Introduced in 1980, the North American Ford Escort (not to be confused with the car of the same name that was available in Europe since 1968) was an instant hit for Ford, offering affordability, fuel efficiency, and above all, refinement in the subcompact compact class.
With this trifecta combination of success, the Escort quickly became one of America’s best selling cars. In spite of this, particularly due to its economic status, first generation Escorts puttering around these days are far and few in between. Well-preserved examples are truly a diamond in the rough, if anyone could ever equate a Ford Escort to a diamond.
Alas, I recently did come upon this seemingly clean 1985½ (post-facelift) Escort L 5-speed 3-door hatch, driven by an elderly gentleman and puttering along at a steady 25 mph. Naturally, getting stuck behind this 34 year old econobox, whose 1.9-liter SOHC carbureted I4 originally made 86 horsepower, occurred while I was on my way to work, making for a painstakingly slow commute. At least I had something interesting to look at!