Live Auctions

IMSA History: 1982 Ford Escort

This is cool: a 1982 Ford Escort built from a “body in white” chassis that’s been a race car since new. It flew under the IMSA flag and seems to offer a ton of bang for the buck, from a four-cylinder built by Ford Racing to a custom suspension and roll cage. The seller is also including a boatload of spares for the $3,800 asking price, and you’ll find here on craigslist in upstate New York. 

Here’s a shot of the Escort in in-period racing action; it still wears the same livery today. The 1980s saw all sorts of vehicles end up doing track duty, even the low-spec Escort. From Rabbit GTI’s to Fieros, despite the haze of malaise hanging around, every car seemed capable of ending up on track in a competitive series. The seller notes the Escort raced four times in 1988-1989.

The engine is a 1.6L mill with a Ford Racing cam, mechanical lifters, dual valve springs, Lynx manifold, polished rods, baffled oil pan and remote oil cooler. It has been rebuilt, along with the dual Weber carbs and run in at a few autocrosses to ensure everything was functioning correctly. The Escort sits on 15-inch GT wheels with Hoosier slicks and looks like a very fun package.

The thick protective cage inside gives you some sense as to the professional-grade this Escort was built to. Check out the Mustang wearing a set of Hella 500 driving lamps in the background – looks like our kind of people working in this shop! Take a look at the spares package in the listing and it becomes clear just how much value there is in the asking price; the seller will even sell you a trailer for a “bargain price” if you want that, too.


  1. Wagon master Member


  2. Mark Cobra


    • Blyndgesser


    • Jody

      You couldn’t pass a turd on the track if you were driving that GEM a hole

  3. TriPowerVette

    I may buy this myself, so I had second thoughts about leaving this comment; but, honestly, these little cars are an absolute ball to throw around. This is coming from a Big Block guy! They rev willingly to the moon and back. They handle like slot cars. You would not be able to wipe the grin off your face. Seriously. Super price for super fun times.

  4. TriPowerVette

    I almost forgot; the spares alone make the deal.

  5. SSPBill

    I saw this listing yesterday and also gave it some thought since I’m only an hour down the road. With two young kids, 11 and 14, this would be great for family weekends and to teach the kids some maintenance and eventually driving skills.

  6. Keith

    Seriously though, who would actually buy this???

    • Andre

      Someone who likes cool cars?

      • Keith

        This car is not cool car it’s a cheap economy car cheaply modified as a pace car..obviously you are not a “car guy”

    • TriPowerVette

      Someone who’s face wouldn’t crack to pieces, if they began to smile.

    • Rob S.

      Keith, this IS a cool car! The ford built race prepped engine and obviously well built cage says this is a serious competitor! If it was a cheaply built economy racer it would’ve been built in YOUR garage. If you were a car guy you would’ve picked up on this. You are just a guy who likes cars, not a car guy.

      • Ralph Robichaud

        Keith- you make such an authoritative statement that the rest of us are so very anxious to know how and why you have become such an authority on Cool.. Where is that Cool university you went to? How many years of painstaking study did it take to get your degree, which only your modesty kept you from boasting about it. You should take a moment to tell us about your world of Cool, and how rewarding it is to be so Cool informed.. ……….or you could come clean and use toilet tissue.

      • Keith

        I’m not going to trade insults which such an insignificant non-factor such as yourself. Automobiles of refinement and stature peek my interest where I come from and If I say it’s not a cool car you clearly don’t have to respect my opinion but merely accept my opinion or neither…I’ve been around cars of all makes and models all of the 45 of my 51 years of existence. And if you find this car “cool” so be don’t see my replying to your favorable comment on this particular vehicle do you? I have a right to my own opinion and I don’t have the time to trade jabs with any internet tough guys, I’m too old for that nonsense. Keep it movin!…Keith NYC

      • Keith

        @ Internet tough guy Rob S. my reply directed at Ralph Robichaud applies to you as well as does “Keep it movin” apply to you also….

  7. Leon

    ??? Hoosier slicks on a car with General Tire decals !!??? Wouldn’t you want to keep it authentic ?

  8. Craigstreetzel

    Hoosier are made by general

  9. Will
  10. RoughDiamond Member

    @TriPowerVette-Hope you get it!

    • TriPowerVette

      Thank you, sir, for your kind thoughts.

  11. Alford Pouse Member

    These like the old/original Mini Coopers on Gymkhanas and short or multi curved road courses could be very competitive even against the American V8s including the Corvettes. Also very good running hillclimbs in Europe.

    • Poppapork

      Although it shares the similar body to the european escort mk3 it has nothing in common with it. This is a platform shared with ford tempo.

      So its not very goid at running hill climbs in Europe because it was never sold there…

      I still think its a good deal though!

      • Alford Pouse Member

        Poppapork so true about the differences. The ones running the climbs and running the course at Hochenheim and others were about the same as NASCARs are the same as the street versions they supposedly represent. I had an Escort Panel delivery for a while before moving up? down? to a Capri! LOL

  12. carbuzzard Member

    It’s 35 years old. Vintage racing?

  13. Veloce33

    I like this car, but one question:if built from an 81/82 body in white, why wasn’t it raced till ’88?

  14. DL

    What a steal! to have any car caged is about $2K and at least as much for a fuel cell. everything else is pretty much free. If it was on the west coast I’d grab it just to have as a spare track day toy.

  15. carsofchaos

    I kinda like it, too. We are building a 68 Cougar in a similar vein as this one, of course handling characteristics are much different than they would be in the Escort.
    And BTW BarnFinds: why do you allow people to have the same username? I was “Keith” on here for 3+ years, now I’ve changed to carsofchaos just to avoid confusion. Not busting ba**s you guys do a great job especially for a free site but it can be confusing that’s for sure!

    • Josh Mortensen Staff

      Hi Keith,
      Good question! Rather than bore you with technical stuff, I’ll just give the short answer. It takes lots of server resources to manage, reserve and look up so many usernames and emails. I hope that makes sense!

      • carsofchaos

        Hey Josh makes perfect sense I work in IT. On the plus side it’s very easy for me to put in a different username so no worries on my end. Keep up the good work!

  16. Xdub

    My first thought was,is it legal for the road and,if not,how much effort would it take???????

  17. Ralph Robichaud

    To Keith– Entitled to an opinion, absolutely.. nobody disagrees.
    To state such opinion as absolute fact, as you did.. nyets.
    Only arrogant, self lauding individuals take that approach, of course that ‘s only my opinion, as a significant non-factor human entity.

    • Keith

      @Ralph R. This is what I expected…senseless assumptions just to falsely attempt to validate a comment. Fact?? I have no idea what you are referring to in regards to my altering an “opinion” as a fact…My comments regarding that particular vehicle was posted as 100% opinionated . Why in the world would I attempt to fact check a vehicle I have absolutely no interest in?? I don’t care about the stock car image, I don’t care about the fact that it’s a Ford and I don’t care about the 1.6 motor either. So if you can please clarify for me where I stated in my comment an alleged factual segment please enlighten me… And it’s “insignificant” not “significant”…Now that there is a FACT.

  18. Ralph Robichaud

    Keith- I am moving on, not at your bidding, but because my time can be much better spent. BTW, the English language is a much more efficient communication tool when proper punctuation is used. Likewise, courtesy cultivates better rapports than haughtiness. Have yourself a fine day, and may your nose remain above the fart line.

    • Keith

      @ Ralph R…..Yeah I figured that…Hang in there Ralphy boy Ha!

  19. Stuart

    Yikes, I thought I had to muck through Facebook to see such sniping. I learned here that I’m a guy who likes cars, vs. A “car guy”. But I do know a little about the English language. You can be “piqued” by a “peek” at the ralley car on the “peak” of the hill climb. Thats all.

    Like 1

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