By on November 25, 2019

1986 Ford Escort in California junkyard, RH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsI try to mix up these Junkyard Finds so that you won’t see five 1990s Oldsmobiles in five consecutive weeks. This week, after a 1990s Volvo and a 1990s Honda and a 1970s Plymouth, it seemed time for a really old car or maybe something from 2000s Detroit.

Then I remembered that Sajeev has been complaining about insufficient recognition from other writers of his weird love for Ford products of the 1960s-1990s, so I opted to open the floodgates for his bitter tears with the nicest fleet-grade mid-1980s Escort I’ve ever seen in a junkyard.

Since Sajeev is the only TTAC writer who has been writing for the site longer than I have (he started in 2006, I started in 2010), I should show him some respect for his love of so-called classic Dearborn iron. Instead, I torment him with text messages from junkyards (written entirely in the dialect known as Randomly Punctuated Craigslistese), including photographs of interesting Fords, Lincolns, Mercuries, and Merkurs.

1986 Ford Escort in California junkyard, automatic gearshift - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsI would say that this car is a true stripper, a check-no-boxes zero-option miserybox, but it does have the optional automatic transmission instead of the cheaper four-speed manual transmission. My guess is that the government agency, utility, or rental-car company that bought it new had a slushbox requirement for its vehicles.

1986 Ford Escort in California junkyard, side mirror block-off plate - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsDo you prefer to drive with a passenger-side mirror? Too bad! That costs extra.

1986 Ford Escort in California junkyard, HVAC controls - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsAir conditioning? What are you, made of ice cream? Open the windows!

Although most cheapskate-grade subcompacts get beaten to death and crushed before about age ten, this Escort stayed amazingly well-preserved for better than three decades. Look at the perfect seat fabric, the uncracked dash.

1986 Ford Escort in California junkyard, speedometer - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWith a five-digit odometer, we’ll never know the actual mileage total. I’m willing to say that 65,010 miles is correct, because nobody could keep a car looking this clean for 165,010 or 265,010 miles.

1986 Ford Escort in California junkyard, engine - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe very cheapest Escort for the 1986 model year was the Pony 3-door hatchback, and I just shot a horrifyingly hantaviral example of the breed (complete with liquid rat poop flowing over the speedometer face) in Colorado. The L 3-door hatchback was the second-cheapest Escort that year, starting at $6,327 versus the Pony’s $6,052 price tag (that’s $14,856 against $14,210 in 2019 dollars). Both cars have a 1.9-liter four rated at 86 horsepower, though a 52-horse diesel could be had (the Escort GT got a 108 hp version of the 1.9).

1986 Ford Escort in California junkyard, pink ribbon antenna ornament - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsIt goes to The Crusher with an anti-breast-cancer pink-ribbon ornament on the antenna. Why there’s an antenna on a car that didn’t come with a radio, I can’t say. If you want a car with music, sing while you drive!

The world’s best-selling car in 1986 (though the European version wasn’t very similar).

If you like these Junkyard Finds, you can reach links to 1,800+ more at the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

66 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1986 Ford Escort L...”


  • avatar
    jack4x

    OK, that phone number in the screenshots brought me a chuckle, anyone else?

    Miiiiiiiike Joooooooooooones

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Yeah, I noticed that too. Oof.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        As per the VW Type IV discussion of 2 weeks ago, passenger side view mirrors were viewed as a ‘luxury’ option on most N.A. domestic vehicles until circa approximately the mid to late 1980’s.

        Doesn’t anyone else remember the rear view mirrors that you could purchase, that took up the entire width of the windshield?

        As for the Escort, that interior is remarkable. Somebody should track down the owner and give them some sort of award. Unless I clean up after them, my family members would have the interior of their vehicles looking worse than that after 6 months.

        The Escort was as others have posted a fairly robust vehicle, that fit the low price point, yet still fairly reliable, requirement for that era. But was certainly a notch below both the Honda and Toyota offerings in pretty much all respects.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff Weimer

          “Doesn’t anyone else remember the rear view mirrors that you could purchase, that took up the entire width of the windshield?”

          Wink mirrors. They were briefly a thing late 80s/early 90s. I had one on an ’83 Accord – it came with it otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered. However, it worked quite nice as there were no blind spots at all with it. Only drawbacks wer that the visors had to be removed to use it and it took up considerable vertical space on the windshield.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Didnt even “luxury cars” have passenger side mirrors as an option too? Like Mercedes and BMW?

          Funny thing is that your drivers license can still be marked in a way that prohibits you from specifically driving one-mirror cars.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Remember that BMW’s were viewed more as Saab competitors rather than luxury cars until the late 1970’s. Until 1975 BMW didn’t even have an ‘official’ presence in the USA.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            I don’t remember it that way. Until the dollar started tumbling relative to the deutschemark, it is true that the 1600-2 and 2002 weren’t particularly expensive little cars. The rest of the lineup consisted of the 2500, the 2800, and the 2800CS. They were all expensive, the 2500 starting off on pricing parity with popular Cadillacs and the 2800 and 2800CS being priced between lesser and fancier Mercedes-Benz offerings.

            The Bavaria was an attempt to simplify the big sedan line and lower prices, but then it became seriously expensive relative to any domestic offering because of currency shifts.

            By 1975, the 2002 had gotten so expensive that they dropped the 2002tii.

            Did having east and west coast importers constitute not having an ‘official’ presence in the US? By that standard Toyota still doesn’t have an official distributor.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Todd, You must be too young to have been in the market then or to understand how BMW was marketed.

            Prior to BMW taking over from Max Hoffman in the USA, they sold only 4 cylinder vehicles in North America. Who would consider a 4 cylinder to be a ‘luxury car’ pre 1976?????

            Yes, Max Hoffman controlled all BMW marketing, sales, distribution in the USA. There was no ‘BMW America’. That makes a major difference.

            And the interiors did not meet the luxury criteria of the ‘brougham era’.

            First there were the BMW mini/bubble cars which were considered ‘toys’ and created the initial image of the brand for an entire generation of consumers.
            The ‘New Series’ were 4 cylinder only and had an ‘austere’ interior in comparison to domestic vehicles.
            The 02 Series also had only 4 cylinders but established BMW as a Saab alternative as a ‘drivers car’ for those who wanted something ‘different’.
            The 3 series did not get a 6 cylinder until 1977.
            The 5 series did get a 6 cylinder but did not arrive here until BMW got control of its North American distribution/network.
            The 7 series was not launched until 1977.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Arthur, I know more about BMWs than any other brand of car. Perhaps you’ve heard of the BMW 507. It was a $9,000 2-seat V8 powered roadster created for the US market by BMW in response to the success of the 300SL in the 1950s. Here is a 1970 Road & Track test of a US trim BMW 2800 CS that had an as-tested price of $8,517 and a big six-cylinder engine:

            http://www.e9coupe.com/tech/press/index.htm

            Yes, Max Hoffman was the importer. They were still US trim cars created to comply with US standards by BMW, and that took on major effort and expense in 1968 to the extent that Alfa-Romeo took the year off, Austin-Healey killed the 3000 and many cars vanished from the US market. BMW didn’t though. They made cars that complied with the new safety and emissions standards for the 1968 model year. Maybe it was different in Canada, but BMW was quite serious about the US well before 1976.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @Todd, I have read many of your comments regarding Bimmer and understand your interest in that brand (and currency exchange). However, there is a difference between theoretical and practical knowledge. In the late 1960’s to early 1970’s the applicable period, a 4 cylinder vehicle with a manual transmission and an austere interior was not regarded as a luxury vehicle.

            If you read the review you linked it mentioned that the 2800 tested had crank windows, an on-board tool kit and that American consumers “balk at something in that price range with under 200 bhp” and without an 8 cylinder engine. Confirmation of how it was viewed by the mass market. And how many were actually imported and sold in North America?

            BMW may have produced a ‘halo’ car, meant to compete with other ‘rare’ European roadsters and perhaps the Corvette. But it was not a luxury car as defined by American consumers in that period. And other manufacturers have produced halo cars without being considered luxury marques, for example Mazda and Kia.

            As originally posted BMW was however regarded as a ‘drivers vehicle’, as was Saab. Something to rally. Something to demonstrate that you were a non-conformist. Perhaps as a 2nd or 3rd vehicle for a ‘petrolhead’. But not a competitor to Lincoln, Cadillac or even Chrysler in the domestic luxury market. No cross-shopping those with BMW during that era.

            BMW did not corporate control over their product in the USA, during that period. So your Toyota comparison is also something of a non-starter.

            In Canada during that period Saab and BMW were quite often sold side by side by the same small dealerships.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            A car which costs two and a half times the ATP for a new car is a luxury car even if you have to wind it up.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Todd, If you truly believe that, then Checker was also manufacturing luxury automobiles.

            And marketing a low production ‘halo’ car does not make a company a luxury manufacturer.

          • 0 avatar
            tomLU86

            I really didn’t start getting a handle on car prices until I was 12 and devouring the car magazines in the mid/late 70s

            At which time, I was surprised at how expensive the ‘new’ 1977 BMW 320i was. Over $7000 as I recall, when a 1976 base De Ville or T-Bird cost around $7700.

            I was also surprised at how expensive Corvettes (also around $7600 base in 1976) and Porsches were.

            I had just arrived in the US, and it was not uncommon to see Corvettes and 911s on base in Europe, or Mustangs. So, I figured the sports cars could not be too expensive, as a child.

            I really liked the 320i (in 1977). It looked great, had room for 4, was quick (for 1977) and fuel efficient. But with that price, no way we would be getting one (and it was not American..)

            In Greece, I thought BMWs were nice cars, but not as ‘fancy’ or ‘rich’ as Mercedes. Like most boys in Greece, the cool car for a young man was an Alfa Romeo Giula 2 door, rather than a BMW 2002–though I liked the 2002.

            To this day, while obviously a BMW NOW IS a luxury car, while I feel that owning a Cadillac is to a little too much “flash the cash”, or a Mercedes, I don’t feel that way about BMW.

            So I’m with Arthur.

            And anyone who was 25 and like cars in 1968 thru 1971 and did not get a new 2002 missed the opportunity of a lifetime, as far as cars are concerned. For 10-20% more than Falcon or Maverick, could’ve gotten a top notch ‘economy car’ with top notch handling

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            A Checker Marathon was less than half the price of a BMW 2800 CS. You said BMW didn’t offer six cylinder cars in the US prior to 1976. For years prior to that, only one of the four models they sold in the US didn’t have a six cylinder engine. Were they as premium as Mercedes? No, but they were as fancy as Mercedes at most price points. My 1976 Mercedes-Benz 240D had one exterior mirror, vinyl seats, and hand crank windows. It also cost about as much as a Cadillac Seville. Was it luxury? If not, what was it? Even if it lasted four times as long as a Chevy Nova, you could buy four Chevy Novas for the price.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Todd: Checker manufactured station wagons and stretched vehicles which cost more than double the starting price of a Marathon. Therefore right in the same price point.

            Were they luxury vehicles?

            And as for BMW’s offerings in North America, even a quick check of Wikipedia demonstrates that BMW did not meet the ‘luxury’ criteria of N.A. in the 1960’s and early to mid 1970’s. They had too few cylinders, were too ‘small’, too austere and did not have the brougham luxury features valued by the mass market of the time. Even your previous link mentioned that the vehicle was not “ultra refined”.

            The 3 Series: At launch, all models used carburetted 4-cylinder engines, however fuel injected models were introduced in late 1975 and 6-cylinder engines were added in 1977.
            The 5 Series: The E12 is the first generation of 5 Series, which was produced from 1972 to 1981. It replaced the New Class sedans and was produced in the sedan body style. The initial models were powered by four-cylinder engines, with a six-cylinder engine being introduced later.
            The 6 Series: The BMW E24 is the first generation of 6 Series and was produced from 1976 to 1988. It replaced the E9 coupés[4] and was solely produced in the 2-door coupé body style
            The 7 Series: The E23 is the first generation 7 Series, and was produced from 1977 to 1987. It was built in a 4-door sedan body style with 6-cylinder engines, to replace the E3 sedans

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            You are just throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what will stick now. The 3-series didn’t show up in the US until the 1977 model year, and it did so with an injected M10 4 cylinder. When the European 320i was replaced with the M20-powered 320/6 for 1980, the US 320i had its engine downsized to 1.8 liters, because that was the biggest M10 still in production. The engine size change was finally reflected by the car’s badging when the E21 was superseded by the E30 318i in 1984.

            Checker 8-door airport wagons were 8-door airport wagons. They were utility vehicles with hand fabrication and low production that made them expensive. 6-cylinder BMWs were luxury cars in the US and Europe.

            You said BMWs were Saab competitors. Saabs were primitive garbage when BMW started their modern era in 1961. 2-strokes were unrefined, short-lived throwaway cars. The later ones had Ford V4s that didn’t make enough power to move a 2002. The Saab 99 showed up a little after the BMW 2002, and it initially gave up engine displacement and power to the BMW while handling like, “a phone booth on a baggage cart(Car and Driver; March, 1976; page 59).” Also, “Others tried to be tomorrow here today; Saab looked like yesterday arrived a day too late.” These comments were in an article comparing the top of the line 99 EMS to a Renault 17, not to a BMW or other respectable car. They also pointed out that as silly as a Saab 99 looked, it had no lower a drag coefficient than a ‘blunt-nosed Ford Granada.’ They did say that the 1976 mechanically-fuel-injected Saab 99 EMS was finally a decent car, but they were very clear that every previous Saab 99 was a feeble joke played on weirdos. Did they say anything similar about any BMW in the decade prior to 1977?

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            No Todd, I am presenting only facts. Which have disproved a number of your previous assertions.
            Such as the number of cylinders in BMW vehicles sold in NA during the early 1970’s.

            Until the early 60’s BMW’s were viewed in NA as a manufacturer of microcars. When they re-invented themselves in NA it was in the ‘sport sedan’ segment, competing primarily with other European vehicles.

            BMW was not competing with Cadillac, Lincoln, or Chrysler, in the N.A. luxury market. I doubt if anybody cross shopped the D3 luxo barges with a BMW in the early 1970’s.

            Luxury in that era in N.A. was defined quite differently than it is now. It meant a supremely quiet interior, isolation from the road, single finger driving, power ‘everything’, and an almost baroque interior. Most of which were or are often equated with BMW.

            BMW’s were however cross shopped with other European vehicles and viewed as something of a ‘drivers car’. For use in rallying, etc. Purchased by those demonstrating their iconoclastic, non-conforming nature. Just like those who purchased SAABs. And in Canada they were most often sold in the same dealerships.

            Those are just facts.

            In fact it would be fair to say that BMW had to go through the very same stages as Japanese and Korean manufacturers to be ‘taken seriously’ in North America.

            As to car reviews of that era, just check who the magazines of that era selected as their Cars of the Year, and that will demonstrate their credibility. Which is why sites like TTAC were created.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            I hope this posts in the right place….

            In the early 1960’s BMW sold tiny little Isettas and the “700” that was a small normal looking sedan with a boxer 700C.C. air cooled engine in the back of it .

            Then came the 1600, a water cooled, front engined, rear drive marvel that I remember a teacher bought one of and raved endlessly about how much fun it was to drive .

            -Nate

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Arthur,

            You’re wrong about the number of cylinders of BMW’s US offerings between 1968 and 1977. Only the little 1600-2 and 2002 had four cylinder engines those years. Road & Track might have painted an overly rosy picture of an Austin Healey 3000’s ride comfort during that period, but they were right about BMW selling thousands of 2800 CS coupes and Bavaria sedans with M30 six cylinder engines during that period. I’ve driven a few of them with US-specific lighting, bumpers, speedometers, and owners manuals. The Bavaria was created for the US market by combining the biggest BMW six cylinder engine with equipment carefully chosen to meet US buyers expectations while keeping price close to US luxury sedans. It was the sort of equipment level rationalization that Honda would use to simplify inventory control, cut costs, and increase content. Was it like a Cadillac Calais, which could be bought without the most fundamental luxury equipment for the price of a loaded Caprice? Not really.

            Could the people who bought one have just as easily bought a DeVille or Mark III? Was someone buying a $9,000 BMW Bavaria in 1974 likely to be trading a $2,000 Saab 96 or VW Beetle, or were they more likely showing their disgust with Detroit’s pimp mobiles that cost almost as much?

            For some reason you don’t remember the majority of BMW’s offerings pre-1977, but that doesn’t mean they arrived later as classics. I have a friend with a 3.0 CS from 1973-1975 right now, and I knew quite a few others who had them when I was in the BMW CCA. Most are US market cars, the US already being the biggest market for European cars over 2 liters even sixty years ago.

            None of this is to say that the 2002 didn’t popularize BMW in the US. Their efforts with the 502, 503, 507, 3200 CS, 1500, 1800, and 1800 TI/SA having been too expensive for market acceptance in the ’50s and ’60s.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I never understood cars without a passenger-side mirror (and the only one that was ever in my family was my grandma’s ’79 Civic; even my mom’s cheap used Chevette had the mirror). The passenger-side mirror is far more important than the windshield mirror and it’s very difficult to drive safely without it.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    They served a purpose and Ford sold a lot of them. It’s hard to believe that a right side view mirror was considered an option as opposed to a standard safety feature

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      My first wife’s 1988 Ford Festiva L had only one mirror, too. And a four-speed, not a five-speed.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      “It’s hard to believe that a right side view mirror was considered an option as opposed to a standard safety feature”

      “hard to believe” at first blush. Then “illuminating” – as in, if this kind of thing went on for as long as it did (and it did), what does that tell us about the manufacturer of this vehicle and their regard (or lack of) for customers and vehicle safety in general?

      And then more broadly, are there similar things happening today? Hmmm….

      • 0 avatar
        tomLU86

        Look at a Mercedes Benz from the 1970s thru the early 1980s. Even a 450SEL.

        These were arguably the safest cars on market. No passenger side outside mirror.

        Detroit offered a lot more cars with them–at a cost though.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      My brother’s ’83 Honda Civic LX hatchback was passenger side mirror-less too so this was common back then. It was just a cost saving move on base model as my 1500 S model had the mirror (and a center console which the LX lacked). Thankfully with the squared off Civic you had such a large greenhouse you didn’t really need that mirror honestly.

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      According to my own anecdotal observations, I don’t think right outside mirrors are used much. Next time you get in your friend’s car, pay attention. Is that mirror adjusted to be useful? Does your friend ever glance at it? My guess is “NO” to both questions.

      I think some of us, especially those who have experience driving commercial trucks, have been trained to rely on right side mirrors. Most ordinary drivers however don’t trust them….they will typically use the center-mounted rear view in combination with physically turning around.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        R Henry,

        I recently bought one those wider-view center-mounted rear view mirrors to experiment with – was finding it helpful, until the additional weight pulled the factory mirror off the glass – lol. My life is an uphill climb against entropy (will reinstall).

        • 0 avatar
          R Henry

          I have found the aftermarket adhesives to reattach the mirrors to the windshield seldom work.

          In my case, I used an idea from “the old days” and retrofitted one of these:

          https://bit.ly/34jsF9n

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I have a CDL, but I relied heavily on the right-side mirror long before I learned to drive a bus. Poeple who don’t use it are just sort of hoping and praying when they change lanes to the right, and if you often occupy the right lane on a bicycle, you become acutely aware of them.

        • 0 avatar
          R Henry

          I too drove a bus…a school bus, when I was a college student. It was a great job for me…hours were a perfect fit with my own class schedule, and kids on my bus, especially the elementary age kids, were lots of fun. One little first grade girl, Linsey. sat directly behind me every morning, and carried on a funny little banter about family. When I learned my wife was pregnant with a daughter, I KNEW her name would be Linsey!

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      An option that I always thought would be standard equipment are rear window defrosters. One of my dad’s friends had a 1998ish Escort that didn’t come fitted with a rear window defrosters.

      Probably not a huge deal in warmer areas, but it struck me as a bit weird in Minnesota.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Electric window defrosters were an expensive option in most vehicles right through until the early to mid 1980’s.

        We used to purchase plastic ‘pouches’ that had an adhesive that you hung on the inside of your rear and side windows to help keep them clear in the winter.

        Doesn’t anybody else remember them?

        • 0 avatar
          ToolGuy

          Arthur Dailey,

          I recall that many of GM’s vehicles were later in getting heated OSRV mirrors than much of the competition *because* the executives/decision makers parked in a garage at home and in a garage (sometimes a heated garage) at work (and/or had drivers).

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I think one of the upgrades from Pony to L trims was “antenna and speakers”. Lots of folks wanted their own radio installed in 1986, and having an antenna and speakers pre-existing made that install quite a bit cheaper. And for large fleet buyers, in order to get the bid for cars with radios, dealers ordered them without radios and installed cheap aftermarket radios once the cars hit the lot.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    “Why there’s an antenna on a car that didn’t come with a radio, I can’t say.”

    People just liked it better that WAAAAAAAAY!!!

  • avatar
    s_a_p

    Poor Sajeev is going to get flooded with pics of genitalia.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    Yes, the 1985 1/2 Escort.

    Different front end with the now legal shaped headlamps replacing the rectangular ones.

    More importantly, the 1.9 liter 88 hp engine replaced the anemic 1.6 (68 hp?) engine. Huge improvement

    Cheap little cars, but not bad. Still, I’d prefer an Omni/Horizon, or a Tercel.

    I consider the vastly preferable Golf and Civic in another (higher) category compared to the above cars. And the prices back in the day reflected it.

    But finally, with this car, Ford had a credible small car for the first time since the brief (1978-80) Fiesta.

    • 0 avatar
      loner

      And recall that the 1985.5 Escort did not have a third brake light, whereas the 1986 specimen above does. Funny that they didn’t just go ahead and add it for the half-model year before it became mandated for 1986.

      I had a 1985.5 Mercury Lynx. I recall it being a very solid, reliable car. Metal bumpers too!

      It wasn’t a bad car. It just wasn’t really a good car, either.

  • avatar

    I owned a 95 Escort LX wagon. It’s fascinating to see how much that car changed from what was available in the 86 version of the Escort. I liked mine a lot. First car I’d owned that had power exterior mirrors which I found extremely useful. It also had after market remote start which was also appreciated. I was going from an 84 Charger and wanted something that gave me 30+ mpg and could haul my modest sound reinforcement gear. The Escort wagon fit the bill. The individual I bought it from had full records which verified it had been well cared for. A no-brainer for me at the time considering my available cash. Not a great car, perhaps, but it served me well until the rear strut mounts rusted out to the point of being dangerous. I was told this was a known issue with the car.

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    I’m just wondering how the shifter went from from drive in the second picture to park in the third picture.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    No radio? In the second picture I see what looks like knobs and a dial. Were you just referring to the fact that it has what looks like an aftermarket radio?

    The antenna and base are black instead of stainless. Cheap!

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I notice the blue cam cover gasket – part of a repair made as an attempt to fix something that later turned out be catastrophic, leading to its last tow?

    Also, those seats would almost be worth salvaging, to put in something else.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    It’s certainly in fine shape. Better than 50% of the cars in the ‘hood in the Great Lakes. I wonder what the cause of death was?

  • avatar

    I AM SO SAD Y THIS HAPPEN TO MEEEEEE

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    When you look up 5 mph bumper tests this era of Escort will pop up simply because it came with decent bumpers, certainly better than its more expensive Honda competition.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Obviously a non rust belt car, so my COD (cause of death) guess would be a snapped timing belt followed by crunching noises.

    • 0 avatar
      VWGTI

      Nope. That is is a non-interference engine. The structural damage did it in.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        ? Are you sure ? .

        The 1982 Escort L I maintained for Psycho-Bitch snapped the timing belt at sunset on a Friday in “youdon’twanttobehereafterdark” East L.A. & bent all the valves .

        This one is far to clean and unusual to have been scrapped .

        I’da paid $500 ~ $600 for it if running just because…

        -Nate

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Note the encircled check mark on the windshield. When I worked at Menzel’s Towing in Milwaukee back in 1989, we would make notations like this to indicate the car was a “runner” so we could move it around the storage yard without using our yard truck. Such cars would typically have a key inside–over the visor or under the seat. We would use windshield symbols instead of writing “Runner” because we were well aware that a criminal could easily scale our perimeter fence, find a “runner” and do some real mayhem in our yard.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    No 4-speed manual in 86.

    This would be a 5-speed car if it had a manual. I believe the 4-speed went away in 1984 (and was only on the most poverty grade Escort).

  • avatar
    pale ghost

    I was working in Europe in the early 80s and rented Escorts and Fiestas. When I returned home I was thinking of buying an Escort until I test drove one. I couldn’t believe how badly Ford screwed up our version. I wonder what did this example in. I get a kick out of seeing the final mileage on these junkyard finds but lately seems like the odometers are either digital or 5 digits.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Curious that the 1.9L engine produced less horsepower than the Lima 2.3 in replaced in Pinto (86 net vs 88 net). That said, having flogged a 1980 Pinto Pony wagon for 6 years in the late 1980s, I can tell you that the 1.9 was VERY much more refined and thrifty. The Lima in my Pinto seemed to vibrate MORE than a paint shaker at anything above 3500 rpm….while consuming more fuel than one would think reasonable for a small, underpowered car.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    No the 4 speed manual was still available I had a 4 speed manual 85 Lynx with air. The heads went on it and I traded it in. Before I traded it I had replaced the manual transmission, wiring harness, and carburetor. Worst vehicle I ever owned. I had heard that the 85.5s were better. We traded the Lynx in for a 94 Escort LX wagon which we traded for new was a very good car.

  • avatar
    Mike-NB2

    I have a soft spot in my heart for these Escorts. In 1988 I was a young kid on my first Air Force posting to a base in Nova Scotia. I was fed up with a carbureted car and the best I could afford was a leftover ’87 Escort five door. Mine was silver with a ‘whorehouse red’ interior. Five speed too. I think that was because it was a high-zoot GL. No AC or passenger side mirror though.

    With reasonable maintenance this thing turned out to be almost bulletproof. Mechanically and body-wise it held up extremely well. It lasted me nine years though that posting, four years of university and three years of law school. While it may have been bulletproof it wasn’t Diplomat proof. I’m not kidding, but in ’96 I finished writing my last ever law school exam and had to stop at the mall on the way home. I was stopped in the parking lot waiting for someone to clear out of the way when I heard a roar and Dodge Diplomat flying at me from the side. It used the Escort’s hood as a launching pad and did the Duke Boys proud by bouncing off the roof of another car and then landing half under a third car. I extricated myself from the Escort and went over to the Diplomat which was pretty much at redline. The driver told me the car had a mind of its own and that she had the brake to the floor. A quick peek inside revealed the truth – the gas was mashed to the floor. I got her to shut it off.

    The Escort was a write-off. It probably could have gone another few years and a lot more kms.

    Rest in Peace, Escort.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Wow. If this was a GT I’d be putting some tires on and driving off into the sunset!

  • avatar
    VWGTI

    I’d say the mileage was 65k based on the fact the spark plug wires are OEM Motorcraft gray and nobody ever uses OEM replacement wires. It looks like something folded to driver’s door backward, twisting the A pillar. Happens around here sometimes.

  • avatar
    macmcmacmac

    The most memorable things a out my 85, 4speed poverty spec Escort was how well it resisted the rear end impact from a speeding Windstar being shuttled back to Edmonton airport. I had barely escaped rear ending a gas-less Hyundai Excel when I saw the Windsatr bearing down at an unreasonable rate of speed. I grabbed the wheel with both hands and braced for impact. The whole car went airborne and I was pushed into the Hyundai. I escaped with a slightly sore back, and my Eacort looked almost damage free except for the slightly squashed spare tire well and punched in right front fender. The windstar driver was vibrating from the airbags going off. The van was in pretty bad shape and puking coolant everywhere. He was a new Canadian and was terrified he was going to get sent back to Central America for some reason…

    Did I mention this happened on the ride home from my inspection? Oh well. It was written off by the insurance company as not worth fixing, but for some reason I was allowed to keep driving it until it was time to renew my registration, at which time I was laid out the princely sum of $1500, which was what I had paid for it. It turned out for the best anyway, as the first cold morning in Edmonton that year revealed it to smoke worse than a laboratory beagle during warm up, and its carburetor froze up with alarming regularity, which led to a particularly hair raising drive from Calgary where I spent much of the drive trundling along the shoulder ar 30mph with the gas pedal mashed to the floor between stalls and restarts at -30c. Luckily a friend in Red Deer was still at work at the lube shop and set me up with an oil change and some cardboard for the rad. I had burnt/blown by almost a tank in 145km. I got a free year of driving out if it so I cant complain too much. It was replaced with an 86 Topaz. Yeah, I was pretty skint back then.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I knew a surprising number of people in high school and college who had these Escorts, in every trim from Pony to LX. They were slow, uncomfortable penalty boxes even at the time, but they seemed quite duralbe and took punishment well.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • volvo: The relatively new technology small displacement turbos and CVTs shift costs to the owner once the warranty...
  • slavuta: HThis is actually how this goes! For example, my Highlander was very reliable for 9.5 years. But just when I...
  • 28-Cars-Later: Nope, if its too small to be a sedan it should be a coupe and well, notgonnahappen.
  • millmech: What about the kids killed by the airbags?
  • PrincipalDan: We still need to applaud Honda for offering a 6 speed manual with the 2.0T.

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States