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91/1161 Automobile, full size, Mercury Capri Series II, sports coupe, metal/plastic/rubber, made by Ford Motor Company of Australia Limited, Broadmeadows, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1990-1991. Click to enlarge.

1991 Mercury Capri Series II made by Ford Motor Company of Australia Ltd

Made 1990-1991

Ford Australia's Mercury Capri was the first mass-produced "convertible" built here since the 1930s. It was marketed to a conservative niche of young middle-class American women as an alternative to the traditional Mercury range. The Capri was a notable example of a value-added export. A total of 24,000 Mercury Capris were exported to the USA in 1990 earning $357 million for Australia. This is a Ford Capri which Ford Australia developed in the late 1980s for the lucrative North American market ...

Summary

Object No.

91/1161

Object Statement

Automobile, full size, Mercury Capri Series II, sports coupe, metal/plastic/rubber, made by Ford Motor Company of Australia Limited, Broadmeadows, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1990-1991

Physical Description

This is a Mercury Capri, two-door, front wheel drive, transverse engine, four seat, (2+2) body, convertible sports car finished in white enamel with recessed headlights and a black soft top, more specifically, a drophead coupe. It features fully independent rear suspension and four-wheel disc brakes. The car is featured as it was prepared for export to the USA with left hand drive. It has plastic on the four dark grey fabric covered seats, and the original stickers and export labels are adhered to the inside of the windscreen. The black vinyl roof which is stretched over a steel frame folds away into a special compartment behind the rear passenger seats. The centre front of the bonnet has a geometric chrome emblem.

As the car needed to comply with new US regulations it is fitted with a driver airbag and the body panels are stamped with a serial number to help discourage car theft. (In 1991 airbags were not available in Australia because their provision was then not legally required).

When advertised for sale in the USA in the early 1990s it was described as: "a 16-valve, dual-overhead-cam, fuel-injected ragtop with front wheel drive, power steering, brakes, windows and mirrors". It was sold through the Lincoln-Mercury Division of Ford for $12,588US.

Dimensions

Height

1400 mm

Width

1800 mm

Production

Made

1990-1991

Notes

Ford's Mercury Capri began life in 1983 at the Frankfurt Motor Show as the Barchetta, a two-seat sports car based on a concept by the Italian design house, Ghia (Carrozzeria Ghia SpA) of Turin. The interior was designed by Italdesign. The Lincoln-Mercury division of Ford decided to build a sports car at the Ford Australia factory, based on the floor plan, engine and driveline components of Mazda's 323 combined with the Italian-designed Ghia body. The target was 35,000 cars a year, of which 5,000 would be sold in Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia. The first Capri (Series I) rolled out of Ford's Broadmeadows plant in Melbourne in November 1989 with a single-cam, eight-valve engine. Some $350 million was spent on the car including modern production line equipment at Broadmeadows. In 1990 the Series II came out with a twin-cam 16 valve engine.

By April 1992 Ford celebrated production of its 50,000th Capri which had earnt over $600 million in export revenue in the previous two years shipping over 40,000 units to the USA. This helped offset the adverse balance of payments in Australia and kept the Ford factory operating and workers employed.

Despite the Capri becoming Australia's most successful export car, it never reached its sales targets. It was plagued with problems, mainly the convertible roof, which would leak. Fixing the roof issue then ate into the car's development budget. The roof problem was quickly rectified but not before it became public in Australia which understandably affected confidence in the car here. Despite the US getting the much-improved Series II Mercury Capri, the car did not sell as well as hoped. American analysts believed that selling the Capri in the US through its Lincoln-Mercury dealers, which traditionally appealed to older customers, was a marketing error. This was because some 63 percent of the Mercury Capri buyers were young women. By 1993 a global recession, dated styling and competition from the Mazda MX 5 saw production in Melbourne finish in 1994.

Margaret Simpson, Curator, March 2019

History

Notes

The car was said to be one of ten Series II Mercury Capri vehicles built for crash testing but found to be in excess of Ford's needs. It was also used as a test vehicle by the manufacturer and donated to the Museum by the Ford Motor Company of Australia in 1991 as it would have appeared prepared for export to the USA.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Ford Motor Company of Australia Limited, 1991

Acquisition Date

30 September 1991

Cite this Object

Harvard

1991 Mercury Capri Series II made by Ford Motor Company of Australia Ltd 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 17 February 2020, <https://ma.as/111669>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/111669 |title=1991 Mercury Capri Series II made by Ford Motor Company of Australia Ltd |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=17 February 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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