Doggone if a couple of days ago I actually saw a Mercury Capri out on the road. Not the original German Ford-built car sold over here from 1971 to 1974, nor the alternative Mustang, produced from 1979 through 1986. No, we’re talking the Australian-built wedge-shaped convertible, sold from 1991 to 1994.
Well, it wasn’t exactly a wedge. Oh, to be sure, it had a sloped nose with hideaway headlights, but for whatever reason the designers had the body shape flatten out aft of the windshield. And, as it was based on the Mazda 323, it had front-wheel drive (ironic, seeing as imported the car specifically as competition for the Miata) . It came with a 1.6L four which developed 100 hp (the turbocharged version punched out 132hp)…and according to some reports I turned up, suffered from electrical problems (perhaps Lucas had an Aussie cousin?), early component failure plus the occasional fire. This led to the Capri’s nickname, “The Blunder From Down Under.” I can just imagine how much fun it is trying to find parts now.
Say what you will about the “Shape of Things to Come,” but in contrast to the Capri, the TR7 was a huge success. Yeah, it was controversial when Triumph debuted it and yeah, the early ones had all sorts of gremlins and glitches. BUT, it was instantly recognizable, got better as time passed (particularly once the drophead variant came out), enjoyed sales somewhere north of 112,000 and it had character! Like most Triumphs, the TR7 still draws attention. Something tells me that’s not necessarily the case with the Capri but then again, when was the last time YOU saw one of the latter running around?
Break/break: August’s Cars & Coffee is in the morning, should be the regular turnout of nearly 300 cars of all sorts of types, models and interest quotients. Our friends at the MG Club of St Louis are forming up at Cars & Coffee for a post-event drive up the river, looks like they’ll have perfect weather for it. Y’all watch for a parade of LBCs heading northbound!