Less than 25K Miles: 1984 Ford Escort

The seller of this 1984 Ford Escort typically takes in interesting donated vehicles which usually have some tragic flaw, such as structural rust or engines that have run without coolant for years. That’s just the nature of selling donated vehicles, and the seller is always very up front about these issues. That’s why it’s pleasing to see them with a genuine survivor on their hands in the form of this 1984 Ford Escort here on eBay with just 24,408 original miles. 

While the paint is truly spectacular, the interior is what gets us even more excited. The original cloth buckets look like they’ve never been sat in, and the vinyl armrest shows no sign of years’ worth of sweaty elbows parked on top of it. The floor mats have done a good job of preserving the carpets, and the color-coordinated red dashboard shows no signs of cracking. Despite now being reserved for supercars, red seatbelts were once quite commonplace in 80s econoboxes.

The Escort’s paint and original pin stripe still present as new, as does the chrome trim on the bumpers and the B-pillar. Original glass all looks straight and crack-free, and the only visible signs of rust are around the trim rings on the steel wheels. Given the early Escorts were truly a world car, you can spot some of the telltale signs of its global marketability, such as the trim blocks between the taillights that could be removed to accept a longer European license plate.

While the most desirable Escorts are the GTs with a manual transmission, those models are near impossible to find in decent running condition. This Escort’s 1.6L four-cylinder paired to a 3-speed automatic transmission won’t set your hair on fire, but it will likely return impressive fuel economy while still drawing a crowd at the local Cars & Coffee gathering. The opening bid of $1,095 is quite reasonable and could represent a potential bargain if other bidders fail to materialize.

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  1. Todd Zuercher

    I’m continually amazed that cars like this could have possibly survived all these years in this condition and with so few miles…

    • Mike H. Mike H Member

      Todd, have you ever noticed that most of these survivors are automatic’s? Have you ever wondered if there’s a correlation; that with the slush-box these cars were simply so awful to drive that they literally languished in a quiet garage until they absolutely HAD to be driven?

      • DrinkinGasoline

        Mike, They were preferred by mostly older folks in the U.S. who had no desire to row through gears anymore and who took care of their vehicles.

  2. Ted Shelton

    We drove the European version of this car (except ours was blue) in 1984–we rented it in Geneva and drove it to as many places in Switzerland, Germany, Italy and southern France as was humanly possible in two weeks. We loved that car–standard tranny, very lively and quick. Kept up with 80% of traffic on the Autobahn and Autostrade–when we got back we thought we should buy one. Test drove the US version and were sorely disappointed. We could not figure out how it could be the same car. Super slow and NO fun!

    • John T

      The European Version and the US Version of the Escort in the 1980’s were sadly without a doubt completely different cars, like night and day. Be thankful that you did not actually buy the US Version.

    • George Member

      Because it was only loosely based on the European car.

      The idiotic CAFE standards created a peculiar reality in which Detroit had to make bunches of crap small cars as cheaply as possible in order to make money on Town Cars and Eldorados.

    • Neil

      Kept up with 80% of traffic on the Autobahn and Autostrade–
      Really? Where you on downers and everything around you slowed down? No way this thing was competitive on The Autobahn. Comparing to BMW, Jags, Audis… the list goes on and on. They are some serious drivers, and to put this put – put in that category is ridiculous.

      • JohnD

        He didn’t say “this thing” kept pace on the Autobahn. He was describing the European version of the Escort, which was a completely different car.

  3. ed the welder

    my grandfather bought a red ’83 wagon brand new … it lasted 40,000 miles before the engine ” done blowed up ” … ” quality is job # 1 ” lol …possibly the worst ford ever made and i’m a huge ford guy …

  4. Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

    Ah the “World Car.” My Aunt traded in her beloved “Red Bird,” a ’70 Buick Skylark with black top and interior and 350, on an ’83 Mercury Lynx, their version of the Escort. It was the most miserable car ever. It had a 3 speed automatic that waited until 9000 RPM to shift no matter how gently you were driving. After a week she wanted her Skylark back but it was already sold. Years later we saw some hippies driving the Buick, all rusted out, no hub caps, etc. and she cussed them out pretty good, but I think she was really just bitter about the Lynx.

    • John T

      If a 1.6 liter American Ford Escort/Mercury Lynx 4-cylinder engine ever reached 9000 RPM, It would have blown right through the hood! Sorry the Aunt got such a rotten deal … If only she had a good lawyer.

  5. ROAR

    Proper shifting speed is a simple problem I recall that is the same engine used in the cortina then Lotus etc. super strong, lasted forever and the base for many sports and race cars.

    • John T

      I believe that the engine you recall being used in the Cortina is the European 1.6 liter cast iron 4-cylinder engine also used in the European Ford Fiesta that was available in the U.S. from 1978 to 1980. This same 1600cc engine was also used in the Ford Pinto when it was introduced in 1971 as well as the Ford/Mercury Capri imported to the U.S. later that year and did indeed form the basis of an entire SCCA Racing Class including open wheel racers. The 1.6 liter CVH 4-cylinder that Ford used in the American Ford Escort introduced starting with the 1981 model year and the Mercury Lynx the following year was a completely different engine. Speaking from personal experience, this 1.6 American 4-banger POS was best compared to a live hand grenade. What a nightmare!

  6. Milt

    A neighbor has one of these outside under a tarp. The old tarp disintegrated and came apart in a windstorm. This thing was completely stuffed with junk and all the tires flat. Not sure why he still has this mobile garbage dump. The only $$$ he’s spent on it in the last 10 years is to get a brand new tarp.

  7. Tim Lipe

    It’s RED! It seems every vehicle posted is RED. I had a 1982 Mercury Lynx. White over Blue. I never had an issue with the car.

  8. Leon

    eBay check sheet says it has shifting problems !!!??

    • John T

      The seller has disclosed that the 3-speed automatic transmission needs work along with the CV joints.

      • John T

        In addition to the automatic transaxle and the CV joints, the seller also discloses that the Emergency/Parking brake needs work and the air conditioning system is not blowing cold air implying at the very least that it needs to be recharged.

  9. Warren

    I was a field service rep for Ford when these were out. Do not get me wrong, I bleed Ford blue, but these were close to the low for the company. Slow, and the ATX automatic transaxle shifted terribly, with many attempts to resolve but no real resolution. Interference engine with incorrect timing belt replacement intervals that caused at best, bent valves when the belt broke. Touted as a “world car” Escorts were actually 2 different animals Eur vs. US.

    Naaa pass. Had a slew if them (and their evil cousins, the Tempo/Topaz) as company cars. Nasty then, nasty now.

    • Steve

      Having owned both an Escort and a Tempo, I can say, in my experience, that the Tempo is a VASTLY superior car. For instance, I could drive my Tempo up a hill WITH the AC on (and not lose dramatic amounts of speed while doing so)!

      • John T

        It is my understanding that the 2.3 liter 4-cylinder used in the Ford Tempo and the Mercury Topaz was actually two-thirds of a straight six, Specifically the old reliable 200CID Ford 6-cylinder with 2 cylinders chopped off. Makes sense if you do the math. Not only was it far superior to the 1.6 Escort/Lynx engine but it also had a timing chain instead of the rubber timing belt that would ruin the valves on the 1.6 interference single cam engine when the belt broke.

  10. alan

    Though much safer than the Pinto as mentioned by John T the Euro version was superior in all respects save the 5 MPH mandated bumpers for bash happy Americans. A friend had a d few of these and kept them going but they were really ugly. Ford boasted of their World Car Platform but they really just made two cars that looked similar. Chrysler on the other hand made the Horizon domestically and under the Simca brand in Europe and those cars thought the were quite different were almost indistinguishable outside but never boasted World Car.

  11. Dave

    Just a preserved piece of trash.

  12. Mitch Ross

    Seems like a perfect candidate for my “Museum of the Ordinary Car”. I always had this idea that if I won the lottery (I don’t even play) I would start a museum of cars that once were common but have disappeared due to being ordinary, or in this case, problematic. It is not worth keeping to drive, but would be great to keep for posterity.

  13. Joe Nose

    My first new car out of school was an SS wagon, red over black. Dad proved how smart he was when he bought a Corolla liftback SR5, which was a much wiser move. But at least the buyer of my POS had the benefit of a new engine after mine blew up at 12,000 miles. Wonder how far THAT one lasted…

  14. angliagt

    While racing our Ford Fiestas at the SCCA Pacific Coast Runoffs
    at Sears Point,in the Showroom Stock C class,we had to go to Vallejo to get
    some parts,in 1980.
    In the showroom was the new Escort.We WERE NOT impressed
    with it,comparing the differences between it & the Fiesta.
    Later,he made a lot of money fixing the body damage the kids did
    to Escorts that were used as delivery cars by a pizza chain,near Seattle.
    OTOH,my Sister had one that she’d wrecked three times,but it just
    kept going! I had to drive it back to their house,when my BIL bought a used
    LUV 4WD – I was happy to give it back to her.

  15. glenn

    there is alot of oil coming off that front end

  16. Antoine Carr

    My lord ! Makes me miss my 1986 Mercury Lynx L same color inside and out whit the 3 speed auto .No race car but sure got us around on many many many road trips in the earlys 90s whit out much issue .Yes im a die hard Ford Mercury Lincoln fan .Those Lynx, Escor,t Exp, Ln7, were no race care but a economic groceries getter. Most of all and it di its job well id buy another if i could afford it .Some might hate em but my childhood revolve around this lil red mercury lynx L hatch one day il have another .You never forget the first car you drove .

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