American manufacturers were pretty slow to the game with diesel engines during their first wave in North America. While VW introduced a diesel engine in their compact Rabbit in 1978, it took another 3 years for a diesel to show up in the Chevette, and 6 years for it to appear in the Escort. And by the time those came out, the fuel crisis had waned somewhat, Americans had become disenchanted with the low power and smelly, smoky emissions of diesels, so sales were not particularly great. So it’s unusual to find a pair of Ford diesel compacts available. To get started, check out this 1984 Ford Escort Diesel for sale for $1700 in Clackamas, OR.
It’s pretty unusual to find a 1980s Escort at this point, much less a diesel. These were one of Ford’s first attempts to build a “world car” – early models even came with a little globe logo on the lower front fenders. That attempt flopped, however, as the North American Escort ended up sharing very little except a vague resemblance with its European counterpart, and it ended up taking another 30 or so years (until the current Focus) for Ford to have a true world car, with virtually the same specification everywhere. Debuting in 1984, the Escort Diesel was powered by the 2-liter Mazda RF engine, putting out a glorious 52hp.
This car appears to be in good condition, with the seller saying he’s spent way too much on it. Is $1 too much when talking about a diesel econobox from the 1980s? Someone else can ask him that. Either way, while the body has sustained a few dents, the paint looks decent and things look fairly complete. This car is equipped with a 5-speed, so hopefully acceleration and noise are tolerable, while you can still get decent mileage on the freeway.
The interior also looks pretty clean, at least what you can see of it – materials were not of the greatest quality, so you can at least expect some cracks in the dash. If you need more utility than a hatchback can provide, the same niche enthusiast is also selling this 1984 Mercury Lynx Diesel wagon for $1800.
This car is so fast, he can’t even get a clear picture of it. Again, it’s surprising to see one of these surviving, and the seller has given a pretty comprehensive list of the work done. That includes a new engine, fuel system, clutch, rear springs, brakes, starter, and more. How about a biodiesel conversion to make this the ultimate hipster ride?