Home » I Am Uncomfortably Attracted To This Cayman Green 1992 Ford Escort GT

I Am Uncomfortably Attracted To This Cayman Green 1992 Ford Escort GT

Ford Cayman Escort Gt Top

Like a baby duckling imprinting on its mother, the car you wanted when you were 11 is a car you’re going to want the rest of your life and there’s nothing you can do to change that. I wanted every car when I was 11, which is how I ended up doing this for a living, but a Cayman Green 1992 Ford Escort GT was near the top of my list. There’s one for sale over at Cars & Bids and it’s giving me a lot of feels.

Ford Cayman Escort Gt 1

The cultural critic Rob Harvilla made a good point recently on the “Sunny Day Real Estate” episode of his podcast “60 Songs That Explain The ’90s” that you shouldn’t feel shame for the music you liked in high school and, specifically, that there’s nothing wrong with coming to a band late. If you listened to Lou Bega instead of Pavement when you were 13 then that’s just what it is and hopefully your tastes have expanded as you’ve aged. My automotive tastes have gotten better, and wider, as I’ve driven and seen more cars. That doesn’t make this Cayman Green 1992 Ford Escort GT any less desirable to me.

Some background: I didn’t have a lot of money growing up. My parents did a great job and it wasn’t always obvious to me, but there were definitely lean times and I’m almost embarrassed now to think of all the things I told them I needed given that it’s clear to me now it required them sacrificing what they wanted in order for me to have a Sega Genesis or whatever. I say I’m almost embarrassed because, having a kid now, I realize that’s part of the deal. What they wanted more than anything was for me to be happy and not notice so much that all my friends had way more stuff and way more money and went on way more trips.

Ford Cayman Escort Gt 2

In 1994, my parents were about my age now, which is to say they were in their late 30s. Neither of them had purchased a new car. Ever. The family cars were, roughly, a used VW Beetle, a used Subaru BRAT, a used Isuzu Impulse, and a used Izusu i-Mark. That’s a pretty rad mix of cars now that I review it in a list, though none of these cars were in concours condition.

After years of hard work my parents managed to scrape their way into the middle class and it was time for a shiny new car. Would it be a BMW? A Mercedes? No, of course not. Both out of economic necessity and habit, my parents first-ever new car was a 1994 Ford Escort. Not even an LX. Just a black base Ford Escort. It had unpainted bumpers, a manual transmission, no radio, and not even a passenger-side mirror (not a legal requirement). The only luxury item was the A/C, which is a basic human right in East Texas.

[Editor’s Note: I too have a weird affection for these early ’90s Escorts, because it was a base model one (albeit with a slushbox) that I raced in the 24 hours of Lemons way back when.

Lemons EscortI grew to respect the car, in its own humble way, after that. – JT]

I loved this car because it seemed new and fantastic and even had those automatic seatbelts that made it feel like a spaceship with a tiny robot that cared about my safety.

I have one picture of me with the car, resplendent in an oversized denim vest and whatever knockoff Air Jordans they sold at Mervins. This picture is vertical, which used to not matter, so I’ve added another photo I found around the same era of me apparently unable to touch the hood of a Ford Contour because it’s too hot. The sexiness radiating off the rebadged Mondeo is just too much for young me to handle.

Caymanescorttoohot

I’ve got the same shoes, but this time I’m in a purple hoodie shirt and my haircut can best be described as ‘chill monk.’ If you didn’t live through the ’90s the only reference points that might help are: 9/11 hadn’t happened yet and we’d just won the Cold War but didn’t know what to do with that information other than electing a guy President in no small part because he could play saxophone.

The three-door Escort was safe, reliable transportation. Based on the Mazda B platform, it shared a chassis with similar era Mazda 323 and Protege. The black one my parents bought carried over a revised version of the ho-hum 1.9-liter mill from the first gen (US) Escort. What I really wanted them to get was the GT.

Ford Cayman Escort Gt 3

In top trim, the Cayman Green 1992 Ford Escort GT is approximately perfect. First, just look at it. Those twisty alloy five spoke wheels are already extremely ’90s, but the matching paint is just the Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper cherry on top. As Jason pointed out when I brought this car up, it’s also one of the few cars that pulls off asymmetry really well with that little slotted grille insert.

Is it basically a FWD Miata? I’d buy that. It has the same 1.8-liter, DOHC four-cylinder shared with the Miata. Output from the little motor is up to an impressive 127 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque. The one for sale on Cars & Bids has the four-speed automatic, which is one of the reasons why I’d personally take a pass. With a manual it would be undeniably choice.

Ford Cayman Escort Gt Motor

Still, it’s a great-looking car and owned by the same family since 1993. The 82,000 miles on the odometer are nothing for this car. Plus, you get a tachometer! I learned to drive stick a few years later in that same black ’92 Escort (My parents also bought a 1996 car a few years later but that was stolen) and it didn’t have a tach. You just got a little arrow to tell you when it was most appropriate to shift for fuel economy, though I almost entirely ignored that and just shifted when it sounded/felt right.

Ford Cayman Escort Gt Tach

In some weird future I might buy one of these, though these days my tastes have evolved just enough that I’d maybe want the crazy fuchsia one. Anyone want to place on what the nostalgia factor drives this price to? As of this writing it’s at $4,300.

All photos Cars & Bids.

 

 

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64 Responses

  1. I feel ya. My best friend had one an use to give me a ride to school everyday and I’ve been in love with them ever since.
    One day I’m gonna buy a standard Gen1 or 2 in some terrible color like maroon or brown and throw a ecoboost 2.0 in it. That little car with 250HP would be a hoot.

  2. Its funny reading this since I just bought my 8th vehicle related to this one of the article lol a 1995 Mercury Tracer Wagon with 55K miles for $1k, so clean and runs so good. I had to buy tires because they were like 10 years old. Its an automatic transmission but its ok, I am not planning to race on a wagon haha I love the automatic seatbelts

  3. We raced these things on dirt Circle Tracks. They were incredibly durable, bouncing off the rev limiters at the end of the straightaways, carrying the left rear tires a foot of the ground. The class eventually looked like an Escort GT version of IROC. You just stripped them, put in a cage and could run. Maybe new struts, and the RR lower control arm would snap periodically, but the most fun for under $1000 in history.

  4. I’ve had my share of Escorts, all wagons (88, 91, and a 94 Mercury Tracer). Great little basic cars. Nothing fancy, but got the job done. HATED the automatic seatbelts. I ended up unplugging the motors and just unbuckling it at the door frame to get in and out. After a 5-speed conversion, the Tracer got 40+ mpg. I drove it for 2 years with no starter! Just parked on hills. Closest I got to a GT was swapping the “good parts” from an earlier GT into my 88 wagon. That was pre-Mazda, though. The 1.9 HO!

  5. Hah. I thought I was the only one who was attracted to these in the 90s. I was probably 15 and near getting my first car, so I thought the Ford Escort GT was a realistic option in a world where all my high school peers were getting Mustangs and Camaros and pickup trucks (I am also from Texas).

    My brother made fun of me for wanting a Ford Escort and it made me defensive so I had to explain the sporting cred of the GT variant over the base Escort he was thinking of, and he backed down because he knew I was more of a gearhead than he was.

    It was not long afterwards where I discovered the difference between FWD and RWD, so then by the time I actually got to driving age I was all about the RWD sports cars, and so I pivoted to an S13 (in my case, I eventually got a ’91 240SX coupe). I liked that car so much I ended up owning another two S14s after that.

  6. I have a stick shift, it has a tachometre, and I still shift when it sounds/feels right. Mainly, sounds. Shifting is by ear. I can’t stare at the tach the whole time (I need to look ahead FFS), but I can hear the engine revs.

  7. My high school buddy and also college roommate had two escorts of this generation. Both were Ford executive lease cars. One was a black ‘91 lx four door that took so much abuse his dad had it repainted before turning it back in. The ‘93 was a GT in the Electric Raspberry (fuchsia), that would have been totally awesome if it were a stick but instead it was just awesome due to the automatic.

  8. I had a ’93 Escort, and even with the rough, low-powered 1.9L CVH engine and the 4-speed, it was still a fun little car, so an extra 40hp, a manual, a willingness to rev and all the little performance touches would be a great desirable little car.

    Now, my parents’ frugal, sensible 90’s compact was a ’93 Plymouth Sundance (first car I drove too!). A warmed over K-car wasn’t anything special of in base form, and I doubt that the Duster (even with V6 and 5-speed) was much better, although I still would out of curiosity. But, I do sort of want a Shelby CSX, or even better a CSX-T (I know it’s down a bunch of power, but it’s more interesting).

  9. 2nd car I ever owned ( 1st car was a beater $800 79 Mustang that lasted a year) was a brand new 1992 base model Escort from this same era. It was so base, it didn’t have a radio or passenger mirror… it was so reliable though. I always wanted the GT from the same time frame so the feels are real on this one. I would buy one current day if it looked that good and the price wasn’t Bring a Trailer crazy.

    1. I should have read it first, so I had the same base model but didn’t have AC… I didn’t live in the South so it wasn’t so bad for 17/18 year old me. Anyway, it was a great car and traded it in about 6 years later( about 80K miles) for a used but very cool looking 1993 MR2 non-turbo ( did get killed on the interest rate though)

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