For the over ten years that the Ford Escorts was
on the Australian market, it underwent many and varied
model improvements, including different engines and
changes to its image.
Starting off with the
1.1 liter Kent, they had six engines in the next
eight years, and by 1981 the 1.6 liter was offered
on the L Sedan, with the option of the 2.01itre in
the GL, and the 2.0 liter only in the top-of-the-line
The Escort had unashamedly evolved from a basic
and utilitarian 'point A to point B' vehicle, into
a surprisingly quick and surefooted performer. The
SOHC four-cylinder 2.0 liter engine developed a healthy
70 kW of power at 5200 rpm, with torque of 148 Nm
at 3800 rpm.
Acceleration and performance figures
for the four-speed manual were right on the pace;
however the automatic was certainly not the sharpest
instrument around at the time – although it
was still quite respectable.
In manual guise, the Ghia
was strongest in its first three gears and could
achieve 0-100 km/h in 12.5 seconds, a figure which
compares very well with other 2.0 liter vehicles
that had a wider reputation for performance at the
Top speed was around 165 km/h and the car would
cruise all day at 130 km/h, making cruising at legal
speed limits very easy. And with fuel consumption
figures of 9.6 liters/100 km and a tank capacity
of 54 liters the Escort has a useful touring range.
as long as they were sold the Escorts had a reputation
for being easy to drive, and the Ghia's rack-and-pinion
steering proved both light and accurate, allowing the
car to stick to the road like the white line when cornering.
Ford also offered a sports-handling suspension as an
option with the 2-0-liter engine, which included an
increased diameter front anti-roll bar, a rear anti-roll
bar, and stiffer spring and shock absorber settings.
While excellent at speed some found the ride a little
harsh on city streets, and not entirely in keeping
with what the Ghia was all about. Although not possessed
of a large 'look-at-me' factor, the Ghia was a neat,
presentable car that displayed the stereotyping effect
of wind tunnel testing on body design. Inside it was
surprisingly roomy for both front and rear passengers.
Standard on the Ghia but not on the GL were tinted
side windows, electric clock, tachometer and trip meter,
vinyl roof, front and rear bumper over-riders, and
a timber veneer fascia panel.
Options included integrated
air-conditioning, AM radio/stereo cassette, long-range
driving lights, and, as a no-cost option, metallic
paint. The Escort had improved consistently over the
years, and the Mark 2 Ghia ranked highly in looks,
performance, and trim levels, and was every bit the
match of the all-conquering Japanese fours. Rarely
seen on the roads today, it is somewhat unfortunate
that only the sporting variety of Escorts are today
seen as collectable.