Do you ever think about how long ago the ‘80s really were? It doesn’t feel like nearly forty years since “Thriller,” the Yugo, or the first-generation North American Ford Escort, but I guess I wouldn’t know — I had to google “80s cultural touchstones” for this paragraph because this car is about a decade older than I am. And yet, after all these years, it still looks factory fresh.
This Escort was spotted on Annapolis Craigslist, advertising its “50+ Miles Per Gallon” highway fuel economy. Even the most efficient ‘86 Escort, the “FS” trim, barely missed a 50 mpg rating from the EPA in its day, but a light right foot and careful use of the five-speed stick shift might help this beautiful diesel Ford sedan eke out that little bit of extra efficiency.
The ad definitely gets the looks right, though. The car is listed as “A Real Head Turner - Thumbs-Up Car,” and it lives up to that title. Hard edges, thin pillars, and wide fender flares serve to accent the Escort’s excellent proportions. It’s a perfect car for the RADnaissance era.
Of course, to make it to our current time of ’80s nostalgia, this Escort first had to survive the actual ’80s. While the ad only has one photo to work from, this particular example looks near perfect — no fading or peeling clear coat, no rocker panel rust, nothing that betrays the years this car has lived.
Its 53 horsepower may not sound impressive in the modern world, where even the Camry comes in 300-horsepower TRD spec, but you don’t buy a retro car for the numbers. You buy it for the style, and the Escort’s got that in spades. The great fuel economy is just icing on the cake.
Someone please buy this and take it to Radwood before I can. And if you get the chance, ask it what the early ’90s were like. I’d love to know.