Ford Escort Mark III (1980–1986)
Codenamed "Erika", the third generation Escort was launched in September 1980. The code name alluded to the leader of the product planning team, Erick A. Reickert. The North American Escort introduced at this time was a derivative. The two vehicles were intended to share component designs, but separate engineering organizations and government regulations made this impractical.
The Escort Mark III was intended to be a hi-
Also new were the overhead camshaft CVH engines in 1.3 L and 1.6 L formats, with the Valencia engine from the Fiesta powering the 1.1 L derivative. The suspension was fully independent all around, departing from the archaic leaf spring arrangement found on its predecessors. The Escort Mark III was voted European Car of the Year in 1981, fighting off stiff competition from Italy's Fiat Panda and British Leyland's Austin Metro.
It was also 1982 Semperit Irish Car of the Year in Ireland.
From launch, the car was available in Base (Popular), L, GL, Ghia and XR3 trim.
However, the car attracted criticism from the motoring press at launch due to how its suspension was set up, with positive camber on the front wheels and negative camber at the rear, giving rise to the Mark III's infamous "knock-
The shock absorber specification was to blame also, and it was not until 1983 that the suspension gremlins were finally ironed out. A three-
A selection of features were available, either as standard fitment or optional extras depending on model, including a tilt-
In order to compete with Volkswagen's Golf GTI, a hot hatch version of the Mark III was created from the outset — the XR3. Initially this featured a tuned version of the 1.6 L CVH engine fitted with a twin-
Another engine introduced around the same time was the 1.6 L diesel engine. Developed in Dagenham, it was remarkably economical for its time, and still is to this day, managing over 70 mpg. It was available on the L and GL models. However, the performance was not so impressive, with only 54 bhp (40 kW; 55 PS) and a top speed of barely 90 mph (140 km/h).
The Escort estate was initially only available with three doors, but a five-
A convertible version, courtesy of coachbuilder Karmann appeared the same year, significant as it was the first drop-
A pickup version of the Escort, the Bantam, was produced in South Africa, while Brazil had a two-
Sales in the United Kingdom were high, and by 1982 it had overtaken the ageing Cortina as the nation's best selling car.
Assembly Halewood Body & Assembly, England
Almussafes, Valencia, Spain
Class "C" Class
Body style 3-
Platform Ford 'Erika' platform
Engine 1117cc OHV "Valencia" Straight-
1117cc OHC "CVH" Straight-
1296cc OHC "CVH" Straight-
1596cc OHC "CVH" Straight-
Transmission Ford BC4 4-
Ford BC5 5-
Ford ATX 3-
Escort Mark III 5-
Escort Mark III 3-
Escort Mark III RS1600i (sporting version)
Escort Mark III Cabriolet 1983–1986