Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Second Car: 1988 Ford Escort GT

Ahh, my second car.  After the 1984 Cutlass Ciera that got me through the last year of high school and the first year of college (and no farther) I was desperate for a vehicle to get around with as a budding adult.  Getting to work and back and forth to my new college friends' houses was a necessity to me, not an extravagance.

So it was that my parents went to Southern States Auto in Lee, MA and purchased me a 1988 Ford Escort GT.  It was my first manual transmission vehicle (thank goodness it forced me to learn this skill every man should have), was a two door hatchback and was clad in copious amounts of grey plastic and a rear spoiler to make it look like that era's 5.0 Mustang GT (if you squinted really hard and had drank a few too many beers you might mistake it for one).  Unfortunately its performance was decidedly Escort like.  Slow, wallowing and prone to rust and electrical issues.

The best features in the car were not to be found on regular Escorts (wider wheels/tires and fog lights to give it more of that Mustang look) but it was more the vehicles inability to start on a regular basis that was its most memorable character.  It would start or not seemingly at whim.  Diagnosing this issue was something that could never be solved by any host of repair shops and would plague it until it was disposed of.

A cardboard covered with felt lid covering the truck area of the hatchback was decidedly cheap and another detracting factor in my feelings regarding this vehicle.

The car served me in a pedestrian manner--when it ran--over the approximately two years I drove it.  One of its final acts was something I would always be thankful though the car was on the whole was something that has put me off of Ford ever since.  On a most miserable night where I was to go home alone after a miserable few hours of viewing what had become my ex-girlfriend without me and leaving the place I was at I had no one to call or to give me a lift home other than this said ex if the Escort failed to start--who would undoubtedly think my unstarting car was a ploy by me to try and weasel my way back into her life.

Sitting in the driver's seat and turning the key the Escort did its usual thing--click, click, bzzzzzzz.  The dash lit up but no effort by the engine to start.  My god, of all nights I thought.  What are my options??  Walk the 12 miles home?  Call a cab?  Go to the ex and face that disaster?  Oh, god, just please somehow start when I try this again (turning the key a second time)...Vrrrmmmm....Elation!!  And off to my apartment I went.  The car would be gone a few months later as its electrical problems and unreliability were too much for me to take and I begged my parents to take it away and replace it.  What happened exactly to it I can't clearly remember.  Was it traded in for the next car?  Was it left at a shop as it couldn't be put right?  I'm unsure.  I never missed not driving the Escort GT and there was virtually nothing about it that I'd want it in any car I'd choose to have but I will remember it.

1 comment:

Erwin Calverley said...

As good as it sounds how your car helped you with your love life, I think the car would have been a great investment if you restored or restomoded it. Start with the engine, and then meticulously inspect the transmission, overdrive unit, and the driveshaft. The electrical system must be inspected thoroughly. As soon as it shows wear or damage, replace the parts that need replacements. Once these steps are done, you will have a smoother driving experience with your car.

Erwin Calverley