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Thread: Ford Escort (North America) 1st gen 1980-1990

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    The North American variant of the Ford Escort is a compact/small family car introduced by Ford in 1980 for the 1981 model year. Sharing its name with the third-generation European Ford Escort, the model line is the first front-wheel drive Ford developed and sold in North America. The direct successor of the Ford Pinto, as the smallest Ford car in North America, the Escort largely replaced the European-imported Ford Fiesta.

    Overcoming the tarnished reputation for quality and safety established by the fuel tank defect of the Pinto, the Escort became highly successful in the American marketplace. After 1982, the model line became the best-selling car in the United States, a position it held during most of the 1980s.

    The 1981 replacement of the Pinto by the Escort was the first Ford model line to adapt front-wheel drive. By the end of the 1980s, nearly the entire Ford car range would adopt the powertrain layout (with the sole exception of the Mustang, Thunderbird, and LTD Crown Victoria/Country Squire).

    The Escort was produced across three generations. The first was Ford's first "world car", designed as Ford of Europe transitioned the Escort Mk III to front-wheel drive. In North America, the model line was also sold as the Mercury Lynx and the two-seat Ford EXP/Mercury LN7 (no version was sold by the Lincoln division). Introduced for 1991, the second generation became a near-twin of the Mazda-designed Ford Laser (a model line sold in Asia and Oceania); sharing a platform and powertrain with the Mazda 323, the Escort grew into the compact car segment. The second generation was also sold as the Mercury Tracer. For 1997, the third generation was an extensive redesign of the second-generation platform Escort sedan, introducing the ZX2 coupe; Mercury continued to sell the Tracer sedan and wagon.

    For the 1999 model year, the Ford Focus succeeded the Escort as the compact model line as a new-generation "world car"; after the 2000 model year, the Escort shifted primarily to fleet sales, ending production after the 2002 model year.

    During its entire production, the Escort was produced by Wayne Stamping & Assembly (Wayne, Michigan) and Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly (Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico); the first generation was also produced by Edison Assembly (Edison, New Jersey), San Jose Assembly Plant (Milpitas, California), and Oakville Assembly (Oakville, Ontario, Canada).

    First generation (MY 1981-1990)
    The first North American Escort went on sale on October 3, 1980, for the 1981 model year, along with its corporate twin, the Mercury Lynx. It was intended to share common components with the European Mk III Escort. It was launched with a 65 hp (48 kW), 1.6-liter hemi overhead cam inline-four. It was available as a three-door hatchback and as a five-door station wagon, with a four-speed manual or a three-speed automatic.[2] The five-door hatchback was first shown in May 1981. The North American Escort had considerably more chrome than Escorts sold elsewhere (except for the 1981 SS model and 1982+ GT models which feature blacked out trim). 1981 models never had the blue oval logo; on the front fenders there was an Escort badge which included a globe representing the earth, which implied this was a "world car". The 1981 Escort was available with an "SS" package that included blacked-out trim, a special stripe and decal package, upgraded brakes, and wider tires. The SS package would be replaced with the Escort GT the following year due to an interaction with General Motors.

    The car was freshened in 1982, and added Ford's blue oval logo for the first time along with a new grille. For 1982 models, the base price of the Escort three-door was $5,518. The engine was also uprated, to 70 hp (52 kW). In March 1982 an HO (high output) version of the engine was added, originally only in the EXP and with an automatic transmission, but soon thereafter available with a manual and also in the sporting Escort GT (which had replaced the SS). This unit produces 80 hp (60 kW), thanks to a higher compression ratio, a new exhaust system, and larger venturis in the carburetor. In addition to the HO engine, the GT featured cosmetic changes such as "GT" emblems and stripes, while under the shell there were uprated brakes and a close-ratio four-speed gearbox. Also included were metric TR sport wheels with Michelin TRX tires.

    For 1984, the GLX model was dropped and replaced with a fuel-injected LX model, available as a five-door hatchback or wagon, with a GT engine, blackout trim, and styled cast aluminum wheels. The interior received a new dashboard, and new rubber shift boots for manual models; automatic models received new gear selector levers with straight lines for gear selection instead of the twisting "?" mark pattern of the previous models.

    Although the basic silhouette was the same, it was almost completely different from the European version, apart from the Ford CVH engine. There was a 1.6 L engine, a four-speed MTX-2 and a five-speed MTX-3 manual transmission as standard options, and an optional three-speed ATX/FLC automatic transmission. A 1.3 L engine was designed and a prototype made, but it did not see production due to lack of power, and an inability to get it certified.[2] Beginning in 1983, a GT model offered a multi-port EFI version of the 1.6 L four-cylinder that increased power by 20 hp over the base carbureted version. It also came with a five-speed transmission, TRX handling package, front and rear spoilers, metric-sized alloy wheels and fog lights. Also beginning with the 1984 model year, the Ford EXP received the option of the turbocharged 1.6 L four-cylinder rated at 120 hp (89 kW) and matching torque.[6] The turbo engine then found its way into the Escort GT (and Lynx RS) during the 1984 model year. 1984 was also the year that Mazda's two-liter diesel engine became available in the Escort and Lynx.

    1985-1990
    The 1985 model received a facelift (less chrome, restyled tail lamps, flush headlights), and the 1.6 L engine was replaced with a 1.9 L. GT models featured high output engines with revised intake manifolds, cylinder heads and real headers available only with manual transmissions. The Lynx was retired for 1987, but was replaced by the Mazda 323-derived "Tracer" model. (This Mazda platform was revamped in 1989 and debuted as the 1990 Mazda Protege. The updated platform formed the basis for the next generation (1990–1996) Escort/Tracer.)

    The Escort saw another minor facelift in mid-1988, which smoothed out the front and rear fascias. New plastic bumpers (which replaced the metal bumpers), larger rear side windows, a more rounded rear-end design and larger (14 inch versus 13 inch) wheels modernized the look of the cars. Three-door hatchback models had curving windowlines along the sides towards the rear of the cars. The engine was also updated with a slightly revised camshaft and roller lifters. The new design is commonly referred to as the "88.5" year, and existed until the end of the 1990 model year.

    Finding some popularity during the final three years of this generation was the Pony model, which was the least-expensive U.S.-built Ford at the time. Pony models used plainer interior trim with greater use of vinyl and plastic instead of cloth, and four-speed manual transaxles were standard, although buyers could opt for the five-speed found in LX models or the three-speed ATX automatic. The list of available options was very limited, to the extent that such luxuries as power steering and factory-installed air conditioning were not offered (a dealer-installed A/C system was available). Given their lighter weight, Pony models were known for their ability to deliver excellent fuel economy, with mileage upwards of 40 mpg‑US (5.9 L/100 km; 48 mpg‑imp) in highway driving not uncommon.

    Source: Wikipedia
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    Last edited by Man of Steel; 12-28-2020 at 02:03 PM.

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    Last edited by Man of Steel; 12-28-2020 at 02:07 PM.

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