Gas Free: 1981 Ford Escort EV

As a general rule, you rarely want to have all of your exterior photos of a vehicle that you’re selling with the hood open. Maybe if it was a perfectly-restored engine ready for Pebble Beach or a mind-blowing restomod with chrome and other eye-catching details. But, this 1981 Ford Escort EV has none of those features. In fact, it doesn’t even have an engine! This unusual car is listed on eBay with an unmet opening bid of $2,300 and no reserve. It’s located in Marshfield, Wisconsin and it’ll have to be towed back to your shop.

Here’s yet another exterior photo with the hood open. But, the body on this Escort looks good, at least from this distance. There is some rust to deal with – some of it looks like an easy fix, but another area of rust doesn’t look like quite as easy of a fix. I don’t know if this was originally a Wisconsin car or not but if it was, expect loads more rust underneath and hidden in cracks and crevasses. The seller mentions that the “under-body was undercoated in the past and is very clean”, so that’s a good sign. Also, this car only has 20,608 miles on it, which is actually pretty amazing for a battery-powered car from 1981.

I wrote about a somewhat similar car, a 1981 Ford Escort Electrica, back in July of 2016. Not seeing the Electrica badges, but rather “ELECTRIC” badges, I’m not quite sure what company made this car, or if it was a home project. I have a 1988 Subaru GL sedan with a 5-speed that was converted to battery power by a North Carolina tech college (thanks for storing it so long, Jamie!) so if a person were creative and determined to have a battery-powered vehicle, it is possible to do it yourself. This gentleman has a very similar car, if not this exact same car? I’m betting that this is the same car, since that link was from 2006. Thoughts?

This is it for interior photos, other than for a dash photo or two. To run an eBay listing three times with these overall photos is mind-blowing to me. Beg, borrow, or steal (well, maybe not that) a digital camera or use a friend’s smart phone if you don’t have one to get some decent photos and you may have better results. Here is a Jet Industries Electrica based on the Ford Escort. These vehicles never had an internal-combustion engine. They were purchased by Jet Industries without engines and were converted in their factory. Maybe one of you will know the maker of this car.

Here’s where an open hood shot works! Or, maybe not if you aren’t into unusual EVs. This car was purchased without batteries, which are usually the trouble spot with these older electric cars. Ask Jamie what it’s like to try to recondition a bunch of batteries on a 1988 Subaru.. (thanks again, Jamie!). This car probably would have had around a 50-mile range, more than enough to commute with for the vast majority of Americans. And, if you use solar or wind or other non-coal power sources, you don’t have to constantly hear that argument that you’re just kicking the can down the road as far as polluting at the tailpipe or at the source of power generation. This car is too much work for me (but, maybe Jamie has time for another project) (ha, just kidding), but if the rust isn’t too bad and a person wanted a relatively inexpensive EV to tinker with for commuting, this may be a contender.


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  1. jaymes

    I bet it needs batteries

  2. DrinkinGasoline

    I believe it’s been met with zero bids (as I post) due to folks not wanting to take a chance on a defunct company’s, or unknown private conversion, let alone the lack of wrecking yard donors to supply skeletal replacements. The Escorts in the wrecking yards were crushed long ago during the “cash for clunkers campaign”.This one is a ghost of someone’s passion. I applaud the creator’s ingenuity but, there was no foresight in sustainability for this individual vehicle.

  3. JW

    No thanks, electric vehicles along with self driving cars have a long way to go to get my attention.

  4. David Frank David Frank Member

    This is funny. We have an identical one at the museum, rust free. It’s been sitting around for years. They would sell it for pretty much any donation.

    • Ron

      Where is it located?

    • Mark Collier

      which museum is the one you mentioned at David Frank?? Thanks.

    • john mancini

      I saw a pristine JET escort at a state of Arizona surplus auction it was owned by DEQ dept of eviornmental quality and had like 2000 miles I guess they were testing it it didn’t sell for much money. AZ was a test bed for the EV1 the first GM electric vehicle. that was a pretty good car one passed me on the freeway @ 80 mph. a restaurant montis la casa in tempe had 2 of them. I believe all of them were crushed

  5. Jeremy

    The pictured bad spot of rust was a common area of rot on these. The rear shock towers on these were also very rust prone, and should be carefully scrutinized, especially if it is a Midwest native.

  6. Nova Scotian

    At first I thought that was bubble gum flicked up from the front tires onto the sides of the doors…need a bigger iPhone.

  7. mark

    $2300 for an 81 Escort without a working motor (electric or otherwise)? Good luck.

  8. Jerry Brentnell

    back in the day there were cheap ugly cars that no nothings bought well here is the bottom of the heap! x girlfriend bought one new with a motor in it! real wonderful heap 2 years later she could not give it away !

  9. chad

    need battery info (is the equp/wiring there, price for them, which models, makes, sizes, where to get, etc).
    kinda like selling a car w/o engine, no?

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