Saturday, May 19, 2012

A German Car that was not so good -- 1974 Ford/Mercury Capri


A belated autobiography – my 1974 Ford Mercury Capri
One of, if not the worst car that I ever owned was also the first car that I bought new.   It was the fall of 1973, and I was working at Clemson University in Agricultural Chemical Services.  Why a Mercury Capri?  Made in Germany, at the Cologne plant, perhaps.  As it turned out, a real piece of junk.
There were two Capris at the Edwards dealership in Walhalla, SC. One was a new 1973, yellow,  hood damaged probably in transit, V-6, 2600 cc.  In retrospect I should have bought it, but I opted for a new 1974 green Capri, loaded with 2800cc v-6, sunroof (manual), 4 speed, tan interior, cool little map light, AM-FM radio.
It was a dog, but I kept it nearly ten years. There  were just too many add-on  emissions control devices – a decel valve, a thermactor pump, spaghetti like vacuum lines all over the engine compartment. 
And then there was the clutch cable. It first kinked about 6 months into our relationship.  I began to lose pedal height, and it felt strange, like it was being wound up.  4 cables later, the problem (as  I remember) was solved.
More… water pumps. I had several of them as well. And for a time, they came with imperfect castings, not exactly flat, so when the mechanic tightened down on the bolts, the pump cracked!
So much for German quality.  It was not always so good, especially at Ford Germany and from what  I gather, Opel. We can romanticize about a place in a way that can be totally undeserving.

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