In 1982, Ford launched a sporty companion car to its new Escort subcompact lineup, the Ford EXP and Mercury LN7.


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In 1982, Ford launched a sporty companion car to its new Escort subcompact lineup, the Ford EXP and Mercury LN7. These small FWD two seaters were meant to compete with the Dodge 024 and assorted Japanese sporty coupes. However it proved faster than it looked as the EXP managed to weigh 200 pounds more than a standard Escort 2 door hatchback and had the same underwhelming 1.6L engine, mated with a standard 4-speed manual gearbox. A 5-speed was optional, and a 3-speed automatic. Over 48,000 EXPs were moved the first year but sales tapered after that. Several improvements by 1984 included a turbo version of the standard 1.6L engine.

The EXP was dropped for the 1985 model year and then brought back halfway through as 1985-1/2 models bearing Ford's new "aero" design motif. Some 83,000 of these were sold through the 1988 MY after which it was dropped due to hikes on two seater insurance rates. The Gen 2 EXP had the newer, larger 1.9L Escort engine and by the end, sequential multiport fuel injection.

The LN-7 was shorter-lived; a respectable 49,000 of the 1982 models (edging the EXP slightly) gave way to a meager 4,528 of the 1983 models after which the plug was pulled. Customer surveys found that the typical small sporty car buyer was not as likely to visit a Mercury-Lincoln showroom--similar issues plagued the Mercury Capri during this period.

  1. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    never seen one of these IRL. i think maybe I saw a 2nd gen somewhere once like 25 years ago that was it. guess they didn't stay on the road very long.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      They were pretty trash and most of them were owned by high school girls who didn't exactly take care of the things.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      No reason for the things to exist past their time. Even the Pinto has more of a cult following because at least it's RWD and the Fiero has the exotic factor of being mid-engined.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      Ive seen a few of the facelifted later ones but never a frogeyed early one.
      Look like cheap fun if you got the room for one.

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        The later facelifted L-Body Dodge Charger used to be fairly common but also never the 83 and earlier frog eye ones.

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        I had a frog eye. Neat looking but completely unremarkable in every single way.

        Not really shit, certainly not any good. Just a car, amd a weird looking not very practical one at that.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          it's just a slightly cooler-looking 1st gen Escort and nothing more than that

  2. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    ugly

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      the Gen 2 EXPs are better looking

  3. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Wouldn't it have been easier to just import the good Escorts?

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      In theory yes but Ford couldn't be sure Americans would go for European cars so they preferred to play it safe and make stuff that felt and handled like the V8 boats everyone was used to, just smaller. Chrysler were the same way--they wanted to sell you the big car feel in the smaller Omni/Aries package.

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        yeah the Hondas from that time were fun to drive. first gen Escorts were not. too many compromises to make sure they were palatable to 45 year old Midwestern church secretaries.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      The Exp is basically an escort

  4. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    It really looks like a car that should've had pop-up headlights with the way they tried to have it be wedge shaped yet with those awkward protrusions for the headlights. The facelift was better by a longshot.

    I miss when "sporty", lightweight economy cars were a normal thing.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      >It really looks like a car that should've had pop-up headlights with the way they tried to have it be wedge shaped yet with those awkward protrusions for the headlights.
      More accurate way of putting it is they simply nicked the styling from the Dodge 024/Plymouth TC3. Even copied the same sci-fi naming convention.

      >024/TC3
      >EXP/LN7

      Seriously, they were fucking shameless.

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        the 024 had a back seat at least and the Chrysler 2.2L engine was a lot beefier than the lawn mower Escort engine

  5. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    The Chevy Monza was cool it just had shitty build quality and most of them were turned into race cars or ended up in the scrap yard

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      same deal with the Pinto. it was RWD so many became hot rod b8 and died early deaths.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      Nice https://youtu.be/XZgKapNQD_8

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        damn that is bad ass, I have one but its too good to make into a race car.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          The Chevy Monza was cool it just had shitty build quality and most of them were turned into race cars or ended up in the scrap yard

          the V8 was too tight for the engine compartment in these

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        They built hot rod Chevettes by ramming the 350 V8s in them. Now that was a tight fit.

  6. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    can someone explain why our domestic companies are so fucking garbage and exclusively make dogshit and operate in an extremely shortsighted and myopic business sense
    imagine ruining your cars so bad for the past 20+ years that no modern youth even considers buying a car from their domestic company
    Europe didn't accomplish this
    Japan didn't accomplish this

    But nobody wants to be caught dead in anything domestic unless its a truck or a sports car. and I say sports car because they totally ruined their muscle cars and made them sports cars instead

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      >can someone explain why our domestic companies are so fucking garbage and exclusively make dogshit and operate in an extremely shortsighted and myopic business sense
      >Europe didn't accomplish this
      oh boy you know nothing about VW

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      Three simple letters. U, A, and W.

  7. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    do you remember american econo coupes

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      surprised that car has survived in New England. you can even see the salt-damaged pavement.

  8. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    This definitely looks like the Midwest and I'm stunned how that thing could survive there and be in that nice condition.

  9. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    wish they would have offered the 2.3 turbo in this thing

  10. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    the assembly quality of EXPs doesn't seem to have been that bad but they were also not very interesting cars either

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