Ford Escort Mk3 (1980 – 1990) Review

Ford Escort Mk3 (1980 – 1990) At A Glance

+Simple and stylish, a cheap classic car, not a bad handler

-Rough engines, poor ride, frail interior trim, solid shells are worth more to XR/RS enthusiasts

Following hot on the heels of the Fiesta, Ford’s 1980 Escort, codenamed ‘Erika’ during development, was a front-wheel drive move into the 1980s, banishing the old RWD saloons, and facing the Volkswagen Golf sector with an up-to-the-minute hatchback contender.

New CVH engines, built in Wales, chiseled styling masterminded by Uwe Bahnsen incorporating a stylish tailgate ‘bustle’ irreversably broke the link with Mk2, creating a new car that was modern in its appeal. In order not to scare off the older-school Escort clientele, who loved its simplicity, the new car was marketed as 'Simple is Efficient'. It worked - once the Cortina was out of the way, to be replaced by the Sierra, the Mk3 Escort became the UK's best selling car.

Offered with 1.1-litre Valencia engine, as well as new 1.3- and 1.6-litre CVHs, as well as in the usual wide range of trim options. 'Cooking' Escorts suffered from all manner of ride and damping issues, but these problems were soon ironed out, even if the car ended up not handling as well as it might as a consequence, especially considering independent rear suspension. Facelifted in 1986 (and sometimes referred to as the Mk4) with a softened nose and tail, as well as the option of ABS - but by this time, it had been overtaken by most of its rivals.

Four-door Orion version was added in 1983 - some say, to plug the gap left by the Cortina. It sold well to conservative buyers. Full body range consisted of three- and five-door hatchbacks, three- and five-door estates, van, cabriolet, and four-door saloon.

Surprisingly rare now, except in fast XR3 and RS form.

Ask Honest John

How do I insure my Ford Escort XR3i that has had an RS Turbo engine fitted?

"What is the correct way to insure a Ford Escort XR3i which has had an engine from an Escort RS Turbo fitted to it? "
For a car with extensive modifications such as yours, the best option is to go to an insurer that specialises in modified cars. Companies such as these are used to dealing with non-standard cars and they will ask you to outline all the modifications made in order to provide a more accurate valuation and a quote for your insurance premium. It's important to be completely honest in your dealings with the insurers, as any failure to declare modifications can mean your policy is invalid. We would recommend companies such as Performance Direct or Adrian Flux as a good starting point.
Answered by David Ross

How much is my Ford Orion worth?

"I have a B-reg Ford Orion. It has been standing for several years, but is in pretty good condition all things considered and I think should be a fairly straightforward restoration. It was a perfect runner when laid up, but doubtless would need some TLC now. I would like to sell it "as is" and have had interest expressed a couple of times but would appreciate some sort of order of magnitude estimate as to its current value."
The Orion is one of the few cars where 'Ford tax' doesn't seem to apply. As a result, Orions aren't hugely desirable and prices reflect that. You occasionally see 'timewarp' examples advertised for prices north of £3k - but few sell at that. There was a 1988 one-owner example with 46k on the clock that went for £1220 at Morris Leslie in February. Like yours, it had been laid up for a while. So it seems a price of £750-£1150 might be realistic - but have a look at what Orions are currently for sale and price yours accordingly.
Answered by Keith Moody
More Questions

What does a Ford Escort Mk3 (1980 – 1990) cost?