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Ford Escort II in the driving report: bread and butter with a rigid axle

Uli Jooß
Ford Escort II in the driving report
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E in V6 it should be, if it is revolves around a Ford youngtimer. That is the prevailing doctrine of die-hard Ford freaks. Taunus II? Barely goes as Ghia. Granada? Better, with a vinyl roof and a three-liter Essex engine, please. Capri III? Excellent, but only from 2.3 liters. This is how Ford enthusiast Karl Fleischmann, who owns the Gemini blue Ford Escort II, thought.

A cuckoo's egg in the Cologne nest

He came to the Ford Escort II like a virgin to a child - and now he no longer gives it. “Because it is in exceptionally good original condition, never causes problems, and because the little car has grown dear to my heart over the years.” Okay, the V6 engine is quiet, powerful and sounds good. But is it not the only key to happiness with the blue Ford plum? At that time the V6 was the sweet drug of frequent drivers and later, on the downward trend to the used car, the seduction of minors. Pensioners, who always carefully preserved the rust-prone automobile cultural asset of the seventies, preferred to use the more economical four-cylinder Ford. For example a Taunus 1.6 L or a basic white Granada with a V4 engine.

There was one thing that the older men especially loved with their poplin blousons in bold beige, the Ford Escort II. In the mid-seventies, the nicely designed second edition of the Ford Escort lost the quirky, rustic charm of British improvisation . The grumpy 'dog bone', as it was later called because of its unconventionally designed radiator grille, ended up as a cuckoo egg in Cologne's nest.

Its now so lovable primitiveness in details - coupled with the eternal yesteryear of its construction - quickly stamped the Ford Escort II as an underdog in the lower middle class. The Beetle and Cadet couldn't be killed that easily. In the technical spirit of optimism of the 1968 model year, the Escort looked as backward as a pre-war car. A Ford Anglia with a new body. It is hard to imagine that the attractive Capri was created on the same platform.

The Escort II is immune to thin sheet metal

The Ford Escort II, now carefully designed and, above all, cultivated by German Ford engineers, shed the rude manners of its predecessor , but remained basically the same under the smooth sheet metal cladding with the gentle fastback rear end. He was even more reactionaryCompetition. For reasons of cost, only the streamlined front end of the new model was given to the station wagon.

With rear-wheel drive, leaf-sprung rigid axle and cast-iron bumper drive, the Ford Escort II completely slept through the dawn of front-wheel drive and transverse engine introduced by Peugeot 204, Fiat 128 and VW Golf. That was definitely advantageous for the conservative Ford customers. They were spared from teething troubles as well as from rust affairs. Bob Lutz, then a new member of the Ford board of directors in Cologne, launched the 'Germanized' Escort II 'as a particularly consumer-friendly car with a low basic price, extensive standard equipment and a comprehensive 20,000 km guarantee'.

Repair-friendly and a dash of Mercedes

The repair-friendliness of the emphatically conventional Ford Escort II is even more enjoyable these days . It's actually a shame that nothing ever breaks. The Ford Escort II is also immune to thin sheet metal and modern lightweight construction. The four-door notchback version weighs an impressive 940 kilograms.

If you let the rather thick doors fall into the lock with a little swing, you will hear and feel a shot of Mercedes. The compact car, which looks a bit narrow and long-legged because of its clumsy rear design, is even a quality car - compared to the Coke can finish of some of its competitors. The gemini blue Ford Escort II 1.3 GL on these pages is from the last model year 1980. The chrome trim on the radiator grille was omitted during the last model update. Nevertheless, a touch of luxury surrounds the well-behaved little car.

You can already live well with the 1.3 GL

The cute chrome bumpers, the many Trim strips and its attractively styled sports rims nicely trimmed. After all, the grumpy Kent engine in the Ford Escort II, as a 1.3 HC Sport under the respectable bonnet, delivers a solid 73 hp. A Weber register carburetor primarily ensures the lush performance increase of 16 hp compared to the conventional 1300, which was available with 54 hp and as a super petrol variant with 57 hp.

Enjoy the 1, Only the attractive Sport and Ghia versions of the Ford Escort II came in the 6-liter big block with 84, later 86 HP. Even the 1.3 GL is surprisingly easy to live with. It is by no means designed for joyless refusal to consume, but rather conveys fun driving. It starts right after getting started.

Its bright interior is comfortably furnished. The safaribrown fabrics with herringbone structure conjure up a touch of luxury in modest happiness. The center console of the Ford Escort II is adorned with a clock, the front door panels are appetizingly garnished with practical armrests. Living with an escort is like four weeks of therapeutic fastingMonastery. It cleanses and opens the mind and heart to the essentials.

Suddenly the joy of pure movement in nature and the landscape reappears. Kilometers that are consciously experienced again and sometimes want to be fought for with full use of the performance. The Kent engine in the Ford Escort II always appears acoustically in a bad mood - an inelastic grumbler who doesn't want to admit that he actually enjoys revving up. For this reason alone, we would like to have a tachometer instead of the dreary blind plug between the speedometer and the instrument cluster. The journey is pure and without a filter.

Escaped the scrap press

The leaf springs on the hindquarters reliably report the condition of the road. The Ford Escort II parries too courageously driven corners with a slight drift. Its inherently harmless tendency to oversteer is much more pronounced than in the Taunus, for example. This arouses counter-steering instincts that were long believed to have been buried under. The escort driver receives the only support from the brake booster. Otherwise everything is done by hand. Shifting the four-speed transmission is a particular pleasure. The gearshift lever follows the H-scheme smoothly, with short distances and great precision. Only conventionally powered cars can do this as dry as this. The sitting posture is less comfortable.

The flat steering wheel forces a less relaxed position. The rack and pinion steering itself is smooth and direct. Small turning circle, no drive influences. At least at the front there is good rolling comfort thanks to the very modern and finely appealing McPherson struts. Such a Ford Escort II does not count for much even in youngtimer circles, although its reputation has been increasing for several years.

Karl Fleischmann from Ludwigshafen, the Ford enthusiast from earlier, rescued this rust-free specimen with only 50,000 kilometers on the clock six years ago out of pity from the scrap press, now he even gets offers occasionally at meetings or trips . “I had nothing to do with a Ford Escort II,” explains Fleischmann. 'Back then I was only enthusiastic about Taunus, Capri and Granada, mainly because of the attractive design and the melodious V6 engines.' It's different today. Who has an Escort II in the garage that looks like a year-old car?

For that reason alone, we would like to have a rev counter instead of the dreary blind plug between the speedometer and the instrument cluster.

The journey is pure and without a filter

The leaf springs on the hindquarters reliably report the condition of the road. The car parries too courageously driven curves with a slight drift. Its inherently harmless tendency to oversteer is much more pronounced than in the Taunus, for example.

That wakes you upCounter-steering instincts

The only support the escort driver receives from the brake booster. Otherwise everything is done by hand. Shifting the four-speed transmission is a particular pleasure. The gearshift lever follows the H-scheme smoothly, with short distances and great precision. Only conventionally powered cars can do this as dry as this.

Saved from the scrap press

Karl Fleischmann from Ludwigshafen, the Ford aficionados from before saved this rust-free specimen with only 50,000 kilometers on the clock six years ago out of pity from the scrap press, now it even gets offers occasionally at meetings or trips.

'I had absolutely nothing to do with an escort,' explains Fleischmann. 'Back then I was only enthusiastic about Taunus, Capri and Granada, mainly because of the attractive design and the melodious V6 engines. Today it's different. Who has an Escort II in the garage that was the same as a year-old car?'

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