Ford Escort XR3i Buying Guide, ADVICE FROM A SPECIALIST

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Ford Escort XR3i Mk3 Mk4 Buying Guide, ADVICE FROM A SPECIALIST

Who are you?

I am the managing director of a ‘Superb Classics and Sports Ltd’, based in South Wales.  As the name suggested our interest is supplying you with the very best classic and sports cars available on the market.  Our specialities are:  Toyota MR2 Mk1 (AW11), VW Scirocco, Ford RS and XR Models and exceptionally low mileage/owner vehicles from 1970-1990.



Why are you writing this report?

To help those who are looking to buy an exceptional classic sports car, in this instance every boy racers dream the Escort XR3i.  Also in order to hopeful draw your attention to our e-bay items and our official website – where you may just find the car you have been searching for.  After all, we are specialists.  This is not a complete guide; there are many more important factors that need to be looked at in order to find a ‘Superb’ example.



Why the Escort XR3i? (1982-1990)

 Firstly and fore mostly because of the way it makes you feel.  If you have ever owned one of these 80’s classics then you will most probably know what I mean.  If not then you will know as soon as you find the right example.  Original is best.

Legendary 80’s Boy Racer Status

Free revving and torquey 1.6i 8v CVH Engine

Very light cars for their size

5 speed gearbox in most examples

Fantastic FWD handling – suspension setup was changed enhancing this in the Mk4 (86-90)

Surprisingly reliable – if well maintained

All mechanical and body parts readily available

A few toys available – EW, CL, EM, HFW etc…

Very spacious inside

Excellent investment

Cheap Tax (£200 a year)

Very cheap to insure on a classic policy

Stands out from the crowd – a 80’s Classic



So, what’s the not so good stuff about these cars?


Rust – that’s what kills most of them:

                Wheel arches

                Rear chassis legs

                Boot floor



                Battery tray (causes rain water leeks)

                Fuse Box  (causes rain water leeks)

 As a result of the above many have been excessively welded             

Many have had lots of previous owners (8-20!)

Many of them were actually stolen in the 90’s!

Many have very little history, due to the above.

Lots of heavily modified examples, mostly cosmetic i.e. RS Turbo replicas

The option belt driven ABS system is absolutely rubbish, often disabled

Decals missing indicating a re-spray, but on a tight budget as not to replace these items.


I think I’d like to try one of these, any other advice?


As with most cars and particular with classic cars – You get what you pay for.  Always buy the best example you can afford, this will ultimately save you money in the long term – even make you some.  That’s a lesson learnt many years ago.  Buying from a XR / RS specialist – such as ourselves – can safe you a lot of heartbreak, time and your hard earned pay.  A good specialist will only buy the best cars available, and they will know their onions, or Escorts in this case.  Example of a potentially very good XR3i:


1989 Ford Escort XR3i – Radiant Red

2 Previous Owners

Excellent Unworn Interior

Original Bill of sale!

MOT 8-12 Months

75,000 miles

Extensive folder full of service history

15 Old MOT’s to verify the mileage

Original Hand books

All original glass and lights

Everything works off the one key

3 Month Warranty


A very original example in superb condition.  Viewing welcomed, call me anytime if you have any questions or to arrange a viewing or test drive.



Tell tale signs of a potentiality typical XR3i:


1986 Escort XR3i

8 Owners

Average condition

Lowered 30mm

RS Turbo interior and sports steering wheel

only 40,000 miles on clock

Not much rust

Had full history but the last owner didn’t pass it on as his next door neighbours, uncles mate misplaced it.  Then the fish ate it.  But it’s like a new car!


Very good condition.  (Photos taken at night, in the rain or when car is wet(to give the illusion of a good paint finish) – beware!)


Note: There are a lot of bad cars out there that people claim are in very good condition, BEWARE.  If in doubt – then go and check it out.  And check people’s feedback for other cars they have sold.  What did the customer say?




I hope that this guide will be useful to you.  Let me know if it is, I would appreciate that :).  If you are after just a good condition XR3i then happy hunting, there are some out there but they will undoubting need a bit of cash spending on the body, gearbox and the usual rust areas that these cheaper less cared for examples have perished.  HOWEVER, if your after a near Concourse condition XR3i RS Turbo, a low mileage ‘Minter’ or even just an excellent everyday car that will be the envy of all your friends – get in touch and check to see if we have your XR in stock today!  Our official website address can be found via our E-Bay Profile, and be sure to check out our e-bay items.


*For complete peace of mind contact us about our XR3i Warranty Program.



Best Regards


D. Crisp

Managing Director

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