Following from the successes of both the mk1 and mk2 Escort, Ford launched the Mk3 Escort to the public in September 1980 and unlike the models before, the mk3 was an entirely new model with Ford having spent a colossal (back then) £500 million on its develop, with a similar financial number reputedly spent on its all new CVH engine too. Code named 'Erika', every part of the Escort was new and most importantly in order to keep up with the market leaders, Volkswagen and Honda, with their respective Golf and Civic models, the all new Escort changed from a rear wheel drive to a front wheel drive format and now being primarily offered as a 'hatchback' model.
From the start the mk3 was an instant success winning the 1981 European Car of the Year and in line with Fords usual marketing strategy, a myriad of model specifications were offered, covering all price points and for those with a sporting yearning Ford offered the XR3 model, featuring a 1597cc CVH engine with twin-choke Weber carburettor, offering a punchy 96bhp at 6000rpm. Thanks to it's light weight the XR3 offered performance figures matching the older RS model and with it's bold new styling, deep front spoiler, large rubber rear spoiler and extensions to front / rear arches and those wonderful 14" 'Cloverleaf' alloys, Fords new sporting direction was clear......with XR2, XR2i ('89 ->), XR3i ('83 ->) and XR4i models following on.
Registered on the 6th Nov 1981, we're delighted to offer this exceptional, early production Ford Escort XR3, with the car being built with the following specification:
Matching numbers 1597cc CVH engine
Sunburst Red paintwork
Black / Red 'Laser' trim, with removable headrest bolsters
XR3 body moldings / spoilers / decals
14" 'Clover leaf' alloy wheels, fully refurbished with matched Uni-Royal tyres
Philips 'P' series radio / cassette
'Fisher' cassette holder
Heated rear screen
Adjustable driver / passenger mirrors
Optional 'Tilt / Slide' sunroof
Optional 'Driving' lights
Colour coded bumpers
Colour coded mirrors
Previously displayed, 2005 - '12, in a Welsh transport museum and then owned by Ford technician the car was purchased by the last keeper in 2020, an avid classic car enthusiast and restorer who has over the last 18 months restored this this early carburettor model XR3 with an approach to producing what we feel is one the finest examples of the marquee available, with works including:
Complete 'photographic' body strip down, any body work has be professionally attended too using genuine Ford panels, with a real focus on originality ensuring wonderful panel gaps throughout, followed by a professional bare shell respray in the correct factory Sunburst Red, with black detail to window surrounds and the rear hatch. The paint finish is mirror glass smooth, with a reflection to match with the underside having the additional benefit of correct underbody anti-corrosion protection, body colour too!
All mechanical components stripped, checked for wear and either restored or replaced. The drive-train alone looks sensational, detailed correctly in every respect, even down to new decals. The original engine has been completely rebuilt by marque specialist Norris Motorsport, the engine now being 'Fast Road' spec, with Stage 3 cylinder head, Newman Cam all fueled by a NOS 34 DMTR Carb, jetted to suit the engine characteristic. Mated to the rebuilt engine the car now features a rebuilt RS1600i gearbox offering perfect gear ratios
Suspension fully stripped and rebuilt with new Bilstein shock absorbers, Spax springs, all new Powerflex bushes front / rear, all joints / bearings etc checked for play and replaced as necessary. All components powder-coated, all new fixings
Rebuilt braking system including new disc / pads, calipers, brake master cylinder, servo etc.
New OEM clutch
Fuel tank full stripped, sealed and powder coated
Alunox 4 branch manifold
Stainless exhaust system
All fuel lines, brake lines, hoses replaced.
All new window rubbers and seals.
14" 5.5J 'Clover leaf' alloys, date matched, fully refurbished in correct 'Stardust' silver
New Uni-Royal Rainsport tyres
New alloy radiator
Interior stripped and cleaned - originality maintained as the car shows circa 32k miles
New roof-lining in correct black perforated material
New decals as per factory specification.
With an exceptional level of detail, this car will not disappoint any way! Walking around the car, it's as if she has been stored away in secret, hidden out of sight since 1981. The doors open with a reassuring 'click' on the handle and stepping inside its great to see the all original interior, the red-black 'Laser' trim remains in excellent condition and its great that the original 'removable' headrest cushions come with the car too and the aficionados will spot the original Philips radio remains in place too.
Pull the 'choke' slightly and twist of the ignition key and the 1.6 CVH bursts into life, the exhaust 'barking' at any blip of the throttle. Depressing the clutch and engaging first gear and with a few revs applied the car pulls away smoothly. As the car warms up, the choke back in, the driver is able to explore a few more revs, opening the 34 DMTR Carb fully presses the occupants firmly into the seats, the drive is just fantastic, suspension frim but compliant, brakes reassuring and steering direct we must admit that we're completely bowled over by this 40 year old classic ..... the truth be told, this car is just so good and she's more likely to enjoy being cossetted in a collection, only venturing out on the nicest of days.
Beautifully restored, this early Ford Escort XR3 is just as you would hope it be and with a real attention to detail she looks stunning, drives wonderfully and is now ready to finds its rightful place in any classic car / Ford enthusiasts collection, we don't think you'll find a finer Ford!