|Mercury Capri History|
|The story of the “Modern Capri” was born when Ford Australia (Ford APAO) was given the corporate objective from its U.S. headquarters to develop a small front wheel drive, two seat roadster.|
|The “Aussies” embraced this objective by enlisting the help of the Italians to design the attractive coachwork. They utilized Ford’s “Ghia” design studio to develop the two-seat convertible initially dubbed the Barchetta. The engineering, the interior & excellent folding roof were done by another Italian firm specializing in engineering/ design, “Ital design”.|
|Although viewed by Mazda to be a potential competitor to its fledgling Miata, Ford still was able to use its formidable financial/business alliance with the Mazda to source Japanese modern and reliable mechanicals; Ford primarily argued that the Capri was not a true competitor to Mazda’s Miata, as the Capri seated four and the Miata only two.|
|As early as 1984 Ford Australia’s proposal was given the “corporate nod” and initial approval & funding was granted. The amalgamation of components from these three countries, as well as, others, created a true “world car”.|
|Thus, the “Modern Capri” was born and was manufactured from 1989-1994 in the Melbourne Australia, Broadmeadows assembly plant & marketed primarily in Australia & the United States.|
|True to its roots, the Capri was based on a modified Mazda 323 chassis with its mechanicals (EFI engine, transaxle, brakes, suspension & steering) derived from the venerable rally champion, the 1988-89′ Mazdas 323 (base model) and 323GT/GTX.|
|Similarly, there were two models of Capris offered, the base version equipped with DOHC 1.6 liter engines which generated 100 HP at 5750 RPM, and 95ft/LB of torque at 5500 RPM, and secondly, the upgraded turbo charged (IHI VJ-14 turbo charger) model, the “XR2”, which was rated at 132 HP at 6000 RPM and 136 ft/LB of torque at 3000 RPM.|
|The venerable ‘power plant’ used in the XR2 has a “bullet proof” reputation having seen many upward HP modifications and roaring FIRST through the “checkered” flag…fastened securely under the hood of its sister…. the rally champion…the 1988-89′ Mazda 323 GTX.|
|Capris equipped with manual transmissions utilized a fully synchronized five speed transmission as standard equipment. However, those who preferred the ease of an automatic transmission could opt for a four speed, Electronic Automatic Transmission (4EAT) which was available only on the base non-turbo model.|
|Indeed, the Modern Capri (1991-94′ model years) convertible was finally built in 1989, and it was truly reminisant of the classic British open sports cars of the 60’s & 70’s.|
This Mercury Capri roadster seated four and of course was ultimately assembled/built in Australia. Many different interior trim packages were used during its production run including gray leather seating in 1993 and black leather covered “Recarro styled” seats in 1994.
|The 1994 model year saw many improvements and refinements with the 1994 XR2 being the most sought after model. Although not all improvements were well publicized following are some of the best known: passenger side airbag added, sport suspension, quicker steering and improved gearing in the M/T, updated rear tail lights, front & rear bumpers, sport side “skirts” added, 5 and 7 spoke sport wheels, Recarro styled leather seating, center console with lid & cup holder, etc.|
|Finally although all Mercury Capris were built as convertibles, Mercury did offer an optional, although expensive (~$1,200.00) removable steel hardtop which came with a rolling storage cart and a cover with the word “CAPRI” printed on it.|
Features of the Series – 1991 to 1993 Mercury Capri
All the 1991-1993 models had four-wheel disc brakes, with 10.2 inch vented discs in front and 8.7 inch solid disks in back and the front suspension was a conventional MacPherson strut system, with stabilizer bar.
The rear suspension was a fully independent trapezoidal link system, with MacPherson struts and a stabilizer bar.
The Capri had better straight line performance than the normally aspirated 1.6 liter Mazda Miata. The lighter Miata naturally handled slightly better than the Capri in the slalom course. This comparison was the result of a July 1990 Road & Track magazine test of the Capri XR2i and the Mazda Miata.
|The US-legal Capri “Series II” model was not available until July 1990 and was introduced as an early 1991 model.|
|The 1992 Capri received new optional 15 inch wheels with low profile tires, but was not changed much from the 1991 model.|
|The 1993 Capri was nearly identical to the 1992 model.|