The Ford Capri could be making a comeback, but it won’t be an affordable, slinky coupe.
Launched this week, the Explorer EV is the first of two confirmed vehicles to be based on the Volkswagen MEB architecture. Designed and built by Ford, the Euro Explorer has a unique interior and exterior that emphasises the company’s American heritage.
Amko Leenarts, head of design for Ford of Europe, has previously expressed a desire to bring the Capri name back.
The Capri name was most famously employed by Ford of Europe for a sporty coupe based on the second-generation Cortina sedan. Launched in 1968, the European Capri stayed in production until 1986, and sold 1.9 million units.
Mercury later reused the name for its version of the Ford Mustang from 1979 to 1986. At the end of the 80s, the Capri name was revived once more for a Laser-based convertible, which was designed and built by Ford Australia and exported around the world, primarily to the US.
Leaky roofs, poor quality, being sold as a Mercury in the US, and the presence of the rear-wheel drive Mazda MX-5 ensured the Aussie Capri was a sales failure, and the car went out of production in 1994.
For the Mach-E, Ford used Mustang’s logos and styling cues, but the two-door line and the electric crossover run on different architectures and share little mechanically.
With the Puma, Ford revived the name of the much-loved Fiesta-based three-door coupe from the late 90s, and applied to it a Fiesta-based crossover. Squint and you can see the original’s face in the psuedo-four-wheel drive.
Ford isn’t the only company guilty of taking a glorious sporty badge from the past, and reappropriating it for a crossover hungry market.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Sport, for instance, is nothing like Eclipse coupes and convertibles of yore, and Audi’s Q-line of crossovers still lives in the reflected rally glory of the original Quattro coupe from the early 1980s.
Opel is also resurrecting the Manta nameplate, last used on a coupe in the 1980s that rivalled the European Ford Capri. Like the reborn Capri, it’s expected to be an electric SUV.