By on April 23, 2013

Doug DeMuro recently discussed both sides of the “investment car” issue, those cars that may actually appreciate in value and those that probably won’t despite their supposed collector status. The problem with this ad on the Detroit area Craigslist for a 1991 Mercury Capri (that’s the little car that Bob Lutz wanted to be the Ghia Barchetta but ended up being a FWD “sports car” imported from Australia), is that it doesn’t even approach the collector status of the cars on Doug’s “don’t invest” list.

We can debate the possible upside to buying a Buick Grand National, but do you think that there really is another person, other that this seller, who appreciates the future collector value of a  ’91 Mercury Capri? Beyond that, would even a Capri collector pay $20K for this. I’m having a hard time imagining even one person that thinks that a ’91 Capri could be worth twenty grand but the ad is real, so there you go. The fact that the seller didn’t use a photo of an actual car but rather a pic taken at an auto show in 1992 to show “what car actually looks like, no kidding” makes the ad even sillier.

The people who “invested” in a bicentennial 1976 last of the breed Eldorado convertibles may have acted foolishly but they weren’t completely deranged. People actually liked and still like big Eldo ragtops. A nice ’76 Eldo can go for $40K. Heck, I’d say that more people appreciate the future collector condition of a Lincoln Blackwood pickup truck than a 1991 Mercury Capri, even with a turbo and the cradle that stores the hardtop when not in use.

Text as found on Craigslist:

I HAVE ORIGINAL 1991 MERCURY CAPRI CONVERTIBLE TURBO IN MINT CONDITION. ALL ORIGINAL EXCEPT BATTERY WITH 16,000 ORIGINAL MILES. THIS CAR NEEDS TO FIND AN OWNER WHO APPRECIATES FUTURE COLLECTOR CONDITION OF THE CAR. I ALSO HAVE THE ORIGINAL WHITE HARD TOP AND CRADLE THAT HOLDS THE TOP WHEN NOT ON THE CAR. PHOTO ATTACHED IS WHAT CAR ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKE – NO KIDDING. SERIOUS BUYERS ONLY. CALL TO SEE 734.323.4525

Now if you happen to love 1991-94 Capris please don’t sent me any hate mail. While the car wasn’t what it could have been, it has its enthusiasts. There’s even a club for owners of ’91 to ’94 Capris on Yahoo. On the other hand, maybe there is something about FWD Capri enthusiasts. This guy on YouTube says that “In another 10 years, they will be a 90s collector car”, that it’s “one of 30,000″ that remain. He also says that the front wheel drive Capri shared the “identical chassis” as the Mazda Miata, which would have been a great achievement if it were true, or even possible since the two cars have completely different layouts. To their, and the car’s, credit, Capri enthusiasts point out his many errors in the comments. Also, he only paid $1,500 for his Capri, not $20,000.

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Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks – RJS

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55 Comments on “This Seller Car Needs A Psychiatrist To Find An Owner Who Appreciates Future Collector Condition – No Kidding...”


  • avatar
    Syke

    P. T. Barnum immediately comes to mind.

  • avatar
    Synchromesh

    This might be a low mile Turbo car but $20K really is insane. Anything over $7K would be pure madness. I’d much rather have a Miata and for $20K I have tons of options.

    • 0 avatar
      glwillia

      Especially since “ALL ORIGINAL EXCEPT BATTERY WITH 16,000 ORIGINAL MILES.” in my mind means it still has the same gaskets, hoses, tires and fluids it did when it left the factory 22 years ago…

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Exactly. The car is a ticking time bomb of leaks and failures with that few miles on it and being “all original.”

        It is definitely worth more than whatever book value on a Capri turbo is, but $20,000?!?

        BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

        For a bit more Cheddar you can be rocking a Lotus Esprit Turbo.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Please to send me a bankers cheque of $5000 down payment to my address in Tunis. The car will then be delivered to you with all possible haste from its secure storage location in Michigan. Respectfully yours…Yework Zaff, Esquire.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I think an AMC Gremlin and Pacer have more collector value.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      From what I can tell they sadly do, even though the turbo Capri is the better car.

      Not to say that its necessarily a good car, but a step above cheaply built rubbish.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s not fair to call AMC cars rubbish. Cheaply built? Yes. Rubbish? No. They were good values for their prices and if you could tolerate the doors sagging from worn hinge pins, the AMC straight six would run forever.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          I only called two of their cars rubbish, and I consider them that due to their poor designs (Gremlin in particular)

          Otherwise I consider AMCs offerings pretty good for their time.

  • avatar
    Jellodyne

    I wish I could find a way to sell cars at their future collectable value instead of their actual current value. Especially if I could choose an insane, cracked out, highly unlikely future collectable value.

  • avatar
    Howard1

    Article reminds me of the Buick Reatta. Seems like a good car that can’t find any love (same for the Cadillac Allante). There are fewer and fewer affordable, reliable 2 seat convertibles. Over the past 25 years, this Capri is one and so are the Reatta & Allante. Can’t think of too many others.

    While I can’t see the historical significance why a Capri should be a collectable, I can’t understand why the Reatta or Allante hasn’t been embraced by the collector car community. Both cars had limited runs (I think only 2,100 Reatta convertibles were made). Aside from the muscle car era, very few domestic convertibles have become desirable. Maybe because what “Joe Smith” can’t afford is what hikes up the price.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    My recollection is that the general view of the Capri when it was introduced was that it was pretty much a P-O-S and was a typically cynical attempt of Detroit to leverage off the success and attractiveness of the Miata . . . for those too lazy to test drive the Japanese car or who didn’t know any better. I’m guessing that the Capri was cheaper.

    The idea of a turbo in that car is positively frightening.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      It did not get good reviews. Mercury’s marketing at the time was horrific. They had just finished running Merkur into the ground with confusing marketing and messaging (are they sports cars, are they luxury cars, are they touring cars). The xR4Ti was a damn nice car, when it wasn’t doing its imitation of British’s best and endless electrical failures.

      Back to the Mercury Capri. It was pretty much roasted in car reviews of the era. The base model was underpowered and cheap, the turbo model had serious questions on its long term life. The Australian build quality left much to be desired.

      But the marketing. Horrific. The brochure I saw in ’91 positioned this far to “chick” car it was terrifying. I was questioning my sexuality because I read to page two on the brochure, which had a cute female model, cougar paw prints, and cougar cubs on it. It was so traumatic, I still to this day remember it.

      It had almost no support in print or TV advertising and the car is just one of many missteps at Mercury, that led to the brands execution.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      Actually it was one of those ‘D’Oh!’ moments brands have every now and then. Mercury had the Capri planned out way before they knew about the Miata and had the unfortunate timing to unveil it at about the same time. Between the two, it was a no-brainer which to go with. Ironically, a similiar moment came again to Ford when it spend gobs o’ money and marketing effort to bring back the 500 to replace the Taurus in 2004-05; exactly timing the launch of their new flagship unexpectantly against the new Chrysler 300C. A year later, the 500 was shelved again and the Taurus name was back.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Ford owned a big piece of Mazda at the time and the Capri was a Mazda under the skin, so it seems unlikely that they were completely clueless that Mazda was planning the Miata.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Agreed. I believe the Mercury Tracer was still alive in ’91, a rebadged Mazda 323 with a slightly nicer interior. The Ford Probe was rolling down the line in Flatrock side-by-side with the MX-6. Ford was buying or getting ready to buy Mazda engines by the boat load. I don’t think Ford was flat footed on the Capri vs. Miata.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Gosh I wonder what my 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Brougham SEDAN would be worth now? It was afterall the last V8 RWD Oldsmobile SEDAN and it had a genuine Oldsmobile engine! I’m sure it should be worth as much as a G8!

    (Ok I think I’ve just hit my daily limit of snark.)

    • 0 avatar

      I wouldn’t call it a blue chip investment but, yeah, I’d say that the last rwd Olds with a real Olds V8 would certainly be collectible. I don’t think there’s any question about the last Oldsmobiles made. GM ran off 500 of each model for 2003 with special badging. I know someone who operates a car upholstery and convertible top shop and he bought his wife one of the last Auroras. They put it in the showroom during the winter and I’m sure that eventually it will be collectible. Maybe not worth a ton of money but collectible. Studebakers don’t appreciate in value much but nobody’s scrapping them anymore.

      Of course there’s two kinds of collectible. There are things that might appreciate in value and then there are things that belong in museums. An ’87 Cutless Supreme Brougham with an Olds V8 belongs in a museum.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “An ’87 Cutless Supreme Brougham with an Olds V8 belongs in a museum.”

        I had an ’88 2 door for a time (the leftover ’87s) and my example didn’t belong in a museum anyway.

        The only real noteworthy thing I recall about the car (other than being painfully slow) was the 307 had a very odd exhaust manifold setup for a longitudinal V8. The left side exhaust crossed under the engine then went straight back up into the right side manifold in one flange, then a single pipe exited toward the back from a separate flange.

        Where everyone else had figured out how to fish-mouth two pipes into a Y under the car, Olds had do to it different.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    For $20 grand I’ll give this seller a good lesson in where the Caps and shift keys are, collectors style!

    This is just typical craigslist stuff to sell low mile cars at high prices.

    I once had the chance to grab an Aries with 20k miles for just $800, problem is the transmission was bad and…well it was a K-Car with its original 80′s Chrysler parts that sat in a garage for 20 years.

  • avatar
    threeer

    I find that on any website that lists cars, be it Autotrader, eBaym Craigslist…whatever…many sellers have an extremely inflated idea of what their vehicles are worth. The market response will self-level (as they listen to crickets chirping in the wind)…

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    People can ask whatever they want for their cars, houses or whatever they have to sell and often ask far more then their stuff is worth… nothing new there, but nothing counts until it’s sold. This guys has already gotten more free publicity for his Capri then it deserves

  • avatar
    7402

    I think that Capri was actually based on the same platform as the Mazda 323 (Fifth generation “Familia”). I actually had one of those and, while it was a bit tinny and didn’t have the turbo, it was cheap to buy, cheap to maintain, and I had zero failures up to the time it was wrecked at just under a hundred thousand miles.

    I actually like those Capris, but I think of them as $1,200-1,500 cars in decent shape. One that is absolutely mint, maybe six grand.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    WWRHD – What Would Rick Harrison Do?
    Rick – Ok, I’ll tell you what, I have a buddy check it out.

    Enter Danny the Count – uh, ok, not too bad, I’d say 3-4 thousand tops

    Owner blows gasket, goes into fit, has to be tackled by Andrew and cops called.

    I’m waiting for this to happen for real.

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe on Hardcore Pawn but not on Pawn Stars. The difference between those two shows is that if one of Rick’s friends tells someone that their grandpa’s Civil War gun is a fake, they say, “wow, someone lied to grandpa”. On Hardcore Pawn, the guy would go, “Gimme my $1,000″.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    I had a neighbor who had a Plymouth Road Runner parked that didn’t run. Nothing special 318V8 automatic. I would ask him if he wanted to sell it. No was the answer because it was a future collector’s car. It took him 20 years before he gave up and sold it. I don’t know for how much.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      A 318ci Road Runner? Must have been the Volaré version. In which case he would have been holding out forever.

      • 0 avatar
        Omnifan

        I had a Volare Road Runner that I should have kept as a future collectible. “French Racing” (aka baby blue) with bucket seats, no console, and a column shift automatic. Not my idea of a future classic or any kind of classic. Bought it to flip and that’s what I did. The girl that bought it “fell in love with the little Road Runner decals on the door and just had to have it. Beauty (or classic status) is in the eye of the beholder.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          The original Road Runner could be had with the 318. My brother-in-law had a ’69 with that engine.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            I’m sorry to inform your brother-in-law that his Road Runner was a lowly Satellite, possibly that someone had applied stickers to. The original Road Runner only came with a choice of 3 big blocks.

            The 318 could be had as a base engine after ’73 when everything the Road Runner was intended to stand for had been decompressed into into wheezy smog-choked impotence.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            My bad. I meant 383 sorry My brother-in-law just rolled in his grave…

  • avatar
    David Hester

    What was the sticker on one of these when it was new? I’m guessing it wouldn’t have broken $20K even if you checked the box for every option FoMoCo offered you.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    I believe I heard stories about the Australian assembly of the Mercury Capri being so poor that each one had to practically be dis and re-assembled at the dock to fix all of the quality issues.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    I have the feeling that the seller, aka DoucheBag, inherited this Capri from a Great Uncle or such like. Perhaps the Great Uncle had bought this car originally for his wife, right before the cancer that took her life and kept it nearly pristine in her honor and memory. Or perhaps he was a loon who loved it like it was the second coming of the Ferrari California as some Mercury marketing claimed. Regardless the DB here received this little gem as a either part of the Great Uncle’s estate or maybe just as a token of the Great Uncle’s respect for him. And DB, being a DoucheBag, would rather have the money as nostalgia, empathy, and honor are just useless emotions which don’t get you today’s bling; therefore, the hard sell sales pitch for a well cared for, but really not all that rare or spectacular, auto.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    I don’t guess that’s saying much, but if you squint, it looks like a 90s Lotus Elan.

  • avatar
    PlookStick

    I’ll see your ’91 Capri Turbo, and I’ll raise you this “collector” gem that a local guy is posting on every forum he can think of… And no the price is not a typo…

    “Used 1998 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC – $45,005

    This Mark is for the guy who wants to drive a “one-of-a-kind” luxury sports coupe.

    ANY REASONABLE WILL BE CONSIDERED !!!

    The CD changer holds 10 in the trunk. The tires are high performance Michelins. Top of the line LSC model. Two memory seat positions. Two memory steering wheel positions (tilt & telescoping).Two memory mirror positions. Auto seat & steering wheel adjusting for ease of entry & exiting. Three programable garage door openers. Keyless entry system. Programable door key pad entry. Side mirrors can be programed to tilt down when in reverse. The side mirrors also have flood lights pointing down when using keyless entry until you’re inside and the doors are shut. The only thing missing is GPS and heated seats.

    Our Mark VIII is in factory condition. It runs perfectly and every thing works like new. It has always been kept in the garage. It has never seen snow and seldom rain. This Mark is the only one like it. All Spring Feature models were to have been made as standard. Ours is a LSC model. This will be a special car for someone. Do us both a favor and see our Mark last. You will realize why it’s priced this way. I will be flexible on the price to the right buyer. Come to Pinehurst to see and test drive. Call for an appoitment: XXX-XXX-XXXX

    71,357 miles”

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The seller should be arrested for asking that price without heated seats.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      This one ratcheted up the insanity level a bit. I’m sure that guy gets a ton or replies too. Most of which are along the lines of,

      “What are you smoking? I want some.”
      “Cocaine is a helluva drug”
      or “I’ll give you $800. Final offer.”

      • 0 avatar
        PlookStick

        LOL, even better, a quick google search of his phone number yielded (besides the dozens of $45k ads) a post from a couple years back on a Lincoln forum, asking for help finding a matching gold colored side view mirror that he tore off while backing out of the garage. Not so mint condition now, eh?

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      He’s been listing it at that price for several years — at least 3, if not longer. He was offering it to club members for a mere $25,005 instead of $45,005, apparently.

      Apparently only 117 Spring Feature LSCs were made according to this (Sajeev?):

      http://www.lincolnsofdistinction.org/rides/mark_viii98_springfeaturestock/index.html

      I’m surprised he actually listed on the mileage on the listing you saw. He occasionally claims that the Ford Museum wants it, but it’s hard to take him seriously.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Clean Reatta convertibles can fetch $15,000, so maybe this gentleman isn’t completely out if his mind. Of course he is, but for every insane seller there is an insane buyer.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      That’s true.

    • 0 avatar

      The reason why Reattas can get $15,000 is that the car is indeed collectible with an active community of collectors and enthusiasts. Reattas were pretty much handbuilt cars. Their “Electronic Control Center”, with an early touchscreen, may have turned off blue-haired Buick buyers but they were historically significant. Again, like they hypothetical ’87 Cutlass with a genuine Oldsmobile Rocket V8, the Reatta is collectible, if not a car that’s going to go up in value significantly.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Again, preachin’ to the choir Ronnie. There’s a 20k mile ’91 Malibu Blue Convertible in my dad’s garage.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        I had an ’86 Riviera with the touchscreen. Fairly cutting edge in ’86, though pretty simple by today’s standards. I know there were a lot of problems with it though mine worked w/o issue… the only thing on that car w/o issues.

  • avatar
    Power6

    I think this falls into the “just becuase it is rare doesn’t mean it is valuable” bucket. No doubt a neat little car, interesting maybe, but doesn’t seem to be of a particular historical significance or cultish following.

  • avatar
    pacificpom2

    For that money I’ll get three turbo capri’s on a boat, converted to LHD and ship them from Oz to where ever make a decent profit.
    http://www.carsales.com.au/car/bncis/demo/dealer/demo/private/FORD/CAPRI?eapi=2&sort=default&vertical=Car&silo=Stock&base=1216&Range=Price:Min,Max~0.5&find=turbo|CarAll&keyword=turbo

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Obviously this example is way overpriced but I see decent ones in the $3-5k range that would make fine weekend cruisers and would give you less trouble than a comparably priced MG or Triumph.


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