Mechanicals great - Body not so great
Worn valve - stem oil seals.
Leaking rear windows.
Worn front dampers.
Mine was a 1.3 GL in a fetching shade called "Lacquer Red".
It had a retro-fitted 1.6 engine to replace the 1.3 it left the factory with, a clean interior, and a superficially clean body.
I really liked the styling of the early Mk 3 Escorts - although if I bought another I'd plump for an early XR3 or XR3i - they seen to resist corrosion better, and I prefer the 3 door shape.
It handled pretty well, and had a gorgeous raspy exhaust note, which I added to by drilling the air box, before eventually completely removing said item (hey, I was 17 and naive)
It was fast enough to see off most "sporty" cars in my locality - i.e. Nova SRs and the like. 205's and R5 Turbos however were another matter altogether - the old 'Scort didn't stand a chance.
About 2 months after I bought it, I wanted to touch up the "superficial" corrosion on one wing. My God - I have never seen a car be eaten alive by corrosion like this thing was. Most of the panels were a hybrid of steel, filler, newspaper and papier mache. The sills and floor pan were actually sound - it was the rest of the car that had been eaten alive under the surface. Valance (front and rear) and the front wings were worst affected. Eventually the headlights started wobbling due to the fact that the mounting brackets had rotted away.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 29th July, 2002