As I told you, Ford of Brasil’s version of the American Maverick lived miserably in the market. War against GMB was lost in the upper mid-size passenger car segment. Even Ford’s smaller, but much more modern-looking 1978 Corcel II played a part in the Maverick’s poor sales numbers, and the car was dropped in 1979. Ford even considered using the same long-wheelbase 4-door Maverick platform wearing an all-new, Euro-flavored body design, but production costs, and the second oil-embargo shelved those plans.
So what to do? Build an upscale version of the successful Corcel II. Codenamed Project Omega, this Maverick replacement was to use as many Corcel II parts as possible to reduce development and production costs. They took the basic “fastback” Corcel II body, designed a new roof to create a notchback profile, added a 4-door version, and gave it a more upscale-looking front end design, as well as aluminum wheels and revised taillamps. Inside a new dashboard with full instrumentation, upscale upholstery, power windows and door locks, among other accessories, were included.
In 1981, the Ford Del Rey was launched. Mechanically it was the same as the Corcel II. Same 2,44 m wheelbase, same 1.6-liter OHV engine, same 4 or 5-speed manuals. Two and 4-door sedan models were available, both as Ouro (gold), or decontented “base” models, the latter popularly referred to as Prata (silver).
The Ford Del Rey gave a new lease of life to the Corcel line. The public was impressed by its level of equipment, and sales were good, if not in scaring volumes. One year later GM launched the incredibly successful Monza and Volkswagen expanded its portfolio with the Santana.