Unexceptional Classics

Unexceptional Classifieds: Ford Escort Huntsman Estate

by Antony Ingram
20 January 2023 2 min read
Unexceptional Classifieds: Ford Escort Huntsman Estate
Photos: Car & Classic Auctions

Price: Auction
Mileage: 106,846
Condition: Used but cherished
Advert: Car & Classic Auctions

We wrote recently about old-money cars – that curious group of vehicles, useful yet understated, that don’t shout too loudly about their qualities. As such, they often seem to be bought by old-money types.

A few commenters disagreed with our picks, suggesting instead things like old Rollers, but anything you can associate closely with fame and celebrity – by definition those at the flashier end of the spectrum, with a small exception for associations with royalty – doesn’t feel very “old money” to us.

A well-kept old Subaru Legacy does though, despite protestations that we’d included one. It’s the kind of car someone probably bought with cash 30 years ago, always returns to the local family dealership for servicing, and is as familiar a sight on the country estate as a border collie. You can also be fairly sure that no Radio One DJ or flamboyant popstar has ever owned one.

Taking a wild stab in the dark with another, we’re getting old-money vibes from this 1981 Ford Escort 1.3 L Huntsman Estate (to give it its full title – let’s just call it the Huntsman from now on) being auctioned by Car & Classic.

For a start, the name: Huntsman. Brings up images of going out in the morning with a rifle and coming back in the afternoon with a pheasant dinner, doesn’t it? Probably a little high-brow for an Escort, honestly, but it’s a good name. Next, it’s maroon with gold trim, like the worn leather and studs on a bit of furniture passed down over umpteen generations.

It’s also an estate, which always feels a bit old-money, since old-money types appreciate a bit of practicality. You probably need space for wellies, or dogs, or a dead game bird. And given that by 1981 the Mk2 Escort was already being phased out by the front-wheel drive Mk3, it’s also a bit anachronistic. Old money never buys the latest, flashiest thing – by 1981, Ford would have well and truly ironed out any niggles with the Mk2, making it the perfect car to buy knowing you’d hang onto it until it expires.

And hang onto it the previous owner of this Escort did, having owned it for the last 36 years. It’s only had three owners in total, and all have apparently looked after it very well, with every MOT certificate and tax disc since new joining a hefty history file to back up its upkeep.

Ford made just 150 Huntsman Escorts back in the day, apparently all sold from southeast Ford dealers, and based on the Ghia at the time. Ford also offered a Granada Huntsman alongside it.

With more than 100,000 miles on the clock it’s lived a proper life, and its condition shouldn’t dissuade the next owner from using it. Nor should any old-money connotations dissuade them from bringing it along to this year’s Festival of the Unexceptional, because ultimately this is a well-used Mk2 Ford Escort estate.

That makes it proper 1970s (1980s in this instance) road furniture, and perhaps the perfect intersection between old money and unexceptional.

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  • Phil Collins says:

    Great little article thanks. The other Huntsman was a Cortina Mk V, not a Granada as stated (see brochure in your photo). There was a vaguely similar limited edition Granada – called the Chasseur.

  • Phil Collins says:

    Without wishing to be too pedantic, you’ll also find that the Escort Huntsman was based on the 1.3L, not the Ghia as stated in the article. The rear badge on your photo gives a clue! – ‘1.3L’ – also, interior has no wood, etc as per Ghia spec.

  • Stephen+Pye says:

    I was about to say exactly what Phil said! Ford did quite a few long forgotten special editions anyone remember the kingfisher mk1 Fiesta ? In a totally appropriate turquisey colour

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