Oldest Escort XR3 in the UK up for auction

One of only three press launch models of the Ford Escort XR3 headlines the Barons Classic Winter Warmers sale at Sandown Park on February 27

Oldest Escort XR3 in the UK up for auction

The United Kingdom's oldest remaining and also one of only three remaining pre-production models Ford Escort XR3 is up for auction in Barons’ Classic Winter Warmer sale on February 27.

It was first registered on 21 November 1980 along with two other press cars, a week before the car’s public launch.

Prior to a nut-and-bolt restoration two years ago, the Escort spent the early part of its life as a demonstrator car for Brooklyn Ford of Redditch, followed by a long period in storage starting in the late 1990s.

New panels have since been fitted, and the car repainted in original Sunburst Red, with a mere 1,000 miles added to the clock since the completion of its restoration in 2016.

This particular XR3 comes with certain rare features that mark out its early model status, including gloss black sills, a colour keyed non-locking fuel cap and twin seat belt stalks.

The reputedly strong running 1.6 CVH engine is fitted with a Weber carburettor, which lasted for only two years of production before the fuel-injection XR3i was introduced.

A full engine and gearbox rebuild was also completed, along with other new components such as the steering rack and fuel tank. The XR3 is now in an unusually fresh state, unblemished by the ‘boy racer’ curse that afflicted so many other examples.

Despite the extensive work carried out to bring the Escort back to a better state, the guide price for this rare example is in the £11,000 to £15,000 range, making it a rather more reasonably priced option than your average pre-production classic.

For those with a bit more cash to burn, the same Barons sale has a trio of Series I Jaguar E-Types up for auction, but a silver-blue 1962 Fixed-Head Coupe in particular has an unusual history.

It was the subject of a fraudulent insurance claim while being stripped and repainted in a friend of the claimant’s garage, being fully rebuilt and restored since using its matching numbers engine, gearbox and axle, leading to an estimate of £130,000-£150,000.