Geologists, and specifically palaeontologists, have concerns about the degree to which the fossil record represents the variety of life that has existed. Something similar applies to those interested in older cars.
This Ford Escort might be compared to the fossil of a plant-eating dinosaur, a representative of a class that was quite numerous, but which has left a unrepresentatively small trace in the fossil record. For your information, the meat-eating dinosaurs were known for their preference to live on muddier, softer ground which was good for leaving evidence in the fossil record whereas the plant-eaters lived on harder ground (and drier) and that lowered the chances of bones and traces being preserved. Thus meat-eaters were rare in life but more common in the fossil record.
As we know here at DTW, exotic cars have a disproportionately large presence in the automotive “fossil record”, the survivors. This mid-spec Escort is a comparative rarity (seen at that Aladdin’s cave of fine old cars, E-Z Biler, Them). I will call that reversal, “preservational inversion”, a term which feels suitably technical and impressive because you don’t quite know what it means until it is explained.
More exciting again for we fans of paradox and puzzle (DTW cleaves to a metaphysical tack), this exact car is unrepresentative of the Mk 2 Escort group as a whole, so this is in a way a sub-group of the representative inversion. It is a higher-value car – of which fewer were sold relatively – but is with us today to skew our perceptions of the Escort a bit.
But are they not skewed anyway because we look at the Escort as a fore-runner of the Focus (competes with Golfs) when it could so easily be a fore-runner of the Mondeo (competes with the 3-series, or did once). The present colours our view of the past, doesn’t it?
The vendor describes this as a Ford Escort Sport, an example which has been off the road for 12 years. It has a 1.6 litre engine. Two 1.6 litre engines could be had in the ‘Scort: a 1.6 litre L4 crossflow and the Pinto TL 16G L4 but that only saw service in the fancy Mexico versions (1975-1978).
This car has the higher-spec cloth trim in a light beige which is not a material made for long-term survival. Hence it’s really unusual to see it as this one in such good condition. I failed to get a good image of the ashtray, a semi-cylinder rotating about a vertical central axle.
Notice the headlamp wipers and the yellow fog lamps, neither of which I suspect are original but which are a relic of the car’s previous life in Sweden. And the colour is green: in my own mind Mk2 Escorts were always white or beige.
The Mk2 Escort is a moderately puzzling design. I can’t quite place it in the Ford scheme of things. It’s an interim kind of car, landing in the middle of a turbulent period when Ford of the UK and Ford of Germany were being integrated administratively and market-wise. Ford Dunton and Ford Merkenich developed the Escort Mk2 jointly. It was a reworking of the Mk1 so that’s nothing new when we see Opel or Ford recycling their Corsa and Fiesta underpinnings as they do.
The Escort Mk1 came out in the middle of this run (late1974/ early1975). Granada 1972, Capri 1974, Fiesta and Cortina 1976. Its appearance owes something to the 1972 Granada and its predecessor. That means it has more modern styling, very much the “modern vernacular” mode, applied to the 1960s architecture of the Mk1. Isn’t it interesting that the car is unlike the Golf, which has come to define the middle-sized car class?
The Escort is a compact saloon which could just as easily be compared to a BMW 318 or 2002 of the same time (RWD, two-doors but cheaper) and about the same size. Yet the Golf bent the middle-class to its will and defined it in its image.
Notice the car behind and to the left of the Escort in the title picture (up at the top). Irony, oh, irony.
*I notice this white Escort 4-door has chrome trim around the upper part of the side glass but not on the lower part. Today’s green car has chrome all around the edge. I must confess that I had never noticed that some cars had partially chrome on the upper part only. I had imagined there was either no chrome, chrome on the base of the DLO or chrome all around. It seems odd to me to have it on the upper edge only. But it occurs.