By far the biggest worry of any Cossie buyer, corrosion can take hold of any Escort, regardless of mileage.
The sills are the most common area for rust, and if an Escort hasn’t received welding underneath, chances are it’ll be in need of repair. Even mint examples corrode behind the side skirts, so don’t be disheartened if it’s not that ‘never-welded’ car you were dreaming of.
It’s vital to check everywhere for rust: the entire floorpan, rear chassis rails, bulkhead, inner wings, suspension turrets, battery tray (if it’s still there), front crossmember, rear wheelarches (inside and out), fuel filler and door bottoms.
Remember that almost every exterior panel (bar the roof, pillars and doors) is unique to the Escort Cossie, and therefore expensive to replace. Likewise, items such as the front bumper and splitter are susceptible to breakage, so account for the cost of repairs if they’re tatty.
Accident damage is a major worry, so look out for creases in the floorpan, inner wings and boot floor, poor panel gaps and mismatched paintwork. There are still loads of repaired write-offs around, which are worth considerably less than straight cars.
If you find an Escort Cosworth without the large rear wing, it’s probably a rare Aero Pack deletion option; its value is equivalent to the regular model. Likewise, all colours are similarly desirable – so unless your heart is set on a particular shade, buy on condition instead.