Near Extinct: 1983 Mercury Lynx RS

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

Although rebadges among domestic manufacturers are fairly common, there were variants like the RS-branded Lynx that are desirable today due to being impossible to find. As essentially the higher-end trim of a model already being sold for less money on Ford dealer lots, you can imagine not too many Mercury-badged RS’ found new owners. Check out this survivor-grade example here on eBay with a $3,000 opening bid and no reserve. 

It’s the details that matter on cars like this, as the RS trim wasn’t so much a hot rod as much as it was a trim package – but those additional styling tweaks are often long-gone on cars like this. The front air dam, rear spoiler and door moulding are all components that would be near impossible to find if they were missing, along with the highly desirable Marchal fog lights (with covers!) plucked from the in-period Ford accessory parts catalog. Also note the factory decals remain well preserved along with the original selling dealer badge on the liftgate.

The interior is similarly impressive, with uncracked plastics and excellent factory sport bucket seats. The RS received unique upholstery fabric, another impossibility to replace (aside from re-creating it) if the interior was torn up. The car retains its original radio and factory sunroof, the latter of which can be removed and stored in its OEM panel bag that comes with the car. The seller notes that this is a one-owner vehicle with approximately 43,000 miles (original mileage is in KM, as this is a Canadian market vehicle).

The 90 b.h.p. 1.6L four-cylinder may not seem impressive, but it made the lightweight Lynx (and its Escort GT counterpart) quite tossable. The engine bay presents well, with just the paint bleeding off the valve cover as any indication of age. There’s no rust on this car, truly impressive considering its location in Canada, and a good indication that it wasn’t driven in winter and likely garaged since new. These are the types of examples you buy if you’re looking for a needle in the haystack like a Lynx RS, and fingers crossed it stays as preserved as it is now.

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  1. DrinkinGasoline

    I would certainly drive this one. Without A/C it would be a perspiration challenge but at least you wouldn’t have to turn it off to find passing gear or enter a highway on the entrance ramp.
    Within every dark cloud is a silver lining.

  2. Doyler

    Euro MK III Escort?

    • Shaun Dymond

      It is pretty much, Doyler. Sporting Mk 3 Escorts, like the XR3i are fetching big money here in the U.K.

    • Emmy J

      Unless I mis-remember, other than a vague resemblance the Euro and US Escorts were completely unrelated. It started out as a “world car” program but then the US side made so many changes that the result was two different cars.

      • John T

        Emmy J, You do indeed remember correctly.

  3. MRE2ME

    Canada is bigger & almost as diverse weather wise, coast to coast. Please start saying which province at least. Rust will vary or be non existent depending on location,just like the U.S. By the way O.K. Econo-box.

  4. Rich Tague

    no one SMART will pay $3000 or over for this

    • Brian Jackson

      Shoot, I don’t know about that. Even if the thing never appreciates one dime, you’ve got yourself an extremely unique driver in good condition. Sure, you could also buy a 15 year old accord with 200k miles for the same price, but that’s not an improvement in any way.

    • John T

      Someone on EBay has bid $3850!

  5. JimmyJ

    British Columbia car. I live here and drive a 93 gmc not a speck of rust on it.

    • Andre

      … Sounds right. Here in Ontario I’m waiting for the rust to start in my ’13 Silverado.. 1993’s you can see through!

  6. Superdessucke

    Too bad it is not a rare 1984 – 85 turbo version. If it was, I’d be on my way to Canada LOL!

    Anyway, this brings back some memories. One friend of mine had a 1983 Escort GT version of this exact car (in black) and another had a 1983 EXP which I think had the same engine and drivetrain. Pretty fun to drive cars though not particularly quick.

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Wasn’t there a Mercury equivalent to the EXP? If so, I can’t remember the name right now.

      • Todd Zuercher

        Mercury LN7. And yes, a hardcore Ford guy like myself had to look it up because I couldn’t remember it…..

      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        Thanks Todd.
        I was going to look it up, but decided to let someone else have the fun. 😉

      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        I’ll see an EXP every blue moon, but cannot recall seeing an LN7 in probably 20 years.

  7. John W

    It would cost me almost the current bid to import and ship it. Wish it was closer to me…very tempting. Nicely kept car.

  8. KevinR

    I like it. It has been 35 years since I have driven one, but my memory tells me it wasn’t a bad drive. Not nearly as refined as Mk1 VWs of the time, but not bad at all. The rarity and the condition are what attracts me.

    Still on TRX tires… those would have to go. I’m thinking something a bit bigger and wider.

    Sadly, I have no where to put a car like this.


    A friend had one and we swapped vehicles over the weekend once. As I remember we both had dates…but without our steady girlfriends. That is another story.

    His Lynx RS was just like the car above. It wasn’t anything I was used to driving. For one thing I drove it ALL weekend without putting in any gas. Had a great stereo (Fords did) good power and 5 fun to drive 5 spd. Handled pretty well too.Afterward it was kinda hard to trade back.

    These were a very good car for Ford at the time. They were everywhere.The earlier Escorts were bad about timing belts breaking/bending the valves as I remember. All that aside far surpassed GM’s small car answer the Chitvette. I considered an Escort GT in 1988 for a min.but came to my senses and bought a Mustang GT which wasn’t a mistake or was it? One day the Escorts, EXP’s and Lynx’s were all gone.

    The asking price is an amazing deal. Talk about a great car to have at Cars and Coffee. This is it. I just don’t see how one could go wrong. Use it as a daily and roll up the miles while keeping it nice I believe you would have no trouble making money. Unlike a new car and loosing $15K right off the lot!

  10. Todd Zuercher

    This is has to be a one of one!

  11. Warren

    I bought a 84 Escort GT as my first new car. Not a bad car, fun to drive with the 5 speed, TRX tires were expensive then and I am sure very difficult to find now. No GTI that is for sure.

  12. XYZOL

    Hey, are these Fiat Mirafiori wheels?

    EDIT: no, I can see they came like that from factory. Very similar though 🙂

  13. Howard A Member

    An ’83 Lynx RS,,,,(whistling),,,who (originally) was sportin’ that kind of cash? Got give Detroit credit, they took a basic car like the Escort/Lynx, and made it sporty. These were “once around” cars. Amazing one survived at all.

  14. Patrick D.

    Believe it or not, 90hp from 1600cc in 1982 was actually a lot of power! Remember that the GTI for similar vintage, the one that everyone raves about, also had 90hp, from 1800cc.

    We truly became spoiled for power in the last decade and a half.

  15. JohnM

    “Near” extinct? You could knock me over with a feather that these aren’t totally extinct. Though I just saw an early Dodge Omni in the wild the other day so you never know.

  16. Paul Hudson

    I had one of these new. The Escort GT Version. Red with Tan interior. It was a non-AC car too with sunroof. It was my first new car. I think it listed for $8200 and I paid $7700. It was a very comfortable little car and I thought really nice looking at the time. This was the first fuel injected escort and it did have one issue. It would stall when I pushed in the clutch after warming up. As I came to a stop and pushed in the clutch it would immediately stall. I’d lift my foot off the clutch to restart it and then it was fine until the next light. I eventually fooled with it myself and removed a switch / wire from the clutch pedal and it stopped doing it. It never got under 30MPG and on two occasions driving to Ocean City MD on flat 50-55 MPH road it reached 50 MPG. I’d buy another but would prefer an early EXP if one could be found. Not the bubble window one the original. By the way in 1984 when I replaced the TRX tires they were $100 each which was a fortune back then. They are beautiful wheels though.

  17. Steve

    $3k is max worth!!!

    I would have to swap those TRX wheels for some aluminum wheels off a later model GT. It’s getting hard to find competitively priced tires under 16″ any more, but at least they are available!

    • John T

      SOLD Saturday August 26 on EBay for $3850.

  18. Sam

    I did not think I’d ever see another one of these, much less this nice, outside of photographs from the past. Incredible to see one in this shape. This one has the exact same steering wheel that was in my dads ’81 Mustang GT.

    • z28th1s

      They didn’t make an ’81 Mustang GT, probably was an ’82.

      This is probably the nicest Lynx RS left on the planet! Would be a fun car to have!

  19. Roger Classes

    The 1984 Ford Escort XR-3, I love this car!

    • John T

      That looks like the much more desirable European version.

  20. Mercury man

    Wow! Made my week. I wish I had the money to buy/ship this car. For all of you that say 3grand tops you truly have no idea what you are missing. I had an 83 RS in medium Grey. Alloy TRX wheels, 4hole telephone style. I put 780,000 km on mine over 5 years. Never needed anything other than routine maintenance. I went nuts with the BAT catalog, euro sway bars, poly bushings, koni and lowering springs. I switched to 14″ tempo alloys because of the amount of driving I did. I loved that car. Comfortable seats, upgrade cd player. Sunroof out and cruise all day. Not fast or especially quick but got amazing gas mileage and it only improved with age. I saved every picture in the listing. I loaned it to a friend of mine who was having a bad time. He was supposed to pay me a little bit for the car but never did. He scrapped it when it blew out #1 spark plug. The wrecker wouldn’t let me buy it back. The body was still mint. No rust anywhere. I miss that car. Thanks for the happy memories Ford and Barn Finds!

  21. Greg Standing Bear

    I gotta say, I love this car. It’s nice to see one optioned out to maximize the available performance.

    I owned an ’81 Escort L and always preferred the up-and-away dash of the ’81-’83 Escort/Lynx to the later models. The front compartment feels much less confining to me than in the later cars.

    Still, I’d prefer an ’84 RS due to the revised and much improved rear suspension.

    While this one has a sunroof, I’d be tempted to scrounge up front side window assemblies with ventipanes to further make up for the lack of A/C.

    If only the RS Wagon had been available beyond ’81…

  22. Brian Jackson

    Man, so many responses! This is the best thing with old commutrer cars. EVERYBODY HAD ONE! Or they knew someone who did. I enjoy these conversation whenever I drive my 69 Corvair Monza. No, it’s not appreciating like Porsches recently have. But I can afford it, enjoy working on it, driving it, racing it, and everybody has a story.


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