Though born in Detroit, Ford has not been good to the North American market. It’s a name ubiquitous to the North American auto market, but has not sold its best cars here. Sure, we’ve had various Mustangs, F-150 pickups and other big, fuel-hungry, V8-powered high-end Fords on the market… but we’ve not been seeing the other side of the market. Ford has not sold most of their high-end small cars in North America. This has (presumably) been done so the Mustang does not have competition from its own badge.
You, like me, may not have known that the Ford Capri has been around for years! We missed out on the good years of this respectable 80s sports car, which was only available in right hand drive. James May even took one out for a spin in the ‘Rear Wheel Drive Challenge’ on Top Gear. It broke down… but it remains a good example of a good-looking and good performing car produced by Ford.
The Cosworth-tuned cars, such as the Ford Escort Cosworth and the Ford Sierra Cosworth, were created to qualify the car for racing in various leagues. The Escort Cosworth was a homologation car, meaning it was designed to meet the requirements for a certain class of racing. It was a high-power 4-cylinder that remains highly desirable to this day. The big 3-point functional spoiler and turbocharged engine made this car go down in history as one of the best sporty small cars. Here in Canada, the Escort was a family eco-box with as little flair as possible, and shames the roads to this day.
The Ford Focus might seem like a strange thing for this site to focus on (pun intended), since it’s a mediocre eco-box family car in North America. But that’s the thing… in North America it’s lame. Check out the lead image… that’s a Ford Focus RS… this last year’s model. Ford stopped selling the Focus 3-door in North America in about 2004… but it only got better overseas.
The original GT40 And lastly… the Ford GT40 – the original GT40. The Mustang is the flagship of Ford North America…. the GT40 would run laps around the Mustang… and was rarely manufactured in LHD. The GT40 was a thing of beauty, intended to compete with Ferrari and other supercar manufacturers. But, the year was 1966… the musclecar era of North America was budding, and this car would have never fit into the Ford niche they were creating at the time.
The European Ford cars are so good that TopGear.com has a tribute to them! Check it out. There’s lots of great photos of great cars… that were never available on Ford’s native soil.
Rob is a guest poster from righthanddrive.ca.