The Mercury Capri was produced from 1970 through 1977- except for in the 1975 model year- and were essentially repackaged Fords made in Germany. In its heyday, the Capri was second only to the Volkswagen Beetle in sales of imported vehicles. The Capri was a small 2+2 that gave buyers the choice of a 1.6 liter or a 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine. Later iterations of the little coupe offered more options: a four-cylinder with 2.3 liters or a six-cylinder with 2.6 or 2.8 liters. Buyers could also choose either a four-speed manual or an automatic transmission. The little Capri had a sporty design and responded well on the highway, with moderate acceleration and solid handling.
The German-produced Mercury was labeled as Capri" and "Capri II", and these German imports were dropped for the 1978 model year. To give their Mercury Division another small, sporty car, Ford Motor Company repackaged the Ford Mustang as a Capri for the Lincoln-Mercury dealerships. This iteration of the Capri was little more than a dressed-up Mustang, with the same running gear, but slight changes in body panels, particularly the trunk and the hood. The interiors were somewhat more upscale than those of the Ford pony car.
A number of special editions of the second generation Capri were offered by Mercury: Black Magic, featuring black exterior paint, gold pin-striping, gold TRX wheels and a compound rear window; White Magic, which came with the same features as the Black Magic, except with white rather than black exterior paint; Red Magic, which featured special black seats with red inserts; and the Charcoal Turbo RS, which came with a turbo-charged four-cylinder engine, special trim and badges.
In 1984-86, American Sunroof Corporation (ASC) produced Mercury Capri models modified into convertibles and coupes with special suspension and running gear upgrades. The coupes were equipped with special camshafts in the 5.0 liter V-8 engines, giving them greatly enhanced performance over the normal 200- or 210-horsepower V-8s.
For the 1987-91 model years there were no small or pony cars for the Mercury Division. In 1992, a small, front drive, two-seat roadster from Ford of Australia was imported for the Mercury dealers as direct competition for the Mazda Miata. The car could not match the Mazda roadsters' appeal or performance. There were unfounded rumors of defects and mechanical problems that ultimately led to the demise of the Capri from Down Under. Many of these little roadsters are still soldiering on as daily drivers in both the USA and Australia.
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