1978 Ford Escort Ghia 2.0 from Australia and New Zealand
This is the last car I will ever buy and I'm 24, I love the bloody thing
Rust!! but what do you expect after 25 years.
Oil leaks, but again what do you expect.
Carby needle sticking at times giving weird idling speed - easy fix.
Strange things going on with the taillights due to ground faults, wire corrosion - easy fix.
The intermittent wiper speed didn't work for some odd reason.
The bloody indicator stalk is on the wrong side of the steering column! LEFT? what the... will result in you turning on the wipers allot at first.
The horn is in an equally weird spot... is a button... on the indicator stalk?!? Will have you punching the steering wheel in frustration to no avail.
Rusted out radiator, replaced. The radiator is too small and will heat up a bit during aussie summer and on long trips at sustained high speed. Haven't done a head gasket yet though :)
RUNS ON LEADED FUEL - big bummer although runs OK on the lead additive.
The engine really needs to be warmed up and can be a bugger to start on a freezing cold morning.
The brakes won't stop you in a hurry unless you hit em hard, which will likely make them lock up. Take allot of getting used to. Also had leaking rear brakes initially!
The seals on the windscreen cracked in the summer heat, resulting in a wet passenger side floor and an interesting moss thing going on the following winter.
Radiator hose exploded - like I could see that coming?
And the alternator died.
The escort will knock your head off. This car surprises the hell out of everyone that gets in it, initially thinking it's just an old piece of crap... a cute one, but still crap.
The mk2 escort is the most fun car I have ever driven and this is including anything build by hsv or fpv. Even my hardcore V8 mates can't help, but LOVE driving this car.
This cars performance sticks in people's head for years after, even if they were only a brief passenger. It is often referred to as "the beast".
BE WARNED however not to bother with anything other than the 2 liter escort, the smaller engines are just gutless.
There is something almost primal about an escort, it's loud, rough and unrefined... but it just communicates so well to the driver. It's a hard thing to grasp until you drive one, but you just feel like a part of the car.
The handling is a blast. It's agile and sticky, but you can still slide the rear out with ease if you are so inclined to push it a bit far.
The turning circle is CRAZY, I could nearly do a you turn in one go in my street. Needless to say reverse parking is obsolete in this car, can just go in forwards all the time. The body roll is a little excessive at times tho, but can be fixed with a strut brace or other cheap suspension add ons.
The cabin visibility is awesome. Even though the mirrors are tiny. The ride is mostly comfortable unless you go over a speed bump, which is just an awful experience. Driving an escort on a highway on a windy day requires lots of attention. The wind catches this baby very easily and drags the steering.
There is little room for storage though, tiny glove box and no center console. Virtually no front parcel shelf. Cool instrument dials though, remember how the VH and VK had that silly manifold vacuum meter and the VL just had that ugly clock next to the speedo? Escorts have proper tachometers! Now how many cars from the 70's/early 80's can say that aye?
The gearbox lever doesn't have any of that smooth, quiet spring loaded rubbish seen on newer cars that seem to select the gear for you... it clunks and is deliberate, you can actually feel what gear you're selecting however the gearchange throws are surprisingly short and way too fun. You will often find yourself changing gears more often than necessary just because it is so much fun, especially 2nd to 3rd.
The clutch feels awesome and has a very short pedal travel which lets you do some damn fast, clutch stabbing gear changes.
Must admit the reverse gear is in an odd spot and can cause trouble for those that don't know how to find it. First gear also feels a little to short.
The brakes... discs at the front, drums on back and they do stop the car. The pedal is HEAVY as hell though and requires a massive amount of force to bring the car to a sudden stop. Come to think of it, any stop at all. Will scare the hell out of you the first time you push them even during gentle braking. Fine when you get used to the herculean force required...
The motor... well... it's an odd thing. It sounds almost like a diesel truck engine from outside the car.
This is all at your regular cruising rpm though, once you hit about 3500 it sounds like you're driving a race car and the power band is really unusual. It tends to bog down a fair bit at low rpm, then as soon as you're over 2000... coming up on 2500 and 3000 it just winds up and revs it's nuts off. At times it is seriously comparable to a turbo engine in behavior.
It is a hell of allot of fun to keep the car up around 3000 rpm... cruise for a bit (holding rpm) and then just nailing the pedal. The escort has some serious throwback and will surprise lots of commodore drivers.
It is a bit thirsty considering it's size though. The escort seemed to go through just as much fuel as the VR commodore I owned before it did, and that's based on a liter per km basis.
PS-a 2 liter escort will slaughter a VL in a drag race.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 6th August, 2007