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Last Call- What Could Have Been Edition

Robert Emslie January 29, 2013 Last Call 27 Comments


Introduced about the same time – and with much the same engine – the Mazda MX5 and Australian-built Mercury Capri couldn’t have had more different career arcs. Thing of it is, it didn’t need to be that way. While still FWD, the Fiesta XR2-based 1983 Ghia Barchetta came within a hair’s breadth of becoming a reality. The concept itself is very much real, its 86-bhp kent four and four-speed manual drivetrain fully functioning, and presently in private hands. Poofy hair and sweaters over the shoulders may no longer be in fashion, but this little Barchetta is still a total looker, even now 30 years later.

Image source: [Conceptcar]

  • mr. Smee

    Good thing it didn't get built, Ford would have built a Mustang off this platform.

  • njhoon

    This is the first I've heard of this car. I think it would have sold if produced, but alas it was for Europe only. Yet again.

    • Vavon

      Don't feel bad, this was a concept car, Europe didn't get this car either!

  • JayP2112

    The actual car was just a beancounter's version of this.

    When this version of the Capri came out, my pal Nigel (doesn't everyone have a pal named Nigel?) had me come to his house the day after Christmas to check out a book he got. An encyclopedia of Ford products. Every stinking thing. 600 pages.

    And there was this picture of Brad standing by the Barchetta that should have been.

    Instead, it was suck. Maybe the XR2 would run but even Motorweek, the damn motoring authority thought it was crap. The Miata made the Capri its bitch.

    I need to tell y'all about Nigel one day.

  • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    Now THAT'S a hairdresser's car!

    /forgive me please

  • Hmmm… Can I still get the pepperpots?

  • Alcology

    What's the deal with the capri? In my search for a summer convertible I can neither afford nor stable I ran across a bunch of 'em for sale reasonably cheap with a range of options. One with a turbo, one with low mileage, one that's been kept really well, and a couple that are showing their age but still running around. All reasonably affordable. Did these just suffer from a wrong place wrong time or are they pretty crappy? Wiki lists some electrical stuff but it sounds like a fun unique little car to tool around in. And backseats are a bonus even if they just fit a schnauzer. Or a bag. Or a bag with a schnauzer in it.

    • Rover1

      Like someone was handed a blurred photocopy of an MX5 and told to get on with it, and make it wrong wheel drive with extra seats, while you're at it. And then they got drunk and did it. Possibly the main reason that Ford USA currently doesn't want products from Ford Australia.

      • Alcology

        hahahahaha, that's awesome. But still! FWD and extra seats isn't like eating crackers in bed for me.

    • XRSevin

      I had a Capri that I used as a daily driver for 100,000 miles. As long as you think of it as a Karman Ghia and not a 356 it's fine. I vote for wrong place wrong time. The top has sealing problems at the c-pillars on every one I've ever seen, though.

      • Alcology

        Does the hardtop remedy those sealing issues?

  • In the realm of would, coulda, shoulda … If Peter Brock had his way, this would have been the TR-7.

    <img src="http://classicmotorsports.net/media/img/Mitty12/tr250k-race-car.jpg"&gt;

  • Devin

    The sweater over the shoulder thing has to be one of the strangest fashion trends. Did people just have very cold shoulders in the '80s and '90s?

    • wisc47

      It would explain shoulder pads.

  • Vavon

    This concept is a realy good idea, but I'm not so sure about the looks…

    <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3301/3196357903_611d6482b6.jpg"&gt;

    • M44Power

      From the front it looks like a prop from a bad 80s/90s sci-fi film.

      • Vavon

        I will never be able to look at this car again without thinking just that!

    • Alcology

      It's like an eclipse and a miata drank a lot and had a baby. I'd still pay for it to go college.

  • Sjalabais

    I'd never had thought I'd say that, but it looks like the ugly sibling of another sweater-on-shoulder-car that never went into production:

    <img src="https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRrQckzv9DBdhKwMmF0NGG7gk-3bpjAV9i_V4r0CAjm9-GjWIMf"&gt;

  • kingcrowing

    FWD Sports Car = WTF

  • I love it.

  • I don't really see where that's all that much better/timeless looking than what they did build.

    <img src="http://cimages3.carsforsale.com/362617/F99DA3DF-FA65-4AA1-B9C9-67785ED7F9C6_5.jpg&quot; width="500">
    And in the snow belt, FWD is not such a bad thing. Why is it that so many people like old Saabs, but bash every other FWD car?