Benoni South Africa My life experiences

Ford Escort 1600 Sport 1981


I was lucky enough to have owned a Ford Escort 1600 Sport in 1981. When I turned 18 years old my parents helped me buy the ever popular 1600 Sport. Up until today it must be the car that I was most passionate about, maybe just because it was my first car or maybe it was just that awesome.

The excitement was high the day when my Dad took me to Eriksons Ford in Johannesburg to look at the Escorts on the showroom floor. There were a couple of colours available but I set my heart on the Creme coloured one on the showroom floor.

The paperwork was done with a signature or two from my Dad and the long wait followed. Loan had to be organized and the Ford Escort serviced and got ready to be delivered. I wish I could remember the exact date that I eventually went and fetched my brand new 1600 Sport but it must have been around June or July 1981 Im sure.

Ford Escort
My brand new Ford Escort 1600 Sport

With my newly acquired drivers license and new car the world became my playground, or so it sure felt at the time. All thought that raced around in my mind was “Girls here I come” LOL, my life definitely changed with my new car.

I was studying at the Benoni College during 1981 and felt like a million dollars as I was able to go to college with my car – awesome times! Came 10 September 1981 we were sitting in class and noticed that it was starting to snow. We were eventually let out early and I drove home in the snow, once or twice nearly damaging my Ford Escort on the slippery roads.

We in South Africa, in what was the Transvaal at the time, were really not equipped to drive in snow. But luckily we both survived intact on the day.

Ford Escort 1981 in the snow
10 September 1981 Snow

One of the things I clearly remember is when riding and another Ford Escort 1600 Sport approached from the front the drivers would always flash their lights at each other. Im sure it was a spin off from the Ford Escort advert that was on at the time. Fun Times!

Saturday mornings were always set aside to wash my car. Cleaning it inside and out, the car always looked in show room condition. It was also the car that I learnt how to service and how engines worked. Many hours were spent dismantling the “carbs” and doing modifications.

As time progressed I began making the car look like one of a kind. With some engine modifications and body accessories it became quite unique. Something I regretted later as everyone always knew where I was which was not an ideal situation for an 18 year old guy 🙂 .

Ford Escort 1600 Sport
One of a kind Escort 1600 Sport

The following year 1982 I met the young girl that became my wife in 1984. What more could a guy ask for, having a stunning girlfriend and the 1600 Sport. The two of us had mega fun and went to visit many a place with the car.

Later in the year Ford released the Ford Sierra. It was such a different shape and I just had to have one! Back to Eriksons Ford in Johannesburg and a few days later I had traded the Escort in on a Ford Sierra 2.0 GL.

Ford Sierra
Ford Sierra 2.0 GL

The Sierra stayed with me until about 1989. Luckily, through the learnt skills on the Escort, I could keep the Sierra going until it virtually felt as if it was going to fall apart.

The price we purchased the Ford Escort 1600 Sport for in 1981 was in the vicinity of R4300. The Ford Sierra we payed R11 330 for which included the tinted windows.

Good times! 🙂

I would love to hear from folks that also had the 1600 Sport and we can share some of our adventures with the car.

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