The Truth About Cars » escort http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 05 Dec 2014 15:00:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » escort http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: A Rather Thirsty Escort? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/piston-slap-a-rather-thirsty-escort/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/piston-slap-a-rather-thirsty-escort/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:01:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=873833 TTAC Commentator Weltron writes: Hi Sajeev! The car I am writing about today is my winter beater, which is a 1999 Ford Escort SE sedan which says it has a tick over 155,000 miles. (Pictured above) The problem I’m having with it is it it getting dreadful gas mileage. My average tank is about 19 […]

The post Piston Slap: A Rather Thirsty Escort? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
20140618_104104

TTAC Commentator Weltron writes:

Hi Sajeev!

The car I am writing about today is my winter beater, which is a 1999 Ford Escort SE sedan which says it has a tick over 155,000 miles. (Pictured above) The problem I’m having with it is it it getting dreadful gas mileage. My average tank is about 19 miles to the gallon (in comparison that is what my twin turbo straight six Volvo gets around town). Over the winter I replaced both of the o2 sensors and got a marginal improvement (about .4 mpg).

And here’s the kicker: the dumb thing runs perfectly. No error codes or anything. Idles smooth and everything (well as far as Escort refinement goes). When I go on the highway (which is fairly often) I can see upward of 21… If I’m lucky.

Help please! I’m debating on whether to sell it or not due to this gas mileage problem for something bigger (thinking an Oldsmobile Eighty Eight/LSS or if I’m feeling lucky … an Aurora if I do end up replacing the Escort.) Thank you in advance for your help.

P.S. Here’s a list of what has been replaced/cleaned since the fall.

Mass air flow sensor cleaned
New air filter
New spark plugs/ plug wires
New o2 sensors (both upstream and downstream)
New muffler
New tires

Sajeev answers:

It’s funny how well-maintained vehicles occasionally have an obvious problem that’s impossible to diagnose.  But going to the beautiful, enjoyable yet expensive and complicated Northstar powered Oldsmobile is the wrong move!

You’ve done the basics, kudos to you.  That makes our job easier. Considering your Volvo drives in the same manner (presumably) there’s certainly a minor problem outside of driver error. And I wouldn’t be so adamant if it didn’t happen to me:

Try changing the fuel filter first, then get new/reconditioned fuel injectors.

That’s it.  I know you’ve slooooowly been losing power and efficiency.  Perhaps you notice a mysterious fuel smell?  The injectors are no longer turning on/shutting off correctly. And when you get ‘em installed, ZOMG SON, note the instant acceleration improvement and the later MPG lift.

So go ahead and keep it, even if the cylinder head might be a problem in the future.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

The post Piston Slap: A Rather Thirsty Escort? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/piston-slap-a-rather-thirsty-escort/feed/ 86
Junkyard Find: 1988 Ford Escort GT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1988-ford-escort-gt-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1988-ford-escort-gt-2/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872602 Most of the Escort GTs you see these days are the Mazda-based cars that came out starting in the 1991 model year. The first-gen North American Escort, loosely based on its European counterpart, was built from 1981 through 1990, and examples are becoming very rare in wrecking yards. We saw this first-half-of-1988 Escort GT last […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1988 Ford Escort GT appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
04 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMost of the Escort GTs you see these days are the Mazda-based cars that came out starting in the 1991 model year. The first-gen North American Escort, loosely based on its European counterpart, was built from 1981 through 1990, and examples are becoming very rare in wrecking yards. We saw this first-half-of-1988 Escort GT last month, and now I’ve found this “1988.5” model in a Southern California yard.
02 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou could get a 5.0 “HO” V8 in the Mustang and Continental Mark VII, and so Ford just had to label the 1.9 CVH engine as an HO as well. 110 horsepower out of this engine, which was two more than the ’88 Honda Civic Si had.
09 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI am experiencing an 80s flashback, looking at these tape graphics. Makes me want to loot an S&L.
10 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot much left of the interior. This might have been an interior-parts donor for a nicer GT.
14 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe rear wing, which did a fine job of trapping a couple of decades’ worth of dirt, won’t be going to The Crusher with the rest of the car.

01 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 1988 Ford Escort GT appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1988-ford-escort-gt-2/feed/ 81
2015 Ford Escort Goes Sunbathing Months Before Showroom Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-ford-escort-goes-sunbathing-months-before-showroom-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-ford-escort-goes-sunbathing-months-before-showroom-debut/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=860817 The last time the Chinese-market Ford Escort was seen, it had made its world debut during the 2014 Beijing Auto Show. Over the weekend, however, new official photos had surfaced. CarNewsChina reports the Escort, originally due in showrooms Q4 2014, will instead arrive in January 2015. The new compact will retail between ¥90,000 and ¥120,000 […]

The post 2015 Ford Escort Goes Sunbathing Months Before Showroom Debut appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
ford-escort-china-1

The last time the Chinese-market Ford Escort was seen, it had made its world debut during the 2014 Beijing Auto Show. Over the weekend, however, new official photos had surfaced.

CarNewsChina reports the Escort, originally due in showrooms Q4 2014, will instead arrive in January 2015. The new compact will retail between ¥90,000 and ¥120,000 ($14,510 – $19,347 USD), and will come with a 1.5-liter I4 driving 110 horsepower and 81 ft-lb of torque to the front through either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic.

The Escort is underpinned by the current China-made Focus Classic, which in turn is based upon the second-gen Focus riding on the C1 platform. It will replace the Focus Classic, and slot under the current third-gen Focus.

ford-escort-china-1 ford-escort-china-2 ford-escort-china-3

The post 2015 Ford Escort Goes Sunbathing Months Before Showroom Debut appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-ford-escort-goes-sunbathing-months-before-showroom-debut/feed/ 17
Junkyard Find: 1988 Ford Escort GT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1988-ford-escort-gt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1988-ford-escort-gt/#comments Wed, 18 Jun 2014 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=844554 Ford’s first American-built front-wheel-drive compact car was so much better than the miserable Pinto it replaced that it sold in huge quantities. The first-generation GT wasn’t especially quick, but it looked cool (by 1980s standards) and probably swiped a few sales away from the Civic Si and Volkswagen GTI. Nearly all of the pre-Mazda Escort […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1988 Ford Escort GT appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
13 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFord’s first American-built front-wheel-drive compact car was so much better than the miserable Pinto it replaced that it sold in huge quantities. The first-generation GT wasn’t especially quick, but it looked cool (by 1980s standards) and probably swiped a few sales away from the Civic Si and Volkswagen GTI. Nearly all of the pre-Mazda Escort GTs wore out, depreciated to oblivion, and got crushed during the 1990s, but I still see the occasional example in wrecking yards these days. Here’s one that I spotted in Northern California in December.
19 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt looks much like a contemporary Fox Mustang, which was a pretty quick car by the last 1980s.
10 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 1.9 liter engine made 108 horsepower, which wasn’t bad in 1988.


It fits right in with the Thunderbird Turbo Coupe and Taurus.


Who wouldn’t want a “carefully selected” interior?
07 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin
There must be a story behind this afterthought-looking warning sticker on the HVAC controls.

01 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 1988 Ford Escort GT appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1988-ford-escort-gt/feed/ 75
New or Used? : This Musician Wants An Escort (Wagon) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-or-used-this-musician-wants-an-escort-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-or-used-this-musician-wants-an-escort-wagon/#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 11:30:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=806738 I’m a working musician from NYC. I have a conundrum. Since 1998 I’ve owned a 1989 BMW E30 ‘vert, which has served me well as a touring artist — it just hit 160k, most of those miles mine. However, all those miles have come at a price, between 40k timing belt changes and other occasional […]

The post New or Used? : This Musician Wants An Escort (Wagon) appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Escort

I’m a working musician from NYC. I have a conundrum.

Since 1998 I’ve owned a 1989 BMW E30 ‘vert, which has served me well as a touring artist — it just hit 160k, most of those miles mine. However, all those miles have come at a price, between 40k timing belt changes and other occasional maintenance items, I wind up putting roughly $1500 into it every two to four years.

But I’ve always loved it, and it never let me down, until recently.

It’s hit that point where everything is wearing out at the same time – seat backs (not easy or cheap to replace correctly), seatbelts, shocks, minor trunk rust, fuel filler neck, and it needs new tires and rotors–though it is still mostly intact and in lovely condition mechanically and otherwise and drives great.

I’ve been worried about having my DD be a 26-year-old car without airbags that could theoretically be pummeled by a lowly Civic or equivalent, and while it still kicks ass on B-roads, every time I drive it on interstates I feel utterly vulnerable in a way I never used to.(Other cars have gotten so heavy and big!)

But right now I simply need a car, and the BMW is safely garaged as it’s not roadworthy for the aforementioned reasons. I live paycheck to paycheck. So I need to make the best use of what little money I have to remedy the situation.

The way I see it, I have three options:

1) Spend $2k on repairing my baby and DD it, Irv Gordon-style, till I or it crumble

2) Take a neighbor’s 1998 Escort wagon that I’ve been offered for free–it is rusty and a bit long in the tooth but more or less reliable, (but again, I’m a little worried about its safety compared to new cars, even though it has airbags and is engineered for the 1997 side impact protection regs)–and repair it as a DD (needs a new muffler and other small repairs-worried it might need a head gasket as those engines blow ‘em, though it seems fine now), and then insure the E30 through Hagerty and restore it slowly as a project.

3) Try to find another used car for around the same $2k that is a simple appliance and much much safer than either the Escort or my E30, and insure the E30 through Hagerty. I could also sell the E30, but I don’t feel ethical selling it in its current condition…plus it’s got many memories, and feels more like an heirloom at this point…sigh…)

I do love driving that darn thing, and it’s never really let me down. But I don’t know what the best use of my limited money is here, and if I’m just being paranoid about using my E30 or the Escort as a DD. Or even if I can get any car for $2k that isn’t a garbage heap. (I’m also 6’2″, so that too is a consideration.)

Thoughts? Recommendations?

Steve Says:

Start by getting the Escort looked at by an independent mechanic. If it’s worth keeping for a while, then it’s time for you to have one less heirloom in your life. 

Yes, I loved those old E30s too. I remember one road trip where I was stoned out of my gourd, and my best friend just happened to be driving a forest green 1991 BMW 318i convertible through California’s Highway 1. We eventually made our way east to Reno where we blew our remaining cash on blackjack and cheap booze.

It was money well spent, as was your BMW. But once the party was over, we knew it was time to move on.

So move on donate your car to an enthusiast who has more money to deal with all the problems you mentioned. If all you have is surface rust, and that BMW is structurally sound, it may be worth selling for around $2000.  Just make sure you disclose everything to the buyer first. You want a buyer who will pay a premium for honesty, and those folks are out there. 

Escorts of this generation do have one notable weakness, and that is valve seat failure.  They also tend to like mid-grade fuel. Even the non-Zetec engine, which is the version your friend owns. My wife and I had a 1997 Ford Escort LX for four years during my early years in the auction business, and other than having to put higher octane fuel to avoid pinging issues, the Escort was completely trouble free. It also had a decent safety record for that time.

Click here to view the embedded video.

 (<— nice video)

I only sold it because we were expecting a second kid. Even today my wife prefers to drive compact vehicles like that Escort.

So what would I do?  I would sell the BMW so long as the frame isn’t rusted out, and bum rides for a short while. I would then get the Escort inspected and have the repair costs assessed before committing to it. If it doesn’t work out, you’re only out $100.

Finally, if the Escort is worth more dead than alive, I would opt for a similar, older, unpopular vehicle that has cosmetic issues, but has been mechanically well kept. You’re a musician… so aim for something with lots of records (bad, bad pun… I know) and get the vehicle independently inspected before you buy it.

Save up. Weigh your options. Don’t be afraid to say no to both vehicles if it comes down to it.

One more thing. Nobody knows how to drive a stick anymore. I now have five of them at my lot, and a sixth at a nearby auction. So if you’re still in the market for one, let me know. Please!

Steve can always be contacted directly at steve.lang@thetruthaboutcars.com . 

 

 

The post New or Used? : This Musician Wants An Escort (Wagon) appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-or-used-this-musician-wants-an-escort-wagon/feed/ 28
Beijing 2014: Production-Ready Ford Escort To Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/beijing-2014-production-ready-ford-escort-to-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/beijing-2014-production-ready-ford-escort-to-debut/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 10:30:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=804042 After several years of dormancy, Ford revived the Escort name for a concept sedan at last year’s Shanghai Motor Show. That concept is now production-ready, and will make its debut this weekend at the 2014 Beijing Motor Show. Autoblog reports the Escort will be made locally in China through a joint venture, and may sport […]

The post Beijing 2014: Production-Ready Ford Escort To Debut appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
000-ford-escort-concept-shanghai

After several years of dormancy, Ford revived the Escort name for a concept sedan at last year’s Shanghai Motor Show. That concept is now production-ready, and will make its debut this weekend at the 2014 Beijing Motor Show.

Autoblog reports the Escort will be made locally in China through a joint venture, and may sport either a three- or four-cylinder powerplant driving the front wheels.

As for other global markets, an Escort was spotted in Europe earlier this month undergoing testing, but nothing more has come of it.

002-ford-escort-concept-shanghai 000-ford-escort-concept-shanghai 001-ford-escort-concept-shanghai 003-ford-escort-concept-shanghai 004-ford-escort-concept-shanghai

The post Beijing 2014: Production-Ready Ford Escort To Debut appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/beijing-2014-production-ready-ford-escort-to-debut/feed/ 63
Piston Slap: Escort Wagon Spelunking? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/piston-slap-escort-wagon-spelunking/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/piston-slap-escort-wagon-spelunking/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 12:46:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=761673 TTAC Commentator Modestholdings writes: Best from the West, young man, The Boss has a pretty nice ’94 Escort LX wagon sourced by yours truly, and it happens to have found the sweet spot betwixt my picking it and her loving it. A grand for this one-owner handshaker and she’s managed to put about 23K on […]

The post Piston Slap: Escort Wagon Spelunking? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

TTAC Commentator Modestholdings writes:

Best from the West, young man,

The Boss has a pretty nice ’94 Escort LX wagon sourced by yours truly, and it happens to have found the sweet spot betwixt my picking it and her loving it. A grand for this one-owner handshaker and she’s managed to put about 23K on it in the last year — points of interest are far and few between here in Wyoming.

At 140,000 I figured it would be good prophylaxis to go ahead and do that timing belt (1.9 four-potter) after what was eventually determined to be the tensioner began yapping.

New clutch at buy, pretty new shoes and a windshield are our investments beyond regular upkeep. (When it rains, it hails.) Some forum s̶k̶u̶l̶d̶u̶g̶g̶e̶r̶y̶ ̶ spelunking has turned up the possibility of new valve seats as the next major preventative maintenance. My question for you, the B&B, et al, is whether that makes sense, or drive it until it pops (er, drops) and then plop a junkyard mill in? The current motivator is pretty tight for being good to vote and everything, and I’d like to keep the Green Machine rolling at least until she’s old enough to buy me beer.

Sajeev answers:

Yes, new valve seats could be in your future.  Or her future.  Or the Escort’s future.  Whatever…

The questions presented here are when and how to replace it: wait until it drops and sell the Escort?  Wait and replace with a junkyard motor?  Replace the valve seats now, either by yourself (if you are that awesome) or with a rebuilt head swap?

As I get earn more gray hair on my dome and less flexibility in my joints in cold weather, my answer goes to the path of least resistance:  the somewhat stress free and kinda cheap path.  So don’t wait for the entire motor to grenade, as that (probably) ruins both the cylinder head and the block.  Junkyard motors are 3-4 times more than a rebuilt head, and do you believe the valve “fix” was applied to whatever you buy? Or will it fail again, probably after the junkyard warranty expires?

Ignorance isn’t bliss, nor is an in-n-out motor swap.  Time to find the answer in the shades of gray.

The smarter move is a few hundred spent at a place like this, or something similar on eBay. In the 1.9L Escort’s case, a rebuilt cylinder head fixes the bad component and a fresh set of gaskets/fluids with someone smart enough to swap it all around is needed.  And if you must pay for the labor, it’s still a smarter long-term position than replacing the entire motor.

A possible final question: is it stupid to want to fix the problem before it actually is a problem?

When the problem can hurt the entire engine and replacement engines may be no better, the answer is absolutely yes.

Off to you, Best and Brightest.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

The post Piston Slap: Escort Wagon Spelunking? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/piston-slap-escort-wagon-spelunking/feed/ 41
Vellum Venom: Uwe Bahnsen, Car Designer, RIP http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/vellum-venom-uwe-bahnsen-car-designer-rip/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/vellum-venom-uwe-bahnsen-car-designer-rip/#comments Thu, 08 Aug 2013 03:51:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=498589 Never forget: people make all the difference.  This often overlooked fact in the glamorous world of automotive styling rings true for the life of Mr. Uwe Bahnsen. I froze in my tracks when I heard of his passing on Car Design News. His work at Ford and with the Industrial Design community influenced me, and […]

The post Vellum Venom: Uwe Bahnsen, Car Designer, RIP appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
photo

Never forget: people make all the difference.  This often overlooked fact in the glamorous world of automotive styling rings true for the life of Mr. Uwe Bahnsen. I froze in my tracks when I heard of his passing on Car Design News. His work at Ford and with the Industrial Design community influenced me, and every American who loved cars in the 1980s.

How ironic that Mr. Bahnsen’s passing was the week TTAC’s own Ford Sierra passed its citizenship test in Texas: so here’s a great Germanic-Texas Beer for you, Mr. Bahnsen.

Every car is designed by a team–not a person—but the kind words spoken about Uwe’s life say he was no ordinary designer.  And he was a good man: so instead of paraphrasing Wikipedia and the great work by Car Design News, let’s see what he did for us.

Bahnsen’s work with the “bathtub” Ford Taunus P3 and second generation Escort/Capri are impressive alone.  Especially the P3, a progressive–if not radical–design for the early 1960s.  But what’s the Super Bowl of a car designer’s career?  Being the VP of Design, making a paradigm-shifting sedan that sells well around the world. A vehicle that lives long enough to go from radical to mainstream over the course of a decade.

That work is the 1982 Ford Sierra. Unlike more exotic brands (Audi 100 and beyond) that went “Aero” thanks to pricey Italian design and/or expensive engineering for limited production, the Sierra was wholly affordable and completely common. A people’s car like the Model T and VW Beetle…just not to that famous of an extent.

Sierra meets the big fan…

But you catch my drift. Us Yanks only know the Sierra in Cosworth/Merkur drag, so perhaps the firsthand experience of Bahnsen’s hard work as told by Mr. John Topley says it best:

“It’s difficult for me to convey just how radical the Sierra was when it was launched. This was the car that replaced twenty years of the Ford Cortina, a favourite with both fleet and family buyers in Britain. By 1982 the Cortina was looking pretty tired. It was still a best seller but by all accounts it wasn’t a great drive and the technology was pretty agricultural. In spite of which, Britain was still buying masses of them.

By contrast, the new Sierra looked like nothing else around, aside from the even more radical Audi 100 which came out at the same time. I think the Sierra was more important though because it was a mass market rather than executive car.”

Moments in time like these are rare, how often does a design change the way a person moves?  On multiple continents, for over a decade?  This moment elevated the car design game thanks in part to Ford’s Aerospace division, the beginnings of finite element analysis, and usage of new technologies that made the Sierra’s wraparound bumpers and ergonomic dashboards so cutting-edge. It’s a most fertile ground for a designer.

While we (probably) live in the Golden Age of technology, Uwe Bahnsen’s world experienced a far more dramatic change from far less technology. Aside from the aforementioned Audi, most carmakers embraced this technology/design philosophy years later. Boo to them: Uwe and his team were on the cusp of something special…the future!

Uwe Bahnsen made the most of this opportunity, take it from the guy that owns one of his creations.  To this day, the original Ford Sierra looks more futuristic than a Toyota Prius, providing an ownership experience that satisfies the senses like a far more expensive BMW. This doesn’t happen often, especially in America.

More to the point, the Sierra is an ergonomic and aesthetic treat. I’d love to ask Mr. Bahnsen hundreds of questions about his life, but the fact remains: his contribution to the Automobile shall never be forgotten.

Thank you all for reading, I hope you have a lovely week.

 

The post Vellum Venom: Uwe Bahnsen, Car Designer, RIP appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/vellum-venom-uwe-bahnsen-car-designer-rip/feed/ 23
The Ford XR3, Or Why My Wife Hated My Brother’s Ex http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/the-ford-xr3-or-why-my-wife-hated-my-brothers-ex/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/the-ford-xr3-or-why-my-wife-hated-my-brothers-ex/#comments Sun, 24 Mar 2013 18:34:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=482177 The tail-end of the last century. I was living in Brasilia. In spite of the stifling bureaucratic nature of the city, officious, uninspired architecture and desolate, nose-bleeding, dry weather, I was very happy. Because of a car. Having recently moved to Brazil’s capital, my wife at the time realized she had to overcome her fears […]

The post The Ford XR3, Or Why My Wife Hated My Brother’s Ex appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

The tail-end of the last century. I was living in Brasilia. In spite of the stifling bureaucratic nature of the city, officious, uninspired architecture and desolate, nose-bleeding, dry weather, I was very happy. Because of a car.

Having recently moved to Brazil’s capital, my wife at the time realized she had to overcome her fears and start driving again. A kind of Brazilian LA, Brasilia is known as the city with no corners and a car is of the essence there. After looking around we found the answer much closer to home: My brother’s 8 year-old Ford Escort. This was not just an old Ford, it was an XR3! I was 16 when my Dad bought it. It was simply the coolest car in Brazil. Now, it was mine.

It was a deep, rich red that Brazilians call Bordeaux, I still saw it with teenage eyes. I was in love again. Unlike almost all of his other cars, my brother had managed not to destroy it completely. The shell was perfect and mechanically it was fine. Except for that weird noise in the gearbox. Turns out my brother had been beach-bugging the poor Escort.

Inside and out the car was gorgeous. Large, comfortable seats, not too hard or soft with some aggressive side bolstering. A gorgeous small steering wheel with perforated leather at the points where you grabbed it. All kinds of gauges, idiot lights in profusion. Some called it the Christmas tree car for the propensity of those lights to light up without rhyme or reason.

After testing it out for a while and appraising it healthy, when vacation came, I decided to travel in the Escort in spite of my wife’s protestations. We had 30 days ahead of us and many miles.

We started off as the sun came down. The first half of that stretch is mostly straights and flat. I took advantage of the moonroof to watch the sky, the stars and that beautiful full moon. I also took advantage of my wife dozing off. I pushed the car. Kept it at 150km/h (94mph), sometimes more, other times less. Lost in my bliss, I didn’t see the Federal Highway Police Station until it was too late. I was still going at 140km/h (87mph) when I blew by. Sure enough, their lights were spinning, there was an officer on the side of the road. I could see the radar gun tripod. I go in reverse back to the station and the cop is grinning and asks me if I knew how fast I was going.

I said, “No officer.” He comes back, “you were going almost 140km/h”. I have no answer for that. I apologize. My wife, wakened by my hard braking is looking at me and asking me what’s going on with her blue gaze. I see the blue almost disappear as she hears the cop inviting me into the station for a “cafezinho”. No sir, I’m fine, let me sign the ticket and we’ll be on our away. He insists that I accept the coffee. I know this game. He’s not being polite, but rather asking for a kickback. The game goes on for a little more and I win. He lets me sign the ticket and my wife tries to stay awake and keep an eye on me. The monotony of the road gets the best of her. I’m free to explore the car’s limits yet again.

The nearer we get to our erstwhile home, the trickier the road. There are mountains and curves. The meaty tires and almost 90 horses permit lots of fun. I’m relishing it.

After a couple of days in Belo Horizonte, we head out to the Escarpas do Lago Resort on man-made Furnas Lake. Slightly under 300 km (186 mi.) away, we get there on state road MG-050. 2 lanes, sometimes an extra passing lane. Much narrower, much more traffic, trucks and little escape room. No incident at all.

After a week, we get back on the same road. To Divinopolis now, to see her folks. 170 km that should give us no trouble. But this time there was. Maybe the high speeds and long distances were getting to the car. All I know is that it starts to overheat. I notice the needle of the temp gauge reaching ever so slowly for the red zone. Despite the cold day (we are in the middle of winter), I turn on the AC. It helps, but not much. I soon pull into a gas station and buy several 1L water bottles. I give it to the my panting XR3. The temp falls. Then it rises again. Stop on the side of the road and wait a while. Pop the hood, pour some more water. Drive off again. After a while, the process starts again. Once, twice, we stop at least 4 or 5 times. Somehow, the car manages to make it.

The next day, we drop off the car at the mechanic. After a couple of days, he calls back and says he’s fixed the problem. Seems to have been a small leak under the car. Another couple of days and it’s time for the short trek to Belo Horizonte, my hometown. A city of 2 million, cars move slowly, up and down hills you wouldn’t believe.

After about a week, the last leg of our trip. Tiradentes. We get there using wider federal and narrower state roads. A historical hamlet, this city has managed to keep its charming colonial time architecture largely intact. It is home to fine hotels, inns and B&Bs, and wonderful restaurants that, mostly, specialize in the local hearty cuisine known as comida mineira. Lots of pork, beans, sausages. This leg adds another 222 km (138 mi.) to the Escort. No incident. Except for the speed bump.

As we approach the tiny town, my wife screams, calling attention to the mighty speed bump ahead. I brake hard. Out of the corner of my eye I see my wife hurtling forward. She smacks her head against the windshield, though the seat belt minimizes the damage. Her seat had come off its tracks. Tears wet her lovely baby blues.

On the trip back to Belo Horizonte, for a day or 2, before the long road back to Brasilia, she says she doesn’t want the car anymore. It’s old, she says, it’s not safe. I temporize, honey, we’ll just fix the seat and get back to Brasilia, the car can handle it. Her scowl, punctuated now by some ice in her blue gaze and seeing how she was struggling to keep her seat in place make me give up. Now, it’s my time to lose. In Belo Horizonte, I take the car on its last trip with me. The oh so short drive to a  friend’s shop where it would be sold on consignment.

We took the bus back to Brasilia. During the long, 12 hour trip, I had ample time to review our decision. I knew it was the right thing to do at the time, but even then I had a little voice in my head telling me to hold onto the car. Sometimes, I can still hear that voice.

The post The Ford XR3, Or Why My Wife Hated My Brother’s Ex appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/the-ford-xr3-or-why-my-wife-hated-my-brothers-ex/feed/ 66
Junkyard Find: 1990 Ford Escort Pony http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/junkyard-find-1990-ford-escort-pony/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/junkyard-find-1990-ford-escort-pony/#comments Mon, 30 Apr 2012 13:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=442021 In 1990, budget-conscious car shoppers who wanted to buy American-built (if not American-designed) could pick up a Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon America for $6,995, a Pontiac Sunbird coupe for $7,858, or a Ford Escort Pony for $7,423. The Escort had penal-colony-grade amenities and was on the final model year of a very elderly platform (though not […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1990 Ford Escort Pony appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
In 1990, budget-conscious car shoppers who wanted to buy American-built (if not American-designed) could pick up a Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon America for $6,995, a Pontiac Sunbird coupe for $7,858, or a Ford Escort Pony for $7,423. The Escort had penal-colony-grade amenities and was on the final model year of a very elderly platform (though not as outdated as the Omnirizon), but its simplicity and gas-sipping ways made it a fairly good seller, especially after things got crazy in Kuwait.
The 1981-90 North American Escort (based on— but nowhere near identical to— its European namesake) was the replacement for the Pinto and was very successful in that role (cue hate mail from the Pinto Jihad). By 1990, even the most diehard blue-oval zealots had to admit that the dated-looking Escort reminded them of Jimmy Carter and Live At Budokan.
But so what? Most of the maddening build-quality bugs had been worked out of the not-exactly-known-for-reliability Escort by 1990, and this 1.9 liter four was good for 40+ MPG on the highway. Power steering? Air conditioning? Who needs that stuff?
I’ve never heard of a “Pony Sport,” and the very idea of such a thing seems so implausible— even by the standards of Detroit marketing gurus— that I must assume that Manny, Moe, and/or Jack provided these decals.
Ford was still using 5-digit odometers in 1990, which suggests either a lack of confidence in the Escort’s ability to hit 100 grand or a lifetime supply of 5-digit odos purchased in 1978. Or both. Note the simple two-gauge instrument panel. What else do you need?
Back to the ’90 Escort Pony’s $7,423 MSRP: In 1990, car shoppers could get a base Honda Civic hatchback for $6,635, a Nissan Sentra two-door for $7,299, a Mazda 323 hatchback for $6,599, a Geo Metro XFi for $5,995, a Toyota Tercel EZ for $6,488, or a Subaru Justy DL for $6,295. Masochistic car shoppers could opt for the $5,499 Hyundai Excel. Of course, rebates and discounts made the real-world price of the Ford was much more competitive with the imports, but the Civic and 323 sure looked like good deals.

15 - 1990 Ford Escort Pony Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 01 - 1990 Ford Escort Pony Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 02 - 1990 Ford Escort Pony Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 03 - 1990 Ford Escort Pony Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 04 - 1990 Ford Escort Pony Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 05 - 1990 Ford Escort Pony Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 06 - 1990 Ford Escort Pony Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07 - 1990 Ford Escort Pony Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 08 - 1990 Ford Escort Pony Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 09 - 1990 Ford Escort Pony Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 10 - 1990 Ford Escort Pony Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 11 - 1990 Ford Escort Pony Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 12 - 1990 Ford Escort Pony Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 13 - 1990 Ford Escort Pony Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 14 - 1990 Ford Escort Pony Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 09-1990-Ford-Escort-Pony-Down-On-the-Junkyard-Pictures-courtesy-of-Phil-Murilee-Martin-Greden-thumb Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

The post Junkyard Find: 1990 Ford Escort Pony appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/junkyard-find-1990-ford-escort-pony/feed/ 38
Junkyard Find: 1992 Ford Escort GT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1992-ford-escort-gt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1992-ford-escort-gt/#comments Wed, 21 Mar 2012 13:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=435747 The early-90s Escort GT was a decently fast car for its day, but Escorts were always such disposable cars that you seldom see any of these semi-goofy-looking GTs these days, on the street or in the junkyard. Here’s an example that I found in a Denver self-service yard last week. Weighing just 2,458 pounds and […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1992 Ford Escort GT appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
The early-90s Escort GT was a decently fast car for its day, but Escorts were always such disposable cars that you seldom see any of these semi-goofy-looking GTs these days, on the street or in the junkyard. Here’s an example that I found in a Denver self-service yard last week.
Weighing just 2,458 pounds and equipped with 127 horsepower under the hood, the Escort GT wasn’t quite as quick as the Nissan Sentra SE-R or Honda Civic Si. However, the Civic Si cost $11,900, the SE-R cost $11,850, and the Escort GT cost… $11,871? Huh?
OK, so the Escort GT wasn’t a great deal compared to the Japanese competition. Still, it’s sad to think that almost all of them are gone.

19 - 1992 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 01 - 1992 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 02 - 1992 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 03 - 1992 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 04 - 1992 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 05 - 1992 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 06 - 1992 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07 - 1992 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 08 - 1992 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 09 - 1992 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 10 - 1992 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 11 - 1992 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 12 - 1992 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 13 - 1992 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 14 - 1992 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 15 - 1992 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 16 - 1992 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 17 - 1992 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 18 - 1992 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden escort Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

The post Junkyard Find: 1992 Ford Escort GT appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1992-ford-escort-gt/feed/ 40
Curbside Classic Outtake: Be-Spoilered FoMoCos In Triplicate http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/curbside-classic-outtake-be-spoilered-fomocos-in-triplicate/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/curbside-classic-outtake-be-spoilered-fomocos-in-triplicate/#comments Thu, 21 Jan 2010 23:29:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=342621 I’ve just returned from one of the most fruitful CC hunting trips ever; nabbed some awesome vintage finds. But I’m always scanning the road for anything of interest, increasing the likelihood that I’ll eventually rear-end someone. Would anyone else find interest in these three cars parked by the U of O? But repeated patterns like […]

The post Curbside Classic Outtake: Be-Spoilered FoMoCos In Triplicate appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

I’ve just returned from one of the most fruitful CC hunting trips ever; nabbed some awesome vintage finds. But I’m always scanning the road for anything of interest, increasing the likelihood that I’ll eventually rear-end someone. Would anyone else find interest in these three cars parked by the U of O? But repeated patterns like this somehow grab me: same maker, similar vintage, all of them spoiled. Am I losing it? My wife wants to know, because she has her doubts.

The post Curbside Classic Outtake: Be-Spoilered FoMoCos In Triplicate appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/curbside-classic-outtake-be-spoilered-fomocos-in-triplicate/feed/ 42