Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ford 1975: The Other Side of the World

The cover of the 1975 German Ford Escort brochure, available in coupe, sedan and wagon bodystyles. This has become known as the Series II for this platform, the Series I being built from 1969-74. In '75 the car was restyled with more contemporary squared up lines. The wagon used the new front clip grafted onto its older, more rounded body—not an aesthetic triumph to say the least—but one that must have been rooted in economics. I think this updated body is very attractive, the rear wheel drive proportions clearly in evidence, and the thin pillars and low beltline are exactly to my taste.

I spent some time in Germany in the spring of '75, as part of an exchange program. I studied German for four years in high school, as well as French and Russian, but honestly, was never very good at foreign languages. My last attempt was a year of Intensive German in college, and then I decided to concentrate on studies I actually could progress in, lol. In the spring of '74 I had planned a Russian exchange, but at the last minute, literally the week before I was to leave, the Russian government cancelled all visas for a while. So I was really happy to go to Germany the next year.

The mid-level Escort L coupe. There was a base level underneath this, and a Ghia level above.

The wagon bodystyle utilized the rear body of the more rounded earlier Series I, which didn't really mate very well with the squared up front clip. "Basic" sure describes the rear space. I can't think of any American wagons from that time with plain painted metal for the load floor. If not carpeted, domestic wagons usually came with a linoleum-type floor covering in a matte finish.

The upmarket Ghia level of trim included this oh-so-American vinyl roof. The sedan's updated greenhouse looks great to my eyes. Comparable cars imported to the US at this time would have been the rear wheel-drive Plymouth Cricket and Mitsubishi Colt and the brand-new front wheel drive VW Rabbit.

The Escort Sport, with its rally-inspired driving lights and blackout trim.

• For the Wiki on this European rear-wheel drive Escort, click here.


  1. These Escorts are really cute! I guess Ford never tried to sell them here because they had the Pinto. I think at that point the smallest car they'd tried to sell here were the Cortinas of the 60s -- a couple of different generations. Ed Mullane, a big Ford dealer in New Jersy and a big shot in the Ford National Dealer Association, and from whom we bought a couple of Falcons, steered us away from a 68 Cortina that I thought would be a cool car to have. He didn't say much, just that we didn't really want that! I guess his honesty was part of what made him so successful.

    Paul, NYC

  2. I'm pretty sure the designer of the Pinto worked on this Escort facelift too, and they couldn't be more different! I'm not sure if he was lead designer, but I've read the Virgil Exner Jr worked on both cars, and he's the designer that judged the recent Studebaker contest I entered. See? There is a slight method to my more-than-slight madness in coming up with posts! I try to keep themes going, not that they're discernible to anyone but me... : )