1989 Ford Es­cort XR3I Cabri­o­let £21,000

This 11,000-mile car has been in the same fam­ily from new. Yes, it’s ex­pen­sive, but it’s in time­warp con­di­tion, says

Classic Cars (UK) - - Ads on Test - Paul Hardi­man

Built by Kar­mann in Ger­many, this cabri­o­let in Aqua­ma­rine with Mocha trim has cov­ered fewer than 11,000 miles from new and has lived al­most within sight of Ford’s Da­gen­ham fac­tory all its life. It was or­dered from lo­cal dealer Allen of Romford by a Ford em­ployee, but im­me­di­ately reg­is­tered to Frank Ross, in whose fam­ily it re­mained un­til now. It’s on Dunlop D8 tyres, all with plenty of tread (the spare matches and it’s never been used, so it’s a fair bet th­ese are the orig­i­nals), and all the parts re­moved when the car was recom­mis­sioned – cam­belt, dis­trib­u­tor cap, ro­tor arm and wheel nuts – are in the boot.

It was reg­is­tered in Jan­uary, 1989 and there are just two stamps in the ser­vice book – for the 1500-mile/12-week ser­vice car­ried out at 415 miles in June 1989 and the 12,000 miles/12 months ser­vice at 1249 miles in April 1990. Old Mots start with its first in Novem­ber 1992 at 2764 miles.

It was SORN’D be­tween 2001 and 2013, passed to Mr Ross’s daugh­ter in 2014, and then to her son. It’s al­most as fac­tory, with only a few small ar­eas of de­te­ri­o­ra­tion. Ob­vi­ously you wouldn’t want to drive any­where on those tyres, but they’ll be a con­cours hit. The sil­ver fin­ish to the wheels is just be­gin­ning to bub­ble be­tween the spokes and there’s sur­face cor­ro­sion un­der the ra­di­a­tor. The head­light rims are start­ing to blis­ter. Oth­er­wise it’s like new and looks never to have had paint­work.

In­side, the dash plas­tics are still sharp and the seat velour hasn’t gone baggy – it doesn’t last well on this era of Ford. The leather bol­sters are slightly creased, more so on the driver’s side. The hood looks hardly used, and even the foam pad­ding on the roll bar isn’t com­pressed. The roof vinyl is per­fect and the rear win­dow is glass, so no wor­ries about yel­low­ing.

The orig­i­nal Ford stereo re­mains (with cas­settes lined up in al­pha­bet­i­cal or­der in their slot­ted cubby be­low) and ev­ery­thing works, in­clud­ing both elec­tric mir­rors.

The CVH mo­tor is tidy, though an ad­di­tional Revotec tem­per­a­ture sen­sor let into the top hose is a bit of a mys­tery, since the elec­tric fan is the stan­dard item. Coolant is nice and pink, oil light brown and just over the max line.

It starts in­stantly and drives tightly, though with the in­evitable scut­tle shake with the roof down – they all do that. The clutch is sharp, the gearchange has yet to go floppy, and the brakes are nice and firm. And you redis­cover with de­light the lit­tle ‘ear’ con­trol stalks, surely the neat­est ever de­vised in the his­tory of mo­tor­ing.

Sold with its orig­i­nal or­der sheet, Ford Cares hand­book orig­i­nal Ford fi­nance agree­ment, Pi­ranha alarm in­struc­tion book­let and in­voice show­ing that at £10,406.24 this cabrio cost far more than the equiv­a­lent hatch. Yes, it’s ex­pen­sive – but, as deal­ers like to say, find another…

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