Spot the Cla$$ic
Any easy game this one, you’ve probably sussed the answer already. One was assembled by men and women who were being trained to assemble a world-class executive car. A design by Brits, paid for by a wealthy multi-national.
The same factory then briefly stopped assembly, the world-class executive car was built there and the plant was eventually sold off to new owners in the East. That car was the Jaguar X-TYPE and also had a wholly British powertrain which, while not perfect, was held in high regard. Both vehicles represented the end of an era in many ways. However, I’m only suggesting you rush out and buy one of them. Welcome, then, to the latest future classic: the Ford Escort Van.
I bought one last week and, although the commercial market is in the doldrums, this still had a few of us slugging it out in the auction hall. These vans represent the end of a make-do-and-mend era. They are remembered fondly by owners, users, vendors and repairers alike. They are surprisingly tough to run, simple to repair, approachable to look at, effortless to drive and just so usable. Fundamentals in the van world, surely?
Well, looking at today’s contenders, that’s not really true anymore thanks to legislation, world markets and poncy dual-purpose styling. Here, then, we have a van that is going places now that is intended life has ended. Such was the demand for this particular example, itself not cheap, I went to buy another, the next week, but was comprehensively out bid. It didn’t help that the auctioneer set the lot away by proclaiming their new found classic status.
Word is out, and one thing is for sure, the commercial derivatives of cars always demand more money and are much more saleable than their saloon equivalents. Get yours while the curve is just starting to head upwards. With budget cuts looming, many local authorities and the like are selling off their spare examples to save money. My fire brigade sold all their examples off just before Christmas and they were exceptionally well-maintained.
My Ford chum says these Escrote Vans were built to Jaguar standards as it was used to get Halewood up to X-TYPE build and pace. Impressive stuff… All the parts are still available on overnight order from your local dealer too. However, be warned, the dealers aren’t stocking everything.
Anyway, if you’ve got a grand spare right now, rush out and buy the best you can. Cherish it, love it and it’ll more than repay you. Just remember one thing, it’ll always be a Poor Man’s Maestro Van in my eyes…
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.