Ford Escort Mk3 XR3 1980 to 1982
Performance version of the new, hatchbacked Escort, with a carburetor equipped 1600 CVH engine. The standard fitment was a 186/60HR14 radial tyre on a 5.5J wheel.
Codenamed Erika during its development process, the Ford Escort Mk3 was the first Escort to feature front-wheel drive and to come in hatchback form. When it arrived in 1980 the Escort Mk3 came as a three- or five-door hatch or there was a three-door estate (a five-door estate arrived in 1983); buyers could choose from 1.1, 1.3 or 1.6-litre petrol engines. At first only a manual gearbox was offered but from November 1982 the 1.6-litre engine could be specified as an auto.
Part of the early line-up was the sporty XR3 with a 96bhp carburetted 1598cc engine; the 105bhp injected XR3i superseded this in October 1982. Just a month later the 115bhp RS1600i arrived, developed to satisfy Group A race regulations.
Ford had a busy year in 1984 with the launch of the Escort Cabriolet as well as a diesel engine for the more prosaic models. But the ultimate Escort Mk3 was launched in this year too: the 132bhp RS Turbo which came only in white and featured an eye-catching bodykit. In 1986 the Escort Mk3 was replaced by the Mk4.