Not Just Another Beater: 2002 Ford Escort ZX2 S/R Clone

There are beaters…and then there are cars that love to be beaten.  Some cars will tolerate being bangshifted and put away wet — and other cars thrive on a severe drive cycle.  I’m thinking this next car will fall nicely into that latter category and the price is throw-me-away-if-something-breaks cheap. Find this 2002 Ford Escort ZX2 S/R Clone offered for $500 in Ann Arbor, MI via craiglist. Tip from Nicholas.

From the seller:

2002 Ford Escort ZX2

VIN: 3FAFP11332R139049

condition: good

cylinders: 4 cylinders

drive: fwd

fuel: gas

odometer: 260000

paint color: red

size: compact

title status: clean

transmission: automatic

type: coupe

Great Rallycross or Ice Racing candidate or Winter Car as I used it.

2002 ZX2 S/R clone, 260.000 reliable miles on the car and engine, about 100,000 on the transmission. Life-long Michigan car so there is rust. The car runs and drives and handles way better than any other Escort you’ve ever seen or driven. Everything works, including AC, with 2 exceptions.

THE EXCEPTIONS: It needs a fuel line repair at the fuel filter inlet (in engine compartment), kits to repair this specific Ford issue are readily available, I did it once a couple of years ago, it needs it again, shown in the parts in trunk image. It needs a starter, or a good whack with a hammer on the starter, your choice. It still has the assembly line starter. I tolerated this “click” no spin issue when it happened in the past by just twisting the key on, off, on and it always worked. Another typical Escort issue. I last drove the car in August so it’s been sitting since then.

The only significant aspect in which this car differs from a factory ZX2 S/R is that it’s an automatic rather than a 5-speed. It was a used car (CPO from Blackwell Ford) so I didn’t really have that choice. All the parts used were the same as the Ford OE used when they built the cars.

The engine has a Roush/ZXTuner intake with K&N air filter and an MSD coil pack and plug wires.

Stainless steel free flow exhaust system and OEM Borla rear muffler.

The suspension has Eibach higher rate springs (1-in. lower), KYB struts on the front, Bilstein Sport rear struts and a 22-mm rear sway bar, stock is 13mm. Energy Suspension polyurethane bushings are used on the front control arms, rear trailing arms, front and rear sway bar mounts and end links, and the steering rack.

All those suspension parts do make a difference so I installed a Corbeau TRS seat on the Drivers side. Very comfortable and supportive seat for all driving. Have an additional passenger side Corbeau TRS seat, not included, if you want to work something out.

Awesome brakes with a fully functional Hand/Parking brake, it WORKS. The car has rear disc brake setup from the earlier generation Escort GT. The car has nice lightweight 17×7 alloy wheels and 215/45/17 tires. Included are 4 Dunlop Graspic DS-3 Winter Tires 185/65/15 on the stock Ford 15X6 alloy wheels. None of the wheels are curb-rashed at all. It has a front air-dam (a modified F-150 item) and fascia-to-radiator seal, and a rear lip spoiler.

Quite a few spare parts included also, including a cam alignment tool, see pictures. A set of new Megan racing rear springs also, not shown. Full Ford factory service manual set included also.

Fix the fuel line, do a good whack on, or replace the starter, and it will purr to life and drive very nicely first turn of the key. I will give you a $50 rebate otherwise, Guaranteed.

The price is the price, it’s a screaming deal.

See a better way to drive a Ford?