Ford Escort 1.6LX | Shed of the week
Alright, sharpen your pencils online, it’s escort time again. Actually, “again” is a little harsh because we’ve only had two other escorts in the last ten years of this column. One was an XR3i convertible. The other was a five-door gen-six, like today’s shed, but powered (if you’ll excuse the word) by the depressing 59hp SOHC Endura 8-valve engine, a muleish thing that could tracing its ancestry back to the late 1940s and fitting the term “lump” well.
Last year’s escort melted one of PH’s smaller servers as the posters fought to vent their spleens in displays of righteous spitting anger. The exciting 16v badge on the back of today’s effort tells us it’s a whole different ballgame. OK, maybe not that different to look at, but when new the latest 1.6 LX model produced a mighty 89 bhp from its twin-cam Zetec engine. Virtually supersonic in comparison.
The Cardiff-based dealership selling this advises us that there are a few rust spots and the bodywork needs some attention, which sounds a little worrying – but the latest MOT in November has only a few reviews in this area, namely ‘rear rear exterior wheel arch lightly corroded’ and ‘subframe assembly repair covered with sub-seal all the way underneath’ Shed isn’t sure what that last part means, but he likes the sound.
Speaking of tacky black goo, the license plates are weird. They look like they’ve been cleaned with a molasses sponge or an oily rag at best. You also get the distinct impression that neither owner has bothered to open the hood at any point because it’s quite dirty underneath. However, you could never make the same accusation inside. It’s not far from fresh in the showroom. There is virtually none of the sags that usually characterize older, partially velor upholstery. How did they handle this? Only 37,000 miles under its cambelt would have helped.
Of course, the Generation Six will never attract the kind of prices now being paid for previous Escorts, because by the time it reached this iteration it had been molded into an ambitious car with no motorsport heritage. The closest thing to pedigree was when an owner filled their trunk with Macro’s dog food. However, this car’s 1997 registration makes it a final year Escort, which is surely worth something if you’re interested in that sort of thing and want something to brag about at an upcoming Festival. of the Unexceptional.
As we speak, many of you will no doubt be looking up your cursing dictionaries and revising the price by moving the decimal point to the left two or even three places, just like you did a year ago with this Endura Escort, but Shed is thick – skinned enough to take all the spit. He knows that at the end of its life, the Escort was not as bad as is generally said. Or at least it was as good as it was going to be. Many buyers liked it anyway.
It’s hard to believe, however, that at the same time this car was lovingly broken down on a production line in an exotic location like Istanbul, Argentina or Halewood, Ford was putting the finishing touches on the Focus, a car that in dynamic terms were about as close to the escort as Usain Bolt was to Fred Dibnah.
The thing is, a lot of people love Fred Dibnah. Not in the way that they might like Usain Bolt, but the question you have to ask yourself is this: which of these two people would you rather have your factory chimney taken down?
As a finishing touch or maybe just for fun, take a close look at the photos of our Escort and see if you can catch a glimpse of any of the Focus’ New Edge design cues there. (Hint: it’s in the cabin). There is no price other than a slight feeling of personal satisfaction. Plus, it might make you forget the anger that brought you here in the first place.