Ford Escort (Mk3) Profile

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Ford Escort (Mk3) General Information

This was just maximum horror for Ford and rally fans. It already says enough that the Mk3 Escort road car was launched in 1980 and one year later Ari Vatanen was to win his WRC title using the old car while the Mk3 Escort was still nowhere to be seen on rally stages. Read all about what the Escort was about at the time in the according sections for Mk1 & Mk2 Escorts (RS1600, RS1800 & RS2000). Of course at some point there had to be a replacement, but the Mk3 Escort was an entirely different car that shouldn't really have kept the Escort name. Indeed Erika was not only a project code but until just before launch it looked like the car was to be called the Ford Erika, which however in the end it wasn't. Saloon turn hatchback, RWD turn FWD, longitudinal engine turn transverse.... Apart from its name the Mk3 Escort had absolutely nothing in common with previous Escorts. And with exception maybe of the design, the Mk3 was worse in every single aspect!

Indeed the Escort in its Mk3 generation was a very nice and unique looking car with tailgate, a short boot designed into it like a mix of hatchback and short, crisp saloon, all very straight, the boot also showing a hint of a rear spoiler in all versions, the front and rear lights in a crisp, straight, yet entertaining design a la Granada Mk2 - a real interesting, characterful and unique design for its time. Though design is a matter of taste and the rest of the difficult to find positive words, especially when for rally fans this replaced a legend.

Indeed in its looks the Escort Mk3 is an absolute favourite of all cars of all time for the author, so surprisingly I still write so negative about it. To my mind it was a beauty, can I please have one as a 5-door in a dark colour and the Ghia version, so plenty of chrome enhances the unique side windows layout, shape of indicators and all. It stuns me that such a straight design can have so many interesting details. I'd place it in the garden or into my living room, but I wouldn't want to drive it....

For a start the Mk3 was not available with anything bigger than a 1.6 engine and even that was in a layout that wasn't ideal for tuning. In fact already this may go some way to prove the wrong thinking by this car's engineers; when everybody went to OHC or DOHC engines, Ford proudly advertised the Escort Mk3's "CVH" concept, which was just another name for it being a pushrod! (CVH = Compound Valve angle Hemispherical, the camshaft is actually inside the head but operates the valves via lifters and rocker arms, so it is essentially a pushrod engine when even the Mk1 RS2000 already had an Over Head Camshaft directly on the valves.) It is remarkable that the fully tuned 1.6 engine was only 15BHP up on the Talbot Samba Rallye's 1.2! Ford realised the problem and launched a limited edition version called the RS1600i, that was in road as well as groupA trim 10BHP stronger than the XR3i. But the lack of a 2000cc and a 16v engine was probably still the smallest of problems for the Mk3 Escort. The far more substantial issue was the lack of RWD!

OK, FWD doesn't need to be a bad thing, but the Mk3 Escort was certainly not one of the better FWD cars. It was understeering badly (not as bad as Volkswagens, but still she had the task to take over from cars as the Mk2 RS2000!) and the rear axle was a solid axle, a low tech solution that had a life of its own, so somehow front AND rear a bit wobbly. While the Mk1 & Mk2 versions convinced with idiot proof handling, the Mk3 made even the best acrobats look like idiots!

But maybe even worse, the front design didn't gel with the rest of the car. Not in looks, the looks were nothing short of brilliant. More accurately it seemed the engine bay had nothing to do with the rest of the car, there was no proper connection, or however could it be so flimsy. No joke, drive it hard and you were guaranteed a cracked bulkhead, as if the front wanted to separate from the rest of the car. In front of the bulkhead, the technical parts as the suspension looked and felt flimsy and on the other side of the bulkhead the flimsiness carried on. There were many reports of going over jumps with this car at acceptable speeds would result in huge dents in the roof and the whole chassis being twisted. As one example how the Escort had changed for rally people, on the Mk2 Escort you could change a front wing in losening and tightening a number of screws, on the Mk3 the same job required extensive cutting and welding. When previous Escorts were indestructable, easy to maintain cars, this one was made of custard!

About 3 years later came a Turbo version that than had the right power. In fact the turbo charger was a novelty in this class and power was on the impressive side considering it was still a 1.6 8v pushrod, in torque this version could have been a winner, but this of course did nothing to help its massive chassis problems.

I do have a bad consciousness writing so bad about this car. In front, rear, side, dashboard designs this is one of my absolute favourite cars of the early 1980s, far more interesting and gorgeous than Golf, Astra and any other of its opposition. But what good is the best boobs and bum in the world if she is a bitch, especially when her predecessors were so brilliant to ride?

Ford Escort (Mk3) Related Content

Ford Escort (Mk3) Evolutions

Model & Evo. (Activity)
Ford Escort (Mk3) RS1600i (83-83) 160/6000 193/4800 3970.1640.1384 920 (5.75) FWD (2402)
Ford Escort (Mk3) RSTurbo (86-90) 210/5000 245/3500 3970.1640.1384 905 (4.3) FWD (2402)
Ford Escort (Mk3) XR3i (82-85) 150/6000 183/4800 3970.1640.1384 920 (6.1) FWD (2402)

Random Ford Escort (Mk3) Photos

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Ford Escort (Mk3) Results

This is an unofficial Car Results list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego hh:mm:ss
24th. 1985 WRC Swedish Rally M. Lovell P. Davis #16 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
13th. 1985 WRC Rallye de Portugal J. Santos M. Oliviera #10 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
28th. 1985 WRC Rally of Finland K. Hämäläinen . UNKNOWN #56 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
23rd. 1984 WRC Swedish Rally L. Aitken-Walker E. Morgan #51 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
60th. 1983 WRC Swedish Rally L. Aitken-Walker E. Morgan #66 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
13th. 1983 WRC Rally of Great Britain M. Wilson P. Short #20 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
23rd. 1983 WRC Rally of Great Britain M. Lovell P. Davis #71 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00

Ford Escort (Mk3) Retirements

This is an unofficial Car Model Retirements list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego Reason
Ret. 1986 WRC Swedish Rally O. Strömberg P. Carlsson #20 [UNKNOWN] SS18 crash
Ret. 1986 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo R. Feitler J. Dubois #109 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1985 WRC Rally of Great Britain R. Stoneman . UNKNOWN #117 [UNKNOWN] SS10 bent chassis
Ret. 1985 WRC Rally of Great Britain M. Lovell P. Davis #28 [UNKNOWN] SS39 crash
Ret. 1985 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo A. Beauchef J. Dubois #12 [UNKNOWN] SS23 engine
Ret. 1984 WRC Rally of Great Britain L. Aitken-Walker E. Morgan #44 [UNKNOWN] SS8 engine
Ret. 1984 WRC Swedish Rally M. Lovell P. Davis #56 [UNKNOWN] SS11 no fuel
Ret. 1984 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo P. Baroni . UNKNOWN #45 [UNKNOWN] SS99 differential
Ret. 1984 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo A. Beauchef J. Dubois #31 [UNKNOWN] SS1 engine
Ret. 1983 WRC Rally of Great Britain L. Aitken-Walker E. Morgan #22 [UNKNOWN] SS36 distributer
Ret. 1983 WRC Rallye San Remo M. Pregliasco M. Sghedoni #24 [UNKNOWN] SS99 differential
Ret. 1983 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo R. Feitler J. Dubois #18 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1982 WRC Rallye San Remo M. Pregliasco E. Bartolich #14 [UNKNOWN] SS4 brakes