1985 Ford Escort 3-Door: Pizza Dude!

Earlier this week it was a ’78 Regency, today it’s a rare surviving Escort, espied on Dallas-Fort Worth Marketplace. What can you say about the Escort? It replaced the old Pinto, was front-wheel drive, they sold a ton of them, and like their contemporary brethren, the Chevette and Colt, probably eight survive to the present day. This is one of them.

And the owner has a little fun with the listing, too. “Okay, here it goes DFW. I’m gonna give y’all one shot before I post this thing on ebay for the whole world to bid on. Here we have a UNIT of a car. An absolute PEACH. If you went to high school in the 80s this may have been your first car or what your mom drove you to school in on the daily. I swear to God, this was Stacey’s mom’s daily driver. An absolute nostalgia MACHINE.”

“This baby has a 1.6l carbureted 4 banger boasting a stout 70hp and a ground-pounding 88 lb/ft of torque. Don’t scoff, because she’s a featherweight coming in at a shade over 2,000lb.”

“The massive power is barely contained by the 4 spd manual transmission. You’ll be burning up the pavement with the nearly new 13″ MEATS on original 4 lug rims.”

“A/C? We don’t need no stinking ac. No power steering neither. She’s got a pretty rack. It’s a manual one and its BRAND NEW. All this results in the easiest belt change in the history of mankind. Crank pulley and alternator pulley, that’s it.”

What price for this once-common pizza delivery vehicle? $4900. If not the lone survivor, it’s got to be one of the few in really nice shape!

14 Replies to “1985 Ford Escort 3-Door: Pizza Dude!”

  1. Gene

    Hilarious. I had a red ’84 just like this one. Except mine didn’t come with a radio. I did have a sportier 3 spoke steering wheel though.

    Yes, I did deliver pizzas in it. Back in the good old Domino’s days of 30 minutes or free. Man was that fun.

  2. Scout_Number_4

    My father in-law had one of these with a diesel engine, he drove it about 250k miles before it just fell apart well into this century. He claimed he got over 40+ mpg up until the very end.

  3. English teacher

    While in hight school, I rocked a local pizza business’s diesel Escort (manual, natch) to deliver pies. The torque was indeed astounding, resulting in 0 to 100 times were probably in the twelves. (Note: 0 – 100 kph.) Customers were never disappointed!

  4. Brawny Chicken

    Saw a diesel wagon variant of this era a couple years ago. It had a few spots of paint left amidst the rust-but it ran. At least that day it did.

  5. TL

    Back when I was delivering the pies we dreamed of having a fancy Escort for delivery. Our store had 4 Chevettes all of which were two years old. Car #1 had more power than the others, but sketchy breaks. Car #2 had great breaks, but no power. Car #3 had no power and sketchy brakes, right up until the day it’s rear axel separated at the diff while going around a corner. Car #4 was the best all around. One day mid-summer the Corporate Safety guy showed up and flagged cars 1-3 as unsafe. We got two loaner Escorts from another store and thought we were in heaven. Bigger, more powerful, and they even had radios.

  6. John C.

    85 was the big year for the Escort, at midyear the 1.9 engine replaced the 1.6. Euro land Escorts never got so big a CVH engine but it showed the way to long term success in the USA was to move away from no A/C no auto Europe to something more American. The 1.9 CVH made it into the 90s Mazda Escorts because they understood the mistake of the 1.6 that Mazda was repeating.

  7. -Nate

    Wow that’s clean .

    These sold by the boatload but were reviled from new by almost everyone .

    My psycho-bitch G.F. had a badly manged red ’82 with stick shift .

    She called it ‘Betsy’ and refused to replace it so over time I fixed everything amiss on it in spite of it’s passenger side sideswipe damage .

    After working on it I realized it was indeed incredibly cheaply made and built but it was also a genuine Road Roach by design .

    Cheap to buy and cheaper yet to keep running, log after it should have been scrapped .

    When the timing belt let go in a seriously bad area at sundown on a Friday I got us the hell out of there and scrapped it .

    Damned interference engine made pretty good power for a 1600CC mill but bent the valves so that was that .


    • John C.

      Nate makes a great point tying the shorter life of these to the need for expensive drive belt replacement. With it, you get a long life. Shows what an advantage Honda and Toyota had, not so much in quality but in having owners with the financial ability to follow the maintenance schedule..

  8. TJ

    Back in the mid 2010’s, when I sold Fords downstate, we still had a handful of these (and Mercury Tracers!) in the service loaner fleet. They were being phased out in favor of any Crown Vic/Grand Marquise we got in on trade though.

  9. Guns and Coffee

    I learned how to drive in a similar car, that actually had A/C, because California and the Desert Southwest. The Car was painted like a F-Series pickup truck. White, blue center panel, and a great 80’s pinstripe job on the hood. The distinctive paint led to an uncomfortable exchange (not for me) in a bank parking lot many years after the car left our household. I was (I think) out of college, and in a bank parking lot, when there is the car!! Mr. Tall Skinny Male Pattern Baldness Tweed Jacket, Patch Sleeves exits the car and heads for the bank. He is accosted by a guy in his 20’s, “You’re driving my car!. I can’t believe it is still on the road! You had the interior re-done. What a great job. I learned how to drive in this car, driving test and everything . . . ” Mr. Tweed Jacket was not comfortable with human interaction of any type, and really wanted to get to his banking rather than discuss the (now questionable history) of his car (so much for old lady, Sunday drives, and all that). It was before the advent of the phone camera so there were no coerced “selfies” to memorialize the encounter. I was in my 20’s and went home to brag of the “sighting,” when my dad informed me of the myriad ways I probably ruined Mr. Tweed Jacket’s day.

  10. Cassy Leone

    Hi, I actually own this exact car. I traded the owner of it my 1969 Chevy Caprice for it. At time of writing, DFW is seeing the worst winter storm its had in almost 30 years. This little car (of which I’ve named Ford Prefect), has done amazingly well in the extreme weather conditions as it’s now my daily. It is just as nice as the pictures show and while I haven’t used it for pizza, its delivered me to my work and everywhere else I’ve needed to be. The heat blows hard and the little 1.9 chugs away under any conditions. I was surprised to see a picture of my car pop up on Google, but I’m glad to have found it!

      • -Nate

        Cool Cassy ! .

        These were Ford’s budget busters when new, derided by most and hated by many .

        I had to keep an 1982 Escort L running for a girlfriend in the mid 1990’s ~ I was amazed at how much good engineering went into such a amazingly cheap car ~ it was pretty much unkillable and believe me, someone had tried very hard before she got it .

        Easy to drive and park, dead nuts reliable and incredibly easy to maintain and repair, it was bare bones motoring and I didn’t mind it .

        Sadly I didn’t understand the cam belt needs periodic replacement and it failed in “don’t break down here East L.A.” with her in it one Friday evening…

        Take decent care of this car and it’ll take *very* good care of you .

        Unless there’s a sticker mentioning the date or mileage of the cam belt, I’d suggest changing it A.S.A.P. before it snaps and bends all the valves .



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