The Truth About Cars » ford 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, 01 Aug 2014 21:12:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 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 » ford escort http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com 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/ 80
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/ 74
Mulally: New Chinese Escort Could Come to America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/mulally-new-chinese-escort-could-come-to-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/mulally-new-chinese-escort-could-come-to-america/#comments Mon, 21 Apr 2014 16:30:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=805594 While Ford’s new compact Escort sedan was developed by Ford’s Aisa-Pacific R&D team specifically for China, Ford CEO Alan Mulally indicates that the company has more global plans for the car, including the possibility of selling it in the United States. Mulally told Automotive News that the Escort will likely go on sale in other […]

The post Mulally: New Chinese Escort Could Come to America appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
escort

While Ford’s new compact Escort sedan was developed by Ford’s Aisa-Pacific R&D team specifically for China, Ford CEO Alan Mulally indicates that the company has more global plans for the car, including the possibility of selling it in the United States. Mulally told Automotive News that the Escort will likely go on sale in other markets besides China. He said that while the company already has the Focus in the stateside C segment, the Escort could allow the company to attract consumers at a new price point in that segment.

Ford revealed the revived Escort on Sunday at the Beijing auto show. The nameplate has been dormant at the automaker since 2000. While it’s based on a Focus platform, it has more leg room in back, something Chinese consumers appreciate. Mulally told AN that it’s only a matter of time before American consumers will also get a chance to stretch their legs in the back of an Escort.

“We have a really solid small and medium-sized product line in the United States right now…“But I think over time this will be another enhanced version of the C-size. It’s just a matter of when. We’re going to be able to provide a C-sized vehicle with different price points.”

Mulally said that how the new Escort will spread to other countries demonstrates how the company’s One Ford strategy can take a vehicle developed by one of their regional R&D teams and customize it for specific markets while still saving money by making a global product.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

escort2 escor4t escort escort3 escor5t

The post Mulally: New Chinese Escort Could Come to America appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/mulally-new-chinese-escort-could-come-to-america/feed/ 48
Sedan Spied By TTAC Might Be The New Ford Escort http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/sedan-spied-by-ttac-might-be-the-new-ford-escort/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/sedan-spied-by-ttac-might-be-the-new-ford-escort/#comments Tue, 05 Nov 2013 05:27:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=642057 That mysterious sedan spied by Ronnie Schreiber might really be a Ford after all. Numerous sources have told TTAC that the sedan is indeed a Ford, based on certain tell-tale clues.  A TTAC reader from Brazil also sent us this note  “…it is the sedan version of the new Ford Ka, or Escort, as some […]

The post Sedan Spied By TTAC Might Be The New Ford Escort appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
550x441xIMG_20131101_101528-550x441.jpg.pagespeed.ic.WLz58K18wM

That mysterious sedan spied by Ronnie Schreiber might really be a Ford after all. Numerous sources have told TTAC that the sedan is indeed a Ford, based on certain tell-tale clues.  A TTAC reader from Brazil also sent us this note

 “…it is the sedan version of the new Ford Ka, or Escort, as some are saying it is going to be named.
 
The car will be powered by a 1.0 three cylinder engine. Similar to the 1.0 EcoBoost, but with no boost, or else, with no turbocharger, in order for it to be cheaper. This car will also be sold in India (as Figo), China and other emerging countries. Even Europe will receive it to replace the current Ka and work as a sort of Sandero from Ford. This sedan will have a nice trunk capacity (around 500 litres) and probably a stronger engine, the 1.5 that is currently used in the New Fiesta in Brazil.”

The post Sedan Spied By TTAC Might Be The New Ford Escort appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/sedan-spied-by-ttac-might-be-the-new-ford-escort/feed/ 73
How Does The Ford Escort Fit With The “One Ford” Policy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/how-does-the-ford-escort-fit-with-the-one-ford-policy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/how-does-the-ford-escort-fit-with-the-one-ford-policy/#comments Mon, 22 Apr 2013 18:14:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=485921 One of the biggest changes implemented by Ford in the post-bailout area is the “One Ford” policy, which calls for an end to regional specialty products. While this has led to Ford’s mainstream lineup moving towards the European Fords that enthusiasts previously longed for, it also means that vehicles like the rear-drive Falcon will get […]

The post How Does The Ford Escort Fit With The “One Ford” Policy appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

One of the biggest changes implemented by Ford in the post-bailout area is the “One Ford” policy, which calls for an end to regional specialty products. While this has led to Ford’s mainstream lineup moving towards the European Fords that enthusiasts previously longed for, it also means that vehicles like the rear-drive Falcon will get the axe.

In this context, its curious that Ford appears to be launching a C-segment car made just for China. The need to establish a foothold in China presents enough of a case for Ford to deviate from their global product mission, but it still raises our interest given that iconic products like the Mustang are being adapted – some may even say watered down – for global consumption.

In any case, it turns out there’s a bit of a spat between Ford Australia and Ford’s Asia-Pacific divisions, with some claiming that the Escort is in fact a “global” car. The Escort was ostensibly designed with the Chinese market in mind. The rear seat is spacious (as Chinese consumers prefer) and the car is a sedan, rather than a hatchback, but is positioned below the Focus despite also being a C-segment car.

The post How Does The Ford Escort Fit With The “One Ford” Policy appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/how-does-the-ford-escort-fit-with-the-one-ford-policy/feed/ 71
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
Autobiography: Family Carma http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/04/autobiography-family-carma/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/04/autobiography-family-carma/#comments Sun, 04 Apr 2010 16:54:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=351511 This garage holds 45 years of automotive memories. As does the house it’s attached to. I’ll spare you the memories and stories that are being shared, relived and dredged up as the Niedermeyer clan shares a get-together at my parents’ house in Towson. But let’s take a quick look at the cars that have lived […]

The post Autobiography: Family Carma appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

This garage holds 45 years of automotive memories. As does the house it’s attached to. I’ll spare you the memories and stories that are being shared, relived and dredged up as the Niedermeyer clan shares a get-together at my parents’ house in Towson. But let’s take a quick look at the cars that have lived here since 1965. Like families, it’s a mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly (as the current occupants make it all too clear). 

Since there’s no scanner in the house, regrettably I can’t share pictures of the actual cars, so these are all stand-ins.

The 1965 Dodge Coronet 440 eight-seat wagon replaced the 1962 Ford Fairlane in the most recent CC. By far, it holds the most memories for me, given that it was the first car I ever drove. One day when I was fifteen, my parents were gone for the day in my father’s car, so I just grabbed the keys, walked down to the garage, got in and backed it out into the driveway, like I had done almost every Saturday to wash it. But this time I just kept going, through the neighborhood, out to Charles street, and when I hit the Beltway, I turned into the exit and got on the busy freeway.

The only problem I had was that I had to fight a nervous shaking in my leg, as I got up to 65 or so. But it smoothed out after a couple of miles. Having spent many summers driving old tractors in the fields of Iowa, I was surprised at how dead and lacking in feedback/kickback the Dodge’s power steering was. Welcome to the reality of Mopar PS.

I was instantly addicted to driving, and you can read all about my exploits here and here. It inevitably resulted in a fender bender (not my fault), but that exposed my exploits and postponed my license for almost two years. The effect was that it extended my period of illicit driving, and my creativity in finding the cars to do it in.

The Dodge had the old polyspheric 318 V8, with 230 hp, and the Torqueflite. It was a real challenge to get it to burn even a hint of rubber. And as much as I like to buy into the myth of Mopars handling better than average, Mom’s Coronet handled like a pig. It under steered notoriously, plowing its way through life. It wasn’t the slightest bit fun to drive. I drove it purely out of necessity to feed my habit.

To the right of the Coronet, on my father’s side, lived a bright green 1965 Opel Kadett. It was a fairly short-term visitor, staying a mere three years. And its the only car of all of them that I never drove, the Opel having left the fold before I started my driving career.

It was a remarkably tiny and tinny little buzz bomb. Opel’s key competitor to the VW Beetle was a flyweight, weighing two hundred pounds less than a Beetle, or just some 1500 lbs. And it never let you forget it. The tops of the doors would show daylight at seventy or so, being sucked out by the negative pressure area at speed. But with a fairly rev-happy 993cc four that put out 40 hp, it could easily outrun the ubiquitous Beetles. This is something that my older brother proved to me in numerous stoplight drag races.

In every way, the Kadett was the polar opposite of the Dodge: it was hyper-direct in all its controls, and could be made to do all sorts of interesting maneuvers, with its balanced RWD chassis. It was more like wearing a car than driving it. And its hard ride  and noisiness were more akin to a toy or a sedan version of an Austin Healey Sprite.

A baby-shit brown stripper Dart like this one replaced the fragile Opel after a mere three years of my father’s commute and my brother’s exploits. It had the small 170 slant six, three-on-the-tree, and manual steering and brakes. It lived up to its reputation, and was a loyal servant for many years. More Darts are coming soon to CC, but let me just say this: if this car had come with a four-speed stick, and the steering had been just a tad quicker, it would have been quite an effective back-road bomber. With very little weight on the front (the bane of most older American cars), it handled surprisingly well, completely unlike the bigger Dodge wagon. The little six revved more than one would expect, but the gap between second and third was a black hole that the bigger 225 six would have dealt with better with its much more ample torque.

Mom’s Coronet was replaced by a 1973 Coronet wagon, my father having taken a serious turn towards Mopars after the previous Fords. This picture is of a ’72, but that’s all I could find; but the difference was minuscule (n0 fake wood on Moms’). I had already left home by then, but the first time I came home after it appeared and I took it for a drive, I was pleasantly surprised. It handled markedly better than the ’65, and the newer LA 318 seemed to pull as hard if not more so, despite the desmogging. But the handling was the biggest surprise; this one felt so much more composed, and even the steering now had a tad of feedback. Power disc brakes added to the overall impression of driving a much more modern car.

No, that’s not my family on horses. But this Zephyr is a pretty close dead-ringer for what replaced the Dart after ten year’s of use. The Dart was actually still in very decent shape then, without rust and and as solid and hard-running as ever. But my father finally broke down and admitted that he liked the A/C in Mom’s ’73 Coronet. Baltimore summers will do that, even to a cold blooded person like him. So the Zephyr, equipped with the 2.3 L four, four speed stick (on the floor) between actual bucket seats, and air conditioning replaced the Dart.

It was an interesting car, inasmuch as it (and its Fairmont twin) were the closest thing to a Volvo 240 ever built in America. The Fox platform was a remarkable piece of work, which we’ll examine closer soon, and with the four, stick, and manual steering it wasn’t exactly fast, but a very light and neutral handling car that felt much more European than the typical fare built by Detroit. We all though that the dorky factor was high, but that just came with the baggage of it being my father’s.

My father was now back to being a Ford man, and with the family nest quickly emptying, my Mother wanted something smaller. A 1981 or ’82 Escort wagon (not a woody) with the 1.6 and automatic was very much in tune with America’s new-found love for small cars during the second energy crisis. I’ll spare my full assessment on a coming CC, but let’s just say it won’t do much to rehabilitate my growing reputation hereabouts as a Ford hater. Like almost all small cars form Detroit, the Escort started out very flawed, and eventually the worst of the warts were sanded away and they turned into half-way decent but serviceable cars. Unfortunately, that wasn’t good enough, given the competition from Japan. ‘Nuff said for now.

My father did something totally out of character in 1985 or 1986. He actually called me up to get my recommendation for a new car, as long as it was a domestic. The answer was instantaneous: a Taurus. It was light years ahead anything else from Detroit, and these early versions with the Vulcan 3.0 and automatic were actually devoid of the notorious problems with the 3.8 and the later transaxles. It was a breakthrough car, and one could rightfully say it was the mold of which the whole Camcordia class has been cast from ever since. Quiet, smooth riding yet not a bad handler; for the first time that balance did not elude Detroit. He loved it and it gave him very good service. But he never called and asked me for advice again. Go figure.

Somehow, I was able to co-opt my father in the decision for Mom’s next car. Despite his rabid anti-import sentiment (he was still smarting from the fragile Opel and the crappy service he got at the utterly disinterested Buick dealer) I talked her into asserting herself and buying a Civic sedan; I’m not exactly sure which year, but one of these. And she fell utterly in love with it. It was bright red, and she called it her sports car. Without going into the unflattering details, let me just say that her innate ability to have a relationship with a car and the corresponding driving skills profoundly overshadowed those of my father. He wouldn’t like to hear it, but so it is. And he doesn’t read TTAC. Anyway, that Civic was one of the joys of her life, and she always looked forward to driving it. And it was utterly dead reliable.

By 1993, there would have been so many easy choices for my father with which to replace the Taurus. But for some  inexplicable reason, he now turned to the company I so wanted him to buy from in the sixties: GM. But he waited thirty years too late to buy the right Skylark. I couldn’t believe it when he proudly told me of his new Buick. Let’s just say it’s still in the garage, and the fact that the two of them have survived this long with each other is a minor miracle. He was always a driver who didn’t inspire confidence, and at the age of ninety, we all shudder to think he’s still at it. None of us have gotten in with him for years, unless it was absolutely essential. The truth hurts sometimes. Maybe the Buick is his good luck token.

One day a few years ago, my father took my mother’s Honda for a drive, and came back with a new Saturn Ion coupe. And she didn’t stop letting him hear about how unhappy she was about that for years. I’m sure he meant well, but…well, its probably better I just stop now. They’re old, and we’re here to celebrate the fact that they can both still (sort of) drive at all.

There will never again be any more new cars in this old garage. And despite some of the questionable choices, the cars got them through their very full lives. So I celebrate them all, and will miss them, even the Ion and the Buick. Possibly even most of all.

The post Autobiography: Family Carma appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/04/autobiography-family-carma/feed/ 49