Nicest One Left? 1983 Mercury Lynx LS

The Mercury Lynx was a rebadged version of the Ford Escort subcompact. Both cars would debut in the Fall of 1980 for the 1981 model year, replacing the Pinto and Bobcat. They were inspired by the European Mk III Escort, although the cars would ultimately share little except their exterior silhouette. This low mileage survivor from 1983 might just be the nicest one left around, so is this a car that collectors could learn to embrace? Available in Atlanta, Georgia and here on Bring A Trailer, the bidding for this little transport has reached $2,500 with no reserve. Thanks, Dr. John, for uncovering this 38-year-old original for us.

First-generation Escorts and Lynx’s ran between 1981-90. The seller’s 1983 Mercury version is an LS model with a higher level of creature comforts in a 3-door hatchback configuration. It’s powered by a 1.6-liter inline-4 with a 2-barrel carburetor, matched to a factory-installed 5-speed manual transmission. The little motor was rated at 80 horsepower and the Lynx was equipped with 4-wheel independent suspension and front disc brakes.

This car was purchased at a Lincoln-Mercury dealer in Michigan and still wears license plates from that state although it’s titled in South Carolina and offered for sale in Georgia. It has managed to accumulate only 44,000 miles in the past 38 years, so this is not your usual econobox that was ridden hard. The white Lynx wears red pinstriping which matches with the red interior, which looks as though it has hardly ever been used. The body, chrome and glass all look good. There is a bit of surface rust on the chassis and drivetrain components, but nothing you might not expect after all this time.

Getting back to the interior, it’s amazing just how clean it us. There is a center console with a graphic warning display, speed control, AM/FM cassette stereo, rear window defroster, and a period-correct Ameritech car phone which I assume service can still be purchased. The Lynx comes with a plethora of documentation, including L-M literature, warranty identification card and tag, and the original sales invoice that reflects a delivered cost in 1983 of $9,493. The car even found itself featured in Car and Driver in 2017 after winning the Editors’ Choice award.

Online price guides aren’t optimistic on the resale value of these automobiles, all placing them in used car territory, at no more than $2,500. But condition is everything on these cars and this Lynx could be the nicest one you might find. It could make a great second or third car for putzing around town or going to and from school. But Cars & Coffee? Nah.

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Comments

  1. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    The ex-wife had an ’81 Mercury Lynx, not quite as fancy inside as this one but similar. Hers was blue on blue and was a dependable little car. I drove it quite often and found it to be a good handler with great MPGs. We kept it a few years but traded it in for new Cutlass Ciera. If you’re just looking for a good, dependable commuter/daily driver with good gas mileage, this will do the job nicely.

    Like 6
  2. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    This is pretty cool, in its own way. Very well preserved, has some creature comforts. Has a 5-speed which makes it a bit more fun to drive. For not much money this could be an enjoyable car to run errands, and I’d gladly take it to Cars and Coffee and mix it up with the “big boys.”

    Like 14
    • Mark

      I knew a couple back in the 1990s that had a Lynx sedan and a wagon.

      DIESEL engine.

      They lived 40 miles from me and came to my town every day to work

      Both cars racked up 200,000 plus miles at @ 40 mpg.

      Like 6
  3. Todd Fitch Staff

    My Aunt traded her beloved “Red Bird,” a 1971 Buick Skylark hardtop coupe for one of these when it was about a year old, and about four days later wanted her Buick back, but it was gone to auction. With the three-speed automatic the Lynx was a contender for worst car I ever drove. Maybe it would be tolerable with a five-speed. I’d still take the Skylark, but I hope the right person finds this little ’80s cream-puff and enjoys it. Thanks for the write-up Russ!

    Like 5
  4. gyates

    I had one of these, 1982 model. Mine was more of a base model, but it did have a/c and the “ho” engine, along with a 4 speed manual. It was fine for what it was. Timing belt broke around 50k, but the internal damage was covered under a Ford program. Only other major repair was the heater core. Sold it with around 95k on it, still running well, and bought a 1989 Mercury Tracer.

    Like 2
  5. William Russell

    I leased a 1982 Lynx 5 door LS in the same color scheme. 24 miles after the warranty expired the transmission failed. Thankfully, Ford did cover the repair because I had previously noted that shifting was rough when it was in for routine service. Traded it 2 years into the lease for a 1984 Grand Marquis which was a far better automobile.

    Like 2
  6. JCA

    Definitely rare. One reason is that $8k was a lot for an economy car in 83. For the same price, I think 5 speed buyers would likely have chosen the Escort GT instead. More HP and more reliable as the GT had fuel injection. Better seats, spoilers and fog lights. Most or maybe all had the iconic 80’s rear hatch louvers too. This car has has that rental car look

    Like 2
  7. Fred W

    I was a diehard Ford guy until the early 80’s, when I drove a used Escort . After experiencing the rubbery shift linkage and anemic engine and comparing it to my ’80 Colt with Twin Stick, I never bought another American vehicle.

    Like 1
  8. Jcs

    I’ve looked at this little car closely. Stable is full and am not looking to replace any, otherwise I’d certainly bid on this car. And, uh, let’s see, how can I put this…let’s just say that it would be my only Ford.

    Russ Dixon, I have to disagree with your Cars and Coffee comment. Pull in – right in the middle of the plethora of Ferraris and Lamborghinis section – unfold your little chair, kick back and bask in the glow of the amount of attention you get as well as the wonderful fellowship. This thing would be just like an insect zapper.

    Like 13
    • Chester

      Yes indeed! People are tired of going to shows and seeing cars that few had back when they were young, but everyone had one like this or knew someone who did. Memories are more valuable then fresh chrome and horse power sitting behind a rope.

      Like 9
  9. Paul

    I had an mid 80s Ford Escort similar time this and enjoyed it for a number of years. Extremely easy to work on, you could replace the clutch by removing the passenger front tire removing a small cover behind it, pulling a few bolts. Then raise the engine hood, pull a small plate from the top of the transmission and pull out the clutch. Drop in a new clutch and reverse the process. Took about 30-40 minutes!
    During the 20”+ inch snow jam of Atlanta in March 1993, I drove that escort 60 miles, passing a Jeep and multiple trucks stuck in the snow, never had a problem in the Escort. Put 250k miles on it before it ever quit on me ! I would be thrilled to own this Lynx!

    Like 3
  10. Mike

    Nicest one left? How about the only one left?

    Like 6
  11. Ben T. Spanner

    In 1983 my boss ordered a new blue Escort as my company car. I quit.

    Like 4
  12. Motorcityman Member

    I had a new 83 Blue manual Escort “GL” I think it was.
    Did a drive around the whole state of Michigan upper and lower peninsula with 2 friends from England
    Only problem I had with that car was a failed ignition stator.
    MPG was awesome at around 40 or more!

    Like 1
  13. Kevin

    I had an 84,2 door,1.6,5-speed,paid $150 in early 90s,it needed a quart of oil a week or more,wanted to sputter and stall,all the time,had to rev.at red lights,put up with for a few months, junked it for $50.2 positive comments =cheap on gas comfortable seats,otherwise a real turd!

  14. Steve Bush Member

    The $2500 price is about right for an average early 1980s economy car in decent running condition.

  15. JeffChiTown

    The car phone will never work again. It is an analog model and cellular went digital about 10 years ago. Analog is no longer supported.

    Like 1
  16. bone

    We used to get these things ( the Escort sister too ) in droves in our junkyard back in the mid 1980s -yes ,mid 80s ! the heads always developed cracks between the valves at around 50k , and at the time it was an expensive fix to buy a new head from Ford- people just didn’t want to put money in an econobox and they just gave up on them. We didn’t even pay for them. Around 1986 they used a different engine and those were a good economy car. This car has 44k on it so if its never been apart, I would see if you can still get heads for them.

    Like 2
  17. Rich

    The diesel version escort got 60+ mpg, better than a Honda 750 street bike! My co worker had one and 60-66 mpg highway is what he said he was getting!!! Of coarse he added, it takes all afternoon to get to 55!!!!

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