Ford Authority

This 1986 Ford Escort GT Has Become One Family’s Lifelong Love Affair

It isn’t unusual, by any means, to find older vehicles that have been passed down to multiple generations of the same family. But these vehicles are typically old trucks or muscle cars, or just something with some sort of historical prominence. That certainly isn’t the case with Dennis Wallace’s 1986 Ford Escort GT, but his family loves it just the same.

“I was 25 years old when I purchased my new 1986 Ford Escort GT from Ray Whitfield Ford in Taylor,” Wallace told the Detroit Free Press. “I took delivery on April 3rd, 1986, and drove that Escort for my job as a computer tech for the White Castle hamburger chain. I drove that Escort until 1992, when I had to park it due to engine problems. It had 142,692 miles. I put a cover on it until 2012, when we had the money to make repairs to make it drivable again.”

The Escort had also picked up lots of dents and dings over the years, many of them from his son and nephews playing in and on the car. But Wallace prefers to remember the good times his family has had in the Escort, including the many car shows it attended over the years and all the times the kids sat inside and pretended they were old enough to drive.

Wallace eventually saved up enough money to restore his old Escort, and today, it might be the nicest one on the planet. He even went to the trouble of tracking down legendary Ford designer Jack Telnack, as well as the plant manager, production line inspector, and painter who oversaw the production of his beloved ride and had them all sign the car. And when Wallace met Telnack, he left quite the impression as well.

“It’s incredible, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Telnack said. “He was wearing a jacket that had been embroidered on the back, ‘My Escort signed by Jack Telnack.’ I’ve never had that before. I was pleased and excited. He was just ecstatic. The car was in absolute mint condition. He had pictures of people who worked on the car, original delivery papers from the dealer. Unbelievable.”

It may not be a priceless vintage Ford Mustang or even an early Ford F-Series pickup, but Dennis Wallace’s Escort GT is just as loved, if not more loved, than any family heirloom we’ve ever come across.

We’ll have more cool stories like this to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Escort news and non-stop Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Mark L Bedel

    I totally get this…cars, trucks or whatever vehicle one may hang onto and care for usually has loads of memories attached to it. Keeping and caring for it helps to preserve those memories. I know this very well as it pertains to our 1985 Mustang GT. Our kids would not hear even the mention of us considering selling it at one point.

    I must admit, both my wife and I were a bit surprised, after purchasing our 2017 Mustang GT, and that was the vehement response…so, we’re a two Mustang family now, and couldn’t be happier!

  2. Chris D.

    Great story! What passion he and the family have for that car!

  3. M S Watchdog

    Probably needs a head gasket these were very bad for this, I know from experience my wifes had to have 2 over the owner ship.

  4. Matthew S DeBoer

    I love this. My first car was an 86 GT just like this and I browse Craigs List from time to time looking for one. We have a similar situation where my Grandpa bought a new 85 F-150. It has now been handed down to a grandson, restored, and will stay in the family forever.

  5. Edward

    I bought a 1988 Escort GT, literally drove it off the showroom floor in January 1988. Over the next 24 years I put 188,000 miles on it. The only major repairs it ever required was an orifice tube and hoses on the A/C compressor when it was 22 years old, and a new power steering pump just 3 weeks before a guy t-boned me in an intersection and totalled the car. It had the original paint and shined like a new dime when I’d wash it. The original interior was spotless, and it had no squeaks or rattles and still got over 28mpg around town and over 37mpg on highway trips. Everything in it worked as it should. I grieved for months after it was lost, it was like losing my best friend. I still miss it. It was so fun to drive, could really handle some twisty roads and that engine loved to rev.

  6. Ray P

    I bought a brand new 1988.5 Escort Pony with the sick dark maroon paint, heated the coils which lowered it on the ground put on Enkei rims tinted the windows, put dual monza tips replaced the emblems with air brushed emblems, put in booming system and true I swear everybody would ask me what kind of car it was many thought it was a Porsche and I picked up more girls in that car omg and it was tough as nails bouncing with the heated coils not even flinch replaced the clutch the original brakes lasted for ever had around 200,000 miles but had sell it still got almost a grand for it a very overlooked car but not mine the Pony did not have all the extras but what set it apart was the lack of that cheap plastic body kit which made after I lowered it appear very clean I got more compliments from that car that any other car I have owned well almost have had a lot of cars but that Escort was dependable took a huge beating and always started.

  7. Granville Raper

    Hi,I had a 1989 Escort GT back in 1995 to 2001,I bought it off an American serviceman over here in England,was a real eyecatcher ,a lot better than our British versions ,the XR3 &XR3i.
    Regrettably I sold it back to a USairforce person and have been trying to find it ever since and buy it back .I reckon it had gone back to the USA so who knows, someone might see my message on here .

  8. levi cabral

    I Recently just bought a 1979 mustang cobra, first of its kind as a foxbody. Rare tangerine 85 with only 50+ or so built. Love the car to death even being a diehard corvette fan, did just find a orange tangerine 86 ford escort out near me for 1500 bucks, maybe ill be a part of this big collector family we all have here. am restoring the cobra, if any enthusiast are on here aware of where i can get parts that would be great. Text or call me- 5188135712

  9. Alex

    87 Escort GT was my first car mine was also totaled by someone I loved it so much have spent last 15 years trying to find I finally did going to repair back to show room or close never going to let it go


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