2022 Shannons Summer Timed Online Auction

1978 Ford Escort Sundowner Panel Van



Passed In


Engine 1998cc four-cylinder
Gearbox Four-speed manual
Body Work Panel Van
Colour Pine Lime
Interior Black
Trim Cloth
Wheels Alloys
Brakes Disc/drum


This lot is no longer available

For the better part of two decades, Ford Australia's most popular small car was the Escort, starting with the Mark 1 introduced to the local market in 1970. Right from the outset, the Escort appealed to a broad range of buyers, from those seeking economy motoring on a tight budget (with the 1.1-litre model) through to performance versions like the GT and even more sporting Twin-Cam. The combination of lightness and excellent handling thanks to the stiff monocoque shell allowed the Escort to show its mettle in competition, with Twin-Cam versions proving hugely successful as both rally and race cars, often beating much bigger Mustangs, Camaros and the like. In September 1975 Ford announced a heavily revised Mark 2 version of the Escort in Australia, sold initially in three models - the L, XL and more luxurious Ghia. Two-door coupe and panel vans were available with the Mk 2, but most were four-door sedans. The modern, angular styling supplied usefully more legroom and bigger boot space. Mechanical improvements included a revised range of engines and transmission options, most notably the introduction of the smooth C3 automatic. In July 1976 the 1.6-litre engine was standardized to cope with tough new emissions but a noticeable drop in performance led Ford to add a 2-litre option the following year for the GL model - it was standard on the Ghia. In 1978, at the height of the panel van craze, Ford presented a new version of the Escort van, called "Sundowner" (reflecting the similar full-sized Falcon Sundowner panel van) aimed at the youth leisure market. It came in bright colours and body graphics, ‘bubble’ side windows, a cheeky rear bed extension and Escort Rallye Pack features like Sports Steering wheel, Tacho Dash, driving lights, blacked-out chrome trim, and front bumperettes. Mechanically, the Escort Sundowner was available with 1.6 and 2.0-litre engines. Examples today are among the rarest of Mk2 Escorts.