1997 Ford Scorpio GLX 2.3i Cosworth from Norway

Summary:

Gorgeous and practical car at a great price

Faults:

Instruments.

Front brake discs.

Rear brake discs.

Rear brake calipers.

Handbrake cable.

A couple of undercarriage bushings.

Clutch.

Booth lock seized. A typical weak spot.

General Comments:

The car had received several sets of front brake discs before I bought it. I decided to just live with the slight pulsing because it never go any worse and it often went away for months at the time. Most likely, they wore unevenly and weren't warped. The main problem is the design; they should be glued to the axle because they are only held in place by the wheel and wheel nuts. If not glued, they will come partly unstuck during wheel changes, allowing dirt to enter between the flange and disc, warping it.

Rear brake calipers are sensitive - if you do not pull the handbrake every time you park the car, you can expect the calipers to get stuck within a couple of years. Repair is not cheap. I had to replace a set on mine because they hadn't been used. This also ruined the brake discs and pads because the handbrake didn't release fully. In addition, the handbrake cable were stuck from lack of use.

A few bushings were replaced over the years in the undercarriage, but nothing worth complaining about.

The instruments had been replaced before I got the car, apparently a weak item.

The suspension was fine on the motorway, but horrible over speed bumps. The worst was going over really broken roads at a walking pace, when the car would bounce/move sideways instead of back-forth, making for a very uncomfortable ride as passengers where shaken sideways into the doors. Still, it was far better in absorbing big bumps and speed bumps than my former 1995 2.9 litre Scorpio (you can read about that in the (1995 section if you fancy).

Ground clearance was not great, but significantly better than on my 1995 model. Compared to my current 2004 Mondeo, however, the Scorpio's ride very low indeed.

I love the looks of these Scorpios and have done so since I first saw one. Particularly the rear end is appealing. The car lost some of its elegance for the 1998 facelift, however, what with a new grill and taillights, but not enough to ruin the car.

The interior held up very well and the interior looked virtually brand new after 143,000 km (about 90,000 miles).

The seats are comfy, but my lower spec car lacked the ability to adjust the angle of the seat, something I missed a little as I like to have the seat high up front and low in the back. Also, a bit more lumbar support for the lower back would have been nice on longer drives. Still, the seats are huge and well padded and excellent for most people. Rear seats are likewise very good, but only for two adults. The person forced to sit in the middle of the back seat won't be all that comfortable, and there is no headrest or proper seatbelt for this "emergency" seat.

The engine had the same top end as my 2.9 (147 hp for the 2.3 vs 150 claimed for the 2.9) but lacked the low-and midrange torque of the larger engine. And even the big donk only came fully alive at 4200 rpm, about the same point that the 2.3 started to go really well. While the rev limiter cut the fun at 5700 rpm on the big six, the smaller four kept going until 6400 rpm. And using all the revs paid off, especially in the lower two gears, in order to get a good drive in the next taller gear.

The manual gearbox and overall gearing was a better match for the power on the 2.3 than in the 2.9, which was over-geared. Only the very low first gear and subsequent big drop in revs when shifting into 2nd gear was less than ideal.

The clutch on mine was warped when I got it, but replacing it didn't do wonders. It would always drag a little and you could hear a clunk in the final drive every time you put it in gear from standstill. Also, getting underway was problematic as well as ultra-smooth shifts because engagement wasn't smooth - sitting with the car idling and gently letting out the clutch, the revs would jump up and down several 100 rpm as the clutch grabbed and released constantly. Annoying.

Fuel consumption varied from the best of 7.2 litres / 100 km to a worst of 11.5 litres / 100 km. Typical consumption in mixed driving (mostly town and suburban) was around 9.3 litres / 100 km.

Being of a DOCH design, there are still no cambelts to replace since the cams are chain driven. The chain is silent in operation. Also, hydraulic adjustment means you can ignore the valves.

Many doesn't know that the 2.3 was developed by Cosworth. It's 4-valve heads helped power and tractability - it would pull (slowly) from as low as 600 rpm in 5th gear and continue to pull all the way to a 210 kph (128 mph) top speed. And it was smooth running, too, thanks to twin balancers.

The lock button in the boot lid was completely stuck in this car, requiring a key to open. On my 1995 model, the button often became stuck or difficult to move, and lubing it is a real pain in a certain spot because you need to remove the lock to get everything clean and smooth working.

The overall build quality on my car was good, but not nearly as good as that of the 1995. It didn't seem equally well built; more interior noise, "singing" noise from the rear axle, noise from the electric windows when moving up or down and the odd rattle from the interior.

I want another late model, low-mileage Scorpio. Every time I sit in one, I feel at home. Everything fits just right. Although my 2004 Mondeo Ghia has a nice interior on its own, it doesn't come close to matching that of the Scorpios, which are almost cosier than a typical living room.

Then you have the exterior, which both my wife and I consider as one of the prettiest to ever grace a family saloon.

And we don't care what the rest of the world thinks ;)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 17th May, 2010

1997 Ford Scorpio Ghia 2.5 turbo diesel from France

Summary:

Fantastically comfortable prestige car, lovely to drive and own

Faults:

Diesel Pump leaked, needed to replace it

Air conditioning won't turn off!

General Comments:

Built for comfort, not for speed is how I would best sum up this car. I bought it for comfort as I do a vast number of kilometers each year and suffer with a bad back. The leather upholstery and driving position are quite fabulous.

The gear change is just as I remember from the early Fords I have owned in the UK, smooth, easy and an absolute treat for the driver.

Handling can be a little awkward on some of the windier narrow roads here in rural France, but it is just great for longer trips and motorway driving.

The car is a bit of a head-turner as it is quite rare, and enthusiasts stop me to talk about it. I've been offered nearly twice as much as I paid for the car by one enthusiast, but it's not for sale! I will really miss it when the time comes for it to go. I'm hoping it will last me at least another five years.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th October, 2008