Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 1
The Escort 'Erika' may be Ford's first 'world car', but the Company was quick to evolve US versions of the new front-drive, all-independently-sprung model, marketing them as Escort and Lynx through Ford and Mercury dealers.
The differences between the 'European' and US cars could best be described as slight (unlike the Chrysler Horizon) for the 'Made in the USA' Ford used the same chassis and suspension
, but in the American manner power steering
was an option.
Engines for the US Escort and Lynx were manufactured in America and were the then new type four-cylinder CVH motors with hydraulic tappets, and capacities of 1.3 or 1.6 litres. The compression ratio was lower for both motors at 8.8:1, and with three-way anti-pollution catalytic converter, plus exhaust
gas recircuulating valve, their maximum power outputs were reduced to around 58 bhp SAE and 69 bhp respectively (43.25 and 51.45 kW) - nothing to get excited about.
The US cars differed from the 'Europeans' in that they utilised the four-speed transaxle made by Toyo Kogyo of Japan (for their Mazda 323), with the option of a Ford built three-speed split-torque automatic that was also used for European Fords from 1981 onward.
Designated 'Split Torque' the then new Ford automatic incorporated a complex series of clutches and planetary gears which gave a claimed mechanical torque ratio of 62 per cent in second gear, and 93 per cent in third - much improved figures over a normal torque-converter automatic. Ford also claimed their new automatic gained 2-4 mpg (0.5-1.0 litres/100 km) compared to a 'conventional' automatic.
Ford and Mercury ranges were offered with four levels of trim and equipment, and two types of body were used. There was a three-door hatchback and a five-door station wagon, and both differed from their European counterparts. Drag figures were notably inferior at 0.43, allthough superior to US rivals, the Mercury Lynx featuring the then all important wedge shape that would draw customers to the showroom.
Later derivatives included a three-door notchback coupe, and a fastback five-door sedan. Another difference with the US-built cars was to be found in the bodyside panels which were not stamped from a single steel sheet as in Europe, the reason being that the US presses were incapable of carrying out such an operation.
At 13.68 ft (4.17 metres) the US cars were 7.87 in (20 cm) longer than the European Escort, but they weigh some 500 Ib (227 kg) less than the Pinto and Bobcat which they replace. Sporting derivatives are designated Escort SS and Lynx RS, but the differences are merely cosmetic, both cars having the standard engines.