A strictly conventional car (even by the manufacturer's standards) but Ford knew precisely what the public wanted. The Escort was the car for the everyman, catering for most aspects of motoring and not surprisingly it was a success from the day it was launched. The plush Escort Ghia would have enticed many into the showrooms with its blue velour seats with headrests, centre console and clock, all of which helps elevate it above the humble versions. However, it was the fitting of side mouldings, additional chrome trim and the vinyl roof that would get the neighbours curtains twitching.
Finished in the iconic metallic Stratos Silver, this 1.3-litre Ghia 4 door saloon, with a recorded 58,366 miles comes supplied with its original invoices and documentation from the Allen Taylor Ford dealership in South West London. The low mileage and one owner status could be considered something of a unicorn in Escort circles. It has been kept in storage for a number of years and is an exceptionally original example of a desirable Ghia model, with plenty of potential to become a show winner.
As a run-out model, this late Ghia with a manual gearbox would have shared the showroom with the MK3 Escort, but this shrewd customer knew that the last edition of an outgoing model made more sense than a brand new FWD Escort. Chances are that as a run-out model, the owner would have also been enticed with a healthy discount to clear the last of the MK2 models.
Bought by its owner in November 1980, he treated himself to his first-ever new car. A momentous occasion for anyone, he specified the Ghia, which offered the highest spec trim available for the four-door MK2 Escort at the time. What followed was years of dedication, care and attention lavished upon this example of the once-ubiquitous Escort. Garaged all its life, it was seldom used in bad weather and really lived a charmed life, with regular maintenance and upkeep. Sadly, the car is now in the hands of relatives, who are now dealing with the sale of this cherished ‘Bessie’ (this was the owner's pet name of the car) following his untimely passing. Obviously of huge sentimental value, they felt the best way forward was to allow a new owner to continue the journey on behalf of the Escorts original guardian.
What singles this example out is the provenance and retention of paraphernalia connected to the car, which includes the majority of the road tax discs, a handful of period photos and all of the original handbooks. However, it is the original sales documentation, which also includes copies of the original cheque that suggests a higher level of ownership. The car has a recorded mileage of 58,366 miles, having covered not much more than 2,000 miles in the last 20 years. As collectors of Ford will know, this kind of detail and documentation makes all the difference, with complete originality being the key to this car. The Ghia was also subject to a magazine feature in a prominent Ford mag and the car is also known by the Sporting Escort owners club, who can verify the status of this remarkably well-loved example.
The interior is in good condition, although it has to be said that the seats would benefit from a deep clean, they are all in good condition with no rips with minor signs of age. The seat bench and bolsters have worn the years well and there are no significant signs of wear, the head-rests are standard for the Ghia. The door cards are in good condition and could clean up very well too. The carpets are in good condition and complete. The dashboard is in very good condition with minor signs of wear and tear, the top of the facia is crack free. The wood capping livens up the presentation considerably. A peek into the glovebox, revealed a pleasant surprise, with an almost full complement of the cars previous tax disc, including its original 1980 issue as well as the full complement of handbooks. Some of the switches have aged somewhat but could be renewed without issue. The steering wheel and gear stick are in very good condition, with only the leather gaiter showing signs of age. The centre console is a standard Ghia fitment, which includes a clock and a Honeywell Cassette/radio stereo and front speakers in the front footwells. The headlining is unmarked and in excellent condition. The boot presentation is good, with a typical level of use but certainly not abuse.
Structurally the body is in excellent shape, there is no evidence of mismatched panels, with the panel gaps all equal. There are no issues with the opening and closing of doors. The car has been stood unused for a period, which has meant that small areas of corrosion have started to do their work, but these are confined to the off-side rear wheel arch and lower sections of the rear arches. There are also signs of bubbling developing on the off-side of the C pillar under the vinyl roof. The engine bay, boot section, all doors, floorpan, inner wings and bulkheads appear to be in good condition. There are no signs of careless abuse of the body and is free from significant dents.
The paint is in decent condition, with a handful of flat spots but overall it has maintained a good lustre and there are no signs of overspray. The car is free from road stone chips with just a few age-related scratches and door edge chips observed. The lower sections have been treated to rustproofing, which appears to have been largely successful. The glass is in good condition with no significant marks, with no chips or cracks observed. The glass and door rubber trim are generally in good condition, although the chrome trim around the glass rubber would benefit from renewal. The exterior brightwork is good, with some signs of age evident - a light pitting is observed on the bumpers but would potentially polish out. The headlamps have deteriorated slightly too. The rear lenses appear to be in good condition. All the exterior trim, including the badges and specific Ghia fittings, are complete. The vinyl roof is in very good condition, with no signs of age and has clearly been well maintained. The wheels are in decent condition, with typical signs of lack of use coming through on the steel wheels. The chrome ring embellishers show some signs of age but are dent free. Two of the Goodyear tyres show signs of deterioration and would benefit from a replacement, the other two were replaced in 2004. The car comes with a spare tyre, which appears to be the original. An inspection of the underside of the car reveals no significant horrors, the chassis rails. jacking points and suspension mounts are solid.
Mechanically the car starts up with no issues at all, the engine runs well with no unwanted knocking noises coming from the engine, and runs smoothly but would benefit from a tune-up and service. The exhaust is in good condition and after a little bit of condensation due to the cold start, it settled nicely. The engines physical condition is in line with the age of the car - there’s potential here to roll up your sleeves and smarten up the cosmetics. No engine leaks were observed, although the differential had damp patches. Due to lack of recent use, the brakes will need to be checked but they do function. The car will be exempt from road tax and MOT this coming April but considering the lack of road use, it will still need to be trailed away for peace of mind. Electrically, all of the main items seem to function, although consumables like bulbs and fuses will need to be properly tested. The battery is a relatively recent instalment.
The owner loved this car. It's very clear to see. He also encouraged the aspect of people approaching him to start conversions about the Escort. This is very much part of the appeal of the car, and as Car and Classic was privileged enough to consign and photograph the car on behalf of the family, many passers-by made positive comments, followed by a few dewy-eyed recollections of youthful experiences in an Escort. Of course, the Escort also has a reputation for being an entertaining drive, with the bonus of low running costs, superb parts and support availability. It also has to be mentioned that the values of the RWD Ford Escorts are considered to be safe investments, especially for cars that offer this level of originality. This particular example, thanks to its one owner status, low mileage and potential to bring up to scratch means that we can end this summary by confidently stating that, by being one of the UK’s best-loved Fords, it practically sells itself.
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