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The Worst Cars Ever Number 9: Ford Capri Convertible

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The Worst Cars Ever Number 9: Ford Capri Convertible

Postby Member1100 » Wed Oct 18, 2006 12:11 am

Summary:
Name: Ford Capri Cabriolet
Type: 2 Door Convertible
Price Range when New: $22,000 - 25,000
Market Value Now: $3800 -4700
Nickname: Ford Crapi


Image

Above: When a car is marketed as being fun and sporty at a cheap price, it usually means its going to be more trouble than its worth. And the Ford Capri was no exception.

In the late 1980s, both Ford and Mazda, who already were enjoying a close business relationship through model sharing arrangements, were simultaneously working on releasing a 4 cylinder open top Roadster. One would go on to become a cult classic, the other the butt of jokes all around the world......the Ford Capri.

When both were released, the Mazda MX5 roadster quickly earned respect and popularity for its modern striking design, superior handling and good build quality. Unfortunatly for Ford, the Capri, which shared many mechanical components with the MX5, earned exactly the opposite reputation. Designed in Italy, built in Melbourne, the Capri was built with a high priority on cracking the US market. However, the design of the Capri looked out dated before it even left the showroom floor. Where Mazda went with a more rounded and modern looking design, Ford went square with sharp edges. In droves, buyers went for the Mazda. For those who decided they liked the Capri better, their problems were only just beginning.

It would soon become apparent that the build quality of the Capri was questionable at best. It wasnt long before Capri owners were complaining of rattles and squeaks coming from all corners of the car. The dashboard on the Capri was cheap feeling plastic, adding little to the appeal, or lack of appeal rather, of the Capri. And soon after that, the roof of the Capri became a focus point for complaints. Mazda had designed a very easy to use fold back roof in which you more or less could just throw the roof over your head and down behind your back. The Capri was a much different story. Owners would joke about the fact that they almost had to call roadside assistance just to get the roof up and down. And then came the major complaint that Capri owners bombarded Ford with. When rain fell, the driver and passenger would most likely be drenched......and that was with the roof closed. The nylon roof used on the Capri quickly developed a reputation for leaking....a problem which to this day Ford has never really rectified. In most cases, if you were to buy a Ford Capri second hand, chances are it has had its fourth or fifth roof installed now. The paint on the Capri was appalling. Many, especially the red, yellow and blue ones began to fade within 5 years of manufacture, much to the further disappointment to the people who had been sucked in to buying this motoring attrocity. Despite sharing a similar motor initially, the Mazda seemed to be quicker than the Capri. The Capri had a 77kw 1.6litre Fuel injected motor, however it simply felt like driving a wet sponge.

Ford was aiming for 25,000 sales a year for the Capri, which it almost achieved in its first year of release, with a figure of 24,000 cars sold around the world. However the following year saw the beginning of a sales freefall as the reputation of the Capri as being soft on top, bottom and sides caught up with it. Attempts to improve its reputation with a Series 2 model, plus the addition of a Turbo model did little to improve sales of the Capri. Finally in 1993 Ford came to its senses and closed the curtain on a car that had so much potential, but was a catastrophe from day 1. The Mazda MX5 has improved greatly since its early days and today it is a highly regard roadster still selling impressively. The Ford Capri will for ever go down as one of Fords many mistakes. And a costly one at that.
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Postby Swift » Wed Oct 18, 2006 12:28 am

Great read.Look forward to no.8.
Is that Telstra chief Sol Trujillo behind the wheel??
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Postby 2MSJ » Wed Oct 18, 2006 12:39 am

Can we just skip to number 1: Ford Telstar?
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Postby Member1100 » Wed Oct 18, 2006 12:47 am

Articulated Eddy wrote:Can we just skip to number 1: Ford Telstar?


LOL!!! As much as the Ford Telstar was a questionable car at the best of times.....i can assure you that the cars that make up the Top 5 when we get to them.....almost make the Telstar look like a classic.......almost.
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Postby jb17kx » Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:04 am

British Leyland is going to have an offering in there somewhere, aren't they?
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Postby DarrenH » Wed Oct 18, 2006 7:28 am

Yep , I reckon the Leyland P76 may appear in the top five worst cars ever.
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Postby tone167 » Wed Oct 18, 2006 7:40 am

Now this I don't (entirely) agree with.

I think the Capri was just misunderstood by both the public and those who were building them.

Think about it ... the Capri's drivetrain is pure 1985 Mazda 323. I don't believe for one second that a nearly bulletproof drivetrain such as the one that was powering 323s and Lasers well into the mid 1990s could suddenly go pear-shaped just because it's in a convertible rather than in a hatchback.

Sure, some had leaky roofs. Then again, so did many other convertibles of the day - it was hardly a Capri-centric fault. And maybe it wasn't as well screwed together as a Laser. Given that it was built for American tastes (where the Yanks are used to p!ss poor build quality from their domestic models) and that it didn't have the structural rigidity of a car with a roof, it's understandable that some people got a bit less than they were expecting.

If everyone was expecting nothing more than a Laser convertible, people would have been less disappointed. The fact that Ford was talking up the Capri as though it was a proper sportscar and that the punters initially believed it (despite its humble origins) is why the Capri wasn't so much a bad car as a badly marketed one.

Would I buy a Capri? Hell yes! If I wanted a fun weekend car that is as easy to live with as the KE Laser I had a few years back (after all, a Capri IS just a KE Laser without a roof) for not a lot of money, then why not.
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Ford Capri

Postby Atlantean » Wed Oct 18, 2006 2:46 pm

I thought that was Sol from Telstra behind the wheel as well. If he wants to be a friend of the Aussie public he should get a nice HQ Kingswood.
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Postby ABS » Wed Oct 18, 2006 5:29 pm

Keep in mind any chassis will turn to XXX once to take the roof off unless the structure is properly designed to compensate.
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Postby mjrs23 » Wed Oct 18, 2006 5:38 pm

can't wait for number 8 :D

P.S I bet the worst car is a crapy branded one :lol:
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Postby John » Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:03 pm

ABS wrote:Keep in mind any chassis will turn to XXX once to take the roof off unless the structure is properly designed to compensate.


Spot on.

Even some supercars have this problem and thus it is better to design a convertible from scratch.
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Postby boronia » Wed Oct 18, 2006 9:01 pm

John wrote:
ABS wrote:Keep in mind any chassis will turn to XXX once to take the roof off unless the structure is properly designed to compensate.

Spot on.
Even some supercars have this problem and thus it is better to design a convertible from scratch.


Sadly, the Capri WAS designed from scratch as a convertible. There is no direct sedan equivalent.

The previous Ford Capri, a pommie two door "sports" coupe, was a much more desirable car.
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Postby Member1100 » Thu Oct 19, 2006 12:07 am

tone167 wrote:Now this I don't (entirely) agree with.

I think the Capri was just misunderstood by both the public and those who were building them.

Think about it ... the Capri's drivetrain is pure 1985 Mazda 323. I don't believe for one second that a nearly bulletproof drivetrain such as the one that was powering 323s and Lasers well into the mid 1990s could suddenly go pear-shaped just because it's in a convertible rather than in a hatchback.

Sure, some had leaky roofs. Then again, so did many other convertibles of the day - it was hardly a Capri-centric fault. And maybe it wasn't as well screwed together as a Laser. Given that it was built for American tastes (where the Yanks are used to p!ss poor build quality from their domestic models) and that it didn't have the structural rigidity of a car with a roof, it's understandable that some people got a bit less than they were expecting.

If everyone was expecting nothing more than a Laser convertible, people would have been less disappointed. The fact that Ford was talking up the Capri as though it was a proper sportscar and that the punters initially believed it (despite its humble origins) is why the Capri wasn't so much a bad car as a badly marketed one.

Would I buy a Capri? Hell yes! If I wanted a fun weekend car that is as easy to live with as the KE Laser I had a few years back (after all, a Capri IS just a KE Laser without a roof) for not a lot of money, then why not.


While I admire your attempts to defend the merits of the Ford Capri, I do have to set you straight. The Ford Capri is recognized by many sources as being a very poorly constructed car over all. Take away the convertible aspect of it, the Capri was still riddled with poor fitting panels, a paint quality that was way below the normal standards even at that time, and the fact that the Capri was extremely under powered.

THe Mazda MX5 was a very similar car in many ways, containing a 1.6litre Fuel injected motor much like the Capri, however it was constructed as a Rear Wheel Drive as opposed to the Capri and its Front Wheel Drive construction.

The Mazda was a much better built car in almost all aspects...including the roof.....which in the Mazdas case has shown very few problems with leakage. Infact its still common to buy one of the original Mazda MX5 convertibles second hand today still with its original roof.....something virtually unheard of with the Capri.

Sorry mate, but the Capri is one car Ford is more than happy to try and forget they ever did.
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Postby Member1100 » Thu Oct 19, 2006 12:10 am

jb17kx wrote:British Leyland is going to have an offering in there somewhere, aren't they?


As you will soon see when we work our way down towards Number 1, the Leyland company, and its affiliates (Morris, Austin, Rover) were serial offenders when it came to automotive attrocities.

Im struggling to construct the 10 Worst Cars Ever without fitting more than 1 Leyland branded vehicle in.
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Postby boronia » Thu Oct 19, 2006 6:15 am

Eratik wrote:Im struggling to construct the 10 Worst Cars Ever without fitting more than 1 Leyland branded vehicle in.

If you include their cars that weren't released in Oz, you would be struggling to get any other makes in your list. :twisted:
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Postby tone167 » Thu Oct 19, 2006 7:23 am

Eratik wrote: The Ford Capri is recognized by many sources as being a very poorly constructed car over all. No worse than most other Australian cars of the day, or since. The VN Commodore was argub Take away the convertible aspect of it, the Capri was still riddled with poor fitting panels, a paint quality that was way below the normal standards even at that time, and the fact that the Capri was extremely under powered.


No more underpowered than a KE Laser of the day, which - despite being bettered by the likes of the Nissan Pulsar - was still a competent device for tooling around the city as well as the occasional cross-country run.

As for the poor panel fit, fading paint and overall crappiness of the build quality, it's no worse than the VN Commodore. You don't hear too many people bagging VN Commdores, even though they were arguably the worst Commodore ever built. But, of course, there are many Holden fanboys out there who are more than happy to drown out the chorus of (legitimate) detractors, so the VN slips under the radar ... and no doubt will totally miss the cut in your Top 10 Aussie Sh!tboxes Of All Time. ;)
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Postby Andrew » Thu Oct 19, 2006 7:37 am

The VN should definitely be in there - assuming Eratik's list is Australian-centric - not a world wide list.....
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Postby Windy » Thu Oct 19, 2006 10:18 am

I'm guessing No.8 would be a Subaru which came with a 3 cylinder motor.
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Postby Simes » Thu Oct 19, 2006 11:55 am

Take it from someone who gained Capri as a nickname through the early to mid 90's, it was a lemon.....
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Postby Windy » Thu Oct 19, 2006 12:02 pm

Simes wrote:Take it from someone who gained Capri as a nickname through the early to mid 90's, it was a lemon.....


So we may see your username become Capri, then? :lol:
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Postby Stoney! » Thu Oct 19, 2006 2:06 pm

Eratik wrote:
jb17kx wrote:British Leyland is going to have an offering in there somewhere, aren't they?


As you will soon see when we work our way down towards Number 1, the Leyland company, and its affiliates (Morris, Austin, Rover) were serial offenders when it came to automotive attrocities.


LELAND MARINA!!! and P76 of course.

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Postby Swift » Thu Oct 19, 2006 6:37 pm

I drove a SAAB convertible and noticed body twisting on it.It is based on an existing roofed car and not designed from scratch like the mazda MX5.
I didn't like it.In fact I don't like convertibles!
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Postby Member1100 » Thu Oct 19, 2006 11:32 pm

Andrew wrote:The VN should definitely be in there - assuming Eratik's list is Australian-centric - not a world wide list.....


The VN doesnt make the Top 10. The VN by far wasnt the best Commodore ever built, but when compared to its rival of the same year...the EA Falcon, which makes up number 6 on the list (There you go, a scoop for you all) all i can say is.......at least the Commodores dash stayed intact.
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Postby Member1100 » Thu Oct 19, 2006 11:35 pm

Windy wrote:I'm guessing No.8 would be a Subaru which came with a 3 cylinder motor.


Number 8 is a European brand that was once fairly well respected.....until the 1980s when for whatever reason.....their quality control went down quicker than a $2 hooker.
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Postby Simes » Fri Oct 20, 2006 12:40 am

Windy wrote:
Simes wrote:Take it from someone who gained Capri as a nickname through the early to mid 90's, it was a lemon.....


So we may see your username become Capri, then? :lol:


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