1982 Ford Escort MK III XR3 Injection. Factory Black with Grey Velour Sports Upholstery. The Escort’s mix of sporty looks, bargain price and eager performance made it a hot hatch hit with British motorists during the Eighties. Although it lacked rarity and competition history, the XR3i finishes ahead of the RS1600i here. When engineers at Ford added fuel injection to the XR3’s 1.6-litre engine in 1983, they created a performance legend. While the Peugeot 205 GTi was faster and sharper to drive, it was the Escort’s mix of sporty looks, bargain price and eager performance that made it a hot hatch hit with British motorists during the Eighties. The original version stood out thanks to its eyecatching ‘cloverleaf’ alloy wheels and large black spoilers front and rear. Naturally, all true weekend boy racers who were respectable area sales managers during the week scanned the list of tempting options; electric windows, central locking, headlamp washers and that all-important radio-cassette player to listen to Sultans of Swing as you sped down the A roads. The pepper pot style Cloverleaf alloy wheels and 185/60R14 tyres enhanced the XR3’s clean styling while beneath the bonnet was the 1,597cc CVH engine. 95bhp from the twin-choke Weber carburettor. A top speed of around 112 mph was very respectable by the standards of the day – and 0-60 in 8.5 seconds was an improvement over a certain German hot hatchback. The XR3’s main rivals were the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus, the Fiat Strada 105TC, the Alfa Romeo Alfasud 1.5 Ti – and the VW Golf GTi Mk.1. The Golf was nearly £600 more expensive than the £5,123 Escort but had a five-speed gearbox – as indeed had the slightly cheaper Alfa Romeo.
Road testers bemoaned the ‘excessive engine noise’ and ‘appalling ride’ – the latter was a persistent issue with the XR - but also noted that ‘the Ford clearly has the most potential, a great deal of which is still to be realised’. And the Escort was certainly developed, with a long-awaited fifth gear from February 1982 onwards and, in January 1983 there was the debut of the XR3i, as developed by Ron Mansfield’s team at Ford’s Special Vehicle Engineering division over the previous 16 months. The carbs were replaced by a Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection and although the price was now £6,278, the Escort’s top speed was now 120mph and Autocar awarded it the accolade that it ‘now represents a real threat to the Golf’. By the time that the Escort Mk. III was replaced by the facelifted Mk. IV in March of 1986, the XR3i had already come to define an entirely new market sector, one in which ostentation and performance were equally matched. The original XR badged Escorts are now rare, desirable and a fascinating example of the early 1980s motoring and the survivors often prompt fond memories. This particular car is a very early injection model registered in December 1982. It was supplied new by UBM Ford Ltd of Cardiff to Mr Mark Seward of Pontypridd. Mr Steward kept the car for just about a year when it was sold to Mr Chris Thomas of Caerphilly on 14/12/1983. Chris would keep hold of the Escort until August 1986 when ownership passed to Cyril Johns of Neath. Mr Johns would not part with the Ford for 21 years when it passed to Daryl Cramer of Wareham on 27/12/2007. Daryl himself would keep the car a further 9 years until 2016 when John Yeoman purchased the car and is the most recent keeper. The car has been very well cared for and is still in great order today. The underside is good and has never been welded, waxoyled and sealed by previous keepers. Four fully refurbished Cloverleaf wheels and Firestone 185 tyres. Plus spare original in the boot. The car runs and drives very well with everything working, the body is very strong with no rust or rot, original steering wheel and the parcel shelf still in place. The Interior is all original, grey with red piping plus door cards. Good carpet, good seats and never refurbished. The Ford shows just over 34,000 miles on the instrument panel. The dash and instrument cluster have been changed due to cracking. Previously the the mileage had been recorded at 74.909 in 2007. (Stated on MOT certificate). The Engine pulls well and just over two years ago had a full refurbishment carried out on the K-Jetronic injection system at The Tipton Garage in Devon. Rolling road tuned and print out is in the history file. Fast Fords are really on the rise now and we see them as sound investments. This is a car that will make you feel eighteen again a put a huge smile on your face. Absolutely any inspection is welcome. All major debit cards accepted. * Free delivery within the U.K mainland. *