First Gen GT: 1987 Ford Escort GT

It’s hard to believe how clunky the Ford Pinto was compared to its replacement, the Ford Escort. They’re quirky and cool and I wouldn’t mind owning one, or two, but compared to this 1987 Ford Escort GT they were downright primitive. The seller has this GT posted here on craigslist in beautiful Santa Rosa, California and they’re asking $7,500. Thanks to Pat L. for sending in this tip!

The seller regales us with a full twenty-four photos which is very rare and impressive! 2021 may end on a positive note after all! The Ford Escort followed the Pinto and it’s a good thing that Ford didn’t make the Pinto their world car. I make it sound like I’m not a fan of Pintos and that’s not the case, but the difference between the two cars is literally night and day.

This is a first-generation Ford Escort and they were made for the 1981 through 1990 model years. Sister company Mercury also had a Mercury Lynx through 1987 at which point it was replaced by a rebadged Mazda and named the Mercury Tracer. The Escort would follow suit after 1990 in being based on Mazda platforms. Just for the fun of it, here’s a 1987 YouTube video showing the Ford Escort GT.

There are a couple of tiny dings and some worn paint and other minor exterior flaws but overall it looks like a really nice example. This era is a bit unfortunate in that it forced the automatic shoulder belts on us. There are so many desirable cars from around this time that I haven’t gotten because of that. Some of you have lived with them and some of you have disabled them. I’d have to figure something out, I don’t know if I could ever get used to that. The seats look perfect in the back and a bit worn in the front as is the center armrest. Are those two huge wear spots on the driver’s side floor mat?

There is a decent amount of storage space under the rear cargo cover and the seller shows us under the mat, revealing the original spare tire. This car also has a sunroof which I’m assuming is a factory piece.

The engine is, as you can see, Ford’s 1.9L inline-four with EFI and 115 horsepower. The seller says that it has no issues and it runs great. The asking price is quite a bit higher than I would have expected but what do you think of this Escort GT?


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  1. nycbjr Member

    Left out the most important, 5 speed!

    Like 11
    • Fred Rogers

      I’ve seen many of these, never an automatic.

  2. Jimbo

    I had an 83. This might be a second generation.

    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Jimbo, the second generation started in 1991 so this is definitely a first-generation car.

      Like 5
  3. qmmq

    I graduated HS in 1994, and believe it or not? Kids wanted these. By that time the ZX-2 was available, ugly as it was, way out performed. My classmate had one of them SVT Mercury Contuors, that was a pretty nasty car, for the time. Neither beat my 1991 Eagle Talon AWD tsi, hung though. BTW, my Eagle spent alot more time being fixed than either of their cars.

    Like 6
    • DN

      I graduated in ‘91 and a girl in my class had a new Laser RS. She beat every Mustang and Camaro in the parking lot who tried to run. Even my ‘85 300zx Turbo. Always wanted a Diamond Star ;(

      Like 1
    • AMCFAN

      DSM AWD’s are still very much in demand. Mitsu 4G63’s are legend. There are still shows dedicated to them. 1100 HP is pretty standard. Original stock TSI’s rare.

      I remember Escort GT’s. They were economy cars to get around and did their job. Very popular. Then gone. This one seems like it has a lot of wear on the interior for the money. Auto trans kills it. I would be happy at $2000-$2800.

      For that I can buy a nice clean EK Civic with a manual. For the ask here I can get a modified EM1. Just missed a clean Electron Blue with just an exhaust and wheel upgrade for $6500. It is a genuine collectible with prices rising now.

      At the end of the day it’s still an overpriced Ford Escort.

  4. Todd Zuercher

    The original listing had it listed as a Focus so I’m glad that’s corrected. There can’t be many of these left in this condition. I always like them but recognized their shortcomings. Surprisingly I saw a fairly complete one in the junkyard recently.

    Like 2
  5. 03z71lt

    I had an 87 GT black in college. Was lowered with aftermarket wheels and some tasteful graphics. Great car except the throttle position sensor!

    Like 1
  6. Bill

    Very Very nice… Had an ’89. Very comfortable, sporty (miss the 5-speed) but at around 65k everything started going and traded. $7,500 seems rather aggressive but as they say, there’s an ass for every seat!

    Like 2
  7. VFP Member

    My brother had one of these and almost as annoying as the automatic seatbelts was the “Shift” light that would come on to recommend when the optimum RPM for economy was reached. Still, it was a fun little ride.

    Like 1
    • Fred Rogers

      Ah yes, the shift light!
      After about a year mine with working🤣

  8. Philip Lepel

    I had a black 87 Gt i bought as a winter car so as mot to drive my mustang GT Turbo. They were only 3 years apart in age but so different.(I paid $1200. For it) Loved that car despite the rear shock towers starting to rot through. But it was a broken timing belt that ended its life. They e disappeared from the roads but id love to have one again but for now my Chrysler GTCruiser fills the void.

  9. Chris

    My first car was an MGB. Second car was an ’81 Mercury Lynx RS, manual trans. It was actually a fun car, but then again, I was a new driver and my only real comparison was an MGB, so this was a power upgrade from that! I still remember it was pretty fun to drive.

    Sold it in the early ’90s for about $600. This looks like a pretty cool car that you just don’t see anymore, but it’s unfathomable to me that anyone would pay $7500 or anywhere near it for one of these. Then again, I’m just a crotchety old guy now who makes a hobby of complaining about how expensive everything is. I remember when gas cost about 50 cent a gallon, so don’t mind me!

    Like 3
  10. Bob Novotny

    I had an ’88 in college. Sporty for the time, easy on gas & 5 speed. Fun in the snow. Traded it after college for a Cavalier Z24 with a 5speed

  11. Fred Rogers

    I had an 89 GT back in the 90’s, white with gray interior, 5 speed manual- drive like a big go cart! Tons of fun on corners and when wound out accelerated quickly! I raced my Buddy who had a Saturn SC-2, my escort was faster! I was even with civic 4 door, even P for two traffic lights, only to find out he had put a si engine in it! I loved that GT, but can’t afford this one $$$

  12. Motorcityman Member

    I toured around the perimeter of Michigan’s lower and upper peninsula in a 83 manual Escort with 3 of my buddies.
    Only problem I had was ignition stator went when I got home.
    Did u know Michigan has more coastline than California?

  13. Roland Schoenke

    I had an 88′ was fun

  14. scott march

    I had a 87 GT with 120k miles . Got it for $800, just to drive to work in northeastern Pennsylvania. Fixed the rotted shock towers and drove it for a year and put 30k miles on it. I hit a deer and and insurance gave me $1200 for it. Can’t complain about that car.

  15. Mike Lundeen

    Does anyone know if this sold? I’m curious on if it did and for how much. I just picked up an ’87 Escort GT 5spd manual, white on tan just like this. Trying to get an idea of it’s value.

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