Looking Back to the Future : 2

A lot of excitement fizzed in the air in 2002 regarding Ford. 

Image via mad4wheels
Image via mad4wheels

The Focus, Mondeo, Ka and Fiesta achieved good sales results and a lot of good will for Ford. The DCDQ ethos resulted in Ford gaining a new image. What were they going to do next? Around 2002 rumours circulated that there would be a new Capri, project S307: imagine, a Capri with the striking looks and exciting driving character of a Focus (that wasn’t the Cougar, the last “new Capri”, which Ford killed off in 2002 after four sad years?).

Allegedly the Capri project received authorisation in July of 2002. Where did that end up? Seemingly, it evolved into the ill-starred and much-discussed Visos which we have treated here before. According to the reports at the time, the Capri would be on sale in 2006. Had history turned out otherwise we would be most of the way through the second generation of that car’s run (say 2006 to 2012 for the revenant, and 2012 to 2019 for the second iteration). The first attempt at a Capri bore the code S272 and was to have come in two flavours, a Mondeo-based coupé and something called an “Urban Adventure Coupé” that used Fiesta elements.

Another cancelled project had the code BE313 which, should have been founded on the Fiesta component set, an urban adventure coupé. That would have solved the problems identified with S272, an upmarket car with Volvo five and six cylinder engines and four-wheel drive as an option.

This was not to be: wikipedia.org
This was not to be: wikipedia.org

The closest anything came to these attempts to fill a hole in the market might be the Focus CC, which used a Pininfarina folding-roof and Focus running gear. Presumably, the price of S272 trod on too many Volvo toes. And the BE313 might have been seen as a pointless niche. These days that’s not such a problem as niches you never imagined are filled every month. What the rumours imagined S307 to be was a Focus or Mondeo-based car with a CC roof, four-cylinder engines and possibly four-wheel drive.

In the end, the Focus CC carried Ford’s aspirations to sell something a little outside its usual range and we have not seen a coupe from Ford since the Cougar and Thunderbird while Audi, BMW and Mercedes have cars fitting this bill in one form or another. Perhaps Ford made the right decision as Alfa’s GT sank without much of a trace as did Renault’s mysterious Laguna Coupe and Peugeot’s unwieldy-looking 407 coupe.

1976 Buick Opel Manta
1976 Buick Opel Manta: wikipedia.org

As an aside: I notice that Opel have seldom been the subject of such speculations. Their inside code names don’t appear to leak out of Ruesselheim’s gates and nobody clamours for Mantas the way people do with Capris. The same goes for Renault though they have a few icons that might bear resuscitation. Does Ford leak plans strategically?

Time once again to call for a rebodied Vignale based on the Mondeo or perhaps the Focus?

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

3 thoughts on “Looking Back to the Future : 2”

  1. Offering the Mustang,Ford dealers surely don´t want another coupé. Also becaise they know that Ford Europe is not good in creating emotional cars.
    If there is a niche for Ford then maybe it is a nice affordable Cabriolet with a retractable hardtop, because all other cars of this type were no longer produced (VW Eos, Peugeot 207 CC, 308 CC, Megance , Colt CZT, …)

  2. That’s a good point Richard. Why is there never a clamour for a Manta for the noughties? I often see a B2 driving around with a small bootlid spoiler and even with 50℅ fewer cylinders I would have it any day over a capri.

    1. Mick – me too.

      And am I alone in thinking that the Calibra did a far better job as a Manta successor than the Probe and Cougar did in assuming the Capri’s mantle?

      Calibra was a pretty lame name. At least we could have a snigger at ‘Cougar’. Why not a ‘Manta Ich Liebe Fahren’.

      (Hint – the capitalisation is deliberate…)

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