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Car reviews - Ford - Capri - XR2 convertible


25 Jul 2003

DON'T discount the Ford Capri (the 1989-1994 front-wheel drive convertible produced in Broadmeadows, not the 1969-1973 rear-drive coupe), because it's well on its way to becoming a future and very collectible classic. Just trawl the net for Capri fan bases. Anyway, Ford Australia must have been feeling very confident in the mid-1980s when it undertook to build a Mk3 Mazda 323/KC/KE Ford Laser-based two-door convertible with a design based on a 1983 Ghia Barchetta show car and export it to the biggest drop top market in the world, the USA. "Federalising" it for American consumption fatally delayed the project by over a year (1987's costly US legislation regarding standard airbag requirements forced Ford to implement them at the project's 11th hour), in which time the cheap ragtop runabout zeitgeist was well and truly seized by Mazda (ironically enough) with its iconic 1989 NA MX-5. Still, they weren't direct competitors (the Capri was faster, seated four people and offered greater day-to-day practicality), and in its first year the model - dubbed Mercury Capri Stateside - sold reasonably well. But the car's lateness dated it, and Ford decided not to build its successor after all. Which is a shame because by the time the SC series arrived in early 1992 Ford had exorcised most if not all of the quality and reliability gremlins out, making the Capri the world-class cheap convertible it should have been from day one. Today owners of good ones love them, especially down in the good old US of A..

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Model release date: 1 April 1992 to 1 July 1994

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