When purchased, the car's 1.3 Kent motor sounded like a truck, and rattled uncontrollably. Let me just say a rather comprehensive engine tuneup more than fixed the problem, and did absolute wonders to the car's overall running and reliability.
Resultantly, I would be one of the few young people who has actually quietened their car, rather than make it noisier.
Additionally, the engine was renowned for running hot. A discovery was made one weekend that the radiator was near empty (it had been filled a week previously). Immediately it was filled, only then for my sister to find out on the following day that the car was bleeding 'green blood', or coolant.
$100NZD later - one rather well patched up radiator, needing replacement in total in the next 50,000km.
Wheels were also a long way out of alignment. This fault was fixed immediately.
Upon looking closely at the tires, I noticed a mix of three 175's and 1 155. As the spare was found to be 175, a quick switch with the offending 155 was made.
Later on all wheels were properly balanced at Goodyear. It did absolute wonders to the car's handling...
Tail-light electrics were somewhat dodgy, and were immediately attended to. All is now good on the (Lucas) electric front.
New brake-pads and shoes will be fitted soon. Paint will also need to be touched up.
When tires are changed, the eventual plan is to upgrade to 185 13in all round (including the spare!).
1980 Ford Escort Mk2 1.3 L 4 door (tan yellow)
This is my first car, bought June 2002 from an elderly lady who only used it occasionally. Its condition is excellent, and that is how it is kept (garaged).
Getting used to the car was an interesting (and claustrophobic - I normally drove larger car, such as Holden Commodores) experience. Until I got used to it, changing into reverse (being on a dogleg away from the driver) was an absolute pig. When first changing into reverse, I almost leap-frogged straight into the previous owner's garage door!
After getting used to the gearing, my mind on it is changed completely. In my opinion, Ford Escort 4 speed manual boxes are amongst the slickest ever! The change between gears is fluid, and the clutch.
Reliability is excellent, especially for a car of its age. Although only a 1.3, it keeps up pretty well with the other traffic, and on the open highway, it is excellent for overtaking. Hills with steep gradients are an embarrassment - although it is a flaw that I can live with.
The interior itself is an interesting mixture of old and new.
Basic features like intermittent wipers, glovebox, centre console and seat headrests are what you would expect in a modern car, however all-brown vinyl seats and trim are not!
All interior electrics work, down to the heater fans, and all rear window demister bars!
As for the ride, the car is extremely comfortable and an excellent handler (once I fixed all wheel and alignment issues), especially considering the fact that the rear suspension is leaf sprung. Body roll (as seen from the outside) is similar to that of a ship, although it is not really noticed if you are continually driving the car.
Generally, the car is 'fun' to drive. Wheel spinning and sideways handling is just too easy. It's cool though.
As well, the car has given me a few personal advantages. It can quickly become the talking point of many conversations, no matter how many people. It is also a 'magnet', as all girls that I've talked to have seen it reckon its cool - often I have people asking me if they can ride in it!
It has certainly given me hours of constant enjoyment. I cannot ever imagine getting bored of it.
I do wonder now why people go to the trouble of creating Lotus 7 replica kit cars out of these machines. After all, at the end of the day, this car basically does what a Lotus 7 replica seems to do, although with a practical enclosed steel body shell.
Overall, the Ford Escort Mk2 is an excellent car to own. I recommend it to anyone (who loves cars, and likes to have fun).