styling to the first generation cars.  Ford of Europe launched the Capri II for the 1975 model year.  In the U.S., dealys in getting the redesigned model EPA certified forced Ford to launch the U.S. Mercury Capri II in mid-1975 as a 1976 model.

The 1976 Mercury Capri epitomized a blend of European engineering finesse and American automotive sensibilities, showcasing a range of technical features that contributed to its performance, reliability, and driving dynamics.

At its heart, the Capri was offered with a choice of two robust engine options. The base model featured a 2.3-liter inline-four engine, renowned for its balance of power and fuel efficiency. This engine utilized overhead valves and a carburetor-based fuel delivery system, providing adequate performance for everyday driving situations. For enthusiasts seeking a higher level of performance, the Capri offered an optional 2.8-liter V6 engine. This powerplant boasted a more aggressive camshaft profile, higher compression ratio, and improved breathing capabilities, resulting in increased horsepower and torque output.

Transferring power to the wheels was a task handled by either a four-speed manual transmission or an optional three-speed automatic transmission. The manual gearbox featured a precise shifter feel and well-spaced gear ratios, allowing drivers to extract maximum performance from the engine. Meanwhile, the automatic transmission offered smooth and seamless gear changes, making it an ideal choice for urban commuting and relaxed highway cruising.

The Capri’s chassis and suspension system were designed to deliver a balanced combination of comfort and handling prowess. A front MacPherson strut suspension setup provided responsive steering and excellent road feedback, while the rear featured a solid axle with coil springs, ensuring stability during spirited driving maneuvers. Additionally, front disc brakes and rear drum brakes provided reliable stopping power, instilling confidence in the driver under all driving conditions.

Inside the cabin, the Capri offered a range of amenities designed to enhance comfort and convenience. These included supportive bucket seats, a tilt-adjustable steering column, and a comprehensive instrument cluster providing vital information at a glance. Optional features such as air conditioning, power windows, and a premium sound system further elevated the Capri’s appeal, making it a versatile and desirable choice in the compact sports coupe segment.

In summary, the 1976 Mercury Capri was a technically sophisticated vehicle that combined European-inspired design with American engineering prowess. Its robust powertrain options, agile handling characteristics, and array of comfort features made it a standout choice for driving enthusiasts and everyday commuters alike.

The Bionic Disco YouTube Channel features this 1976 Capri II commerical:

While I prefer the minimal bumpers of the first-generation Capri versus the clunky U.S. five mile per hour units the Capri II is saddled with, it is still a great looking car featuring a much more practical hatchback body style.  This sympathetically preserved 1976 Mercury Capri II for sale benefits from a life solely based in California. The 2.3 Liter inline four mated to a four-speed manual means this Capri II is a miserly classic car that can deliver low-30s mpg if desired.

If you are serious about buying this Capri II for sale, you can start the conversation by using the contact information provided by the seller in their Craigslist ad.  When you connect, please mention that you saw their Mercury captive import featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Listed this ad for friend.
Up for sale 76 mercury capri with 104K miles on it, rear car with blue plates.
Engine 2.3l 4-speed transmission.
Runs great,
New parts,
Brand new tires, brakes, spark plugs and wire, fuel pump and fuel hose, battery, valve cover gasket…..
Pass smog test and register. The paint is mostly original.
Let me know if you’re interested and call me

Show or go: What would you do with this sympathetically-preserved 1976 Mercury Capri II for sale? Please comment below and let us know!

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