Sunday, September 28, 2014

2k: Grandpa Car: 1986 Ford Escort

The term Grandpa car gets tossed around a bit, but today's feature is described by the seller as a Grandpa car, so we mean not harm when we use it today.  Actually, this is the kind of car your Grandpa would drive because no one with his facilities intact would ever have purchased this car new or driven it for a few decades.  Find this 1986 Ford Escort with 65k miles on the odometer offered for $1,999 in Novato, CA via craigslist.

The first generation of Ford Escort bound for North America was intended to share parts with the European Mk III escort.  Early versions had an Escort badge on the fenders that included an image of a globe to show how much of a world car it really was.  Unfortunately the US version was almost entirely different and lost all of the Ford of Europe magic that made the version across the pond a legend. However, this particular example is a cut above the average junker found at scrap yard and is offered for a cheap price.

This Escort is powered by an electronic fuel injected 1.9 liter version of the CVH engine that is rated at 88 horsepower.  Power is sent to standard 4-speed manual gearbox but there was also an available 5-speed upgrade as well as a 3-speed slushbox -- this one is listed by the seller as manual, so it is probably the base 4-speed.

See another blue plate grandpa special?


  1. Fleetwood T. BroughamSeptember 28, 2014 at 6:01 PM

    Wow, these were truly disposable cars. I'm guessing that CA is the only place you will regularly find one of these in non-junkyard/ferrous oxide state these days.

  2. Mine was one of the most boring and unbreakable cars ever, at a time when reliability was generally suspect.

  3. First let me just say that I often find myself out of step with the rest of humanity; with that in mind here goes. I would love to have a MK1 or MK2 Escort like this. These cars are very light and as mentioned most have rusted away, so you would have exclusivity. You could update the suspension and brakes from a junk yard Escort ZX2 and then ponder the nearly limitless array of power plants and never have to stray from the Ford/Mazda family. A stock Ztec would give an immediate 42 HP increase, a Duratec 52 HP, that’s significant in a car weighing about 2000 LBS, and both engines would retain everyday drivability.
    You could go radical and put a complete Miata drive train in and have a rear drive Escort. Keep it as stock looking as possible with 15 inch steelies, and enjoy a quick and entertaining grocery getter.
    But that’s just me, a classic hatchback geek; a cult of one.

    1. It would be a good starting point if you wanted to build a replica XR2i or something like that, but you'd be spending a lot of time and money undoing all the stuff Ford did 'Americanizing' the Escort.

      If $2K is 'a cheap price', and you're willing to deal with the occasional old-car glitch, then go grab the (currently) top listing here:

      '91 9000 Turbo 5-speed, pretty high miles, Aero seats and euro headlights, looks very nice outside, no pics of the interior.

      I'd love it myself, but I've got too much stuff in the driveway already.

    2. I already have a Volvo S60 R, six speed manual, three Miatas and a Capri XR2, so the stable is full here too (even though I do like Saabs). I wouldn't worry about making the car look like an XR2, I'd just make it perform like one with junk yard parts, old hot rod style. You have Escort ZX2's out there that can donate suspension and brake upgrades, and then there are the engine choices I mentioned.
      Light weight cars like this Escort are a vanishing breed, it doesn't take 300 HP turbos to make a 2000 fun. About 150 HP and a balanced suspension with good brakes and you wouldn't be able to keep the silly grin off your face.

    3. I agree, and it's something of the impetus behind two of my current projects (it's be nice if I could even finish one...) but for something like that in the little-FWD-Ford arena I'd personally go either one generation earlier and chase a late '70s Fiesta or one generation later and find one of the Mazda-based Escorts.

  4. You forgot FORD called this a world car we had a few @ work i remember going around a corner and the front tire was trying to rip off the rim would have been a good farm plow !

  5. I had a 1986 Ford Escort Pony. No power steering no power brakes. A 4 speed stick shift. I wish I had the car still.


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