WTB Ford Escort ZX2 (or other FWD Ford).

Rick_Leuce

Registered User
Hello,
This might be frowned upon, but it's still Ford-related.

I want to buy a Ford Escort ZX2 like the ones in this video.

I live in Georgia (for now) but I am moving to Wisconsin and I need to get a car more suitable for Winter driving. Which means I should be looking for a FWD vehicle (preferably Ford).

I am also seriously considering attending Bobby Ore Motorsports 3-Day Stunt Driving School. I'm a bit of a slow-learner, so I wanted to buy a Ford Escort ZX2 like the ones that his students use. I would prefer one with less than 150,000 miles and in good running condition. Prefer little-to-no rust. Automatic or manual transmission is acceptable (I think the school uses automatics though). Any paint color is fine. Faded paint, peeling clearcoat, rips in seats, chips/cracks in windshield, etc. will not really bother me. I just want a running car I can beat the crap out of that can also be driven in the winter. I am hoping I can find one around Atlanta, Georgia, but I am willing to travel to get it.

I am not necessarily in a rush. I won't have to worry about a Wisconsin winter until November and I'm thinking about taking the Bobby Ore class this summer. I want to drive the car to get the feel for it, take the class, then practice what I learned. Then I'll use it as my Winter car.

While this is NOT technically Super Coupe related, helping me get a cheap winter-beater means I don't have to sell one of my Tbirds and/or use one as a winter car. If the driving class goes well, I will make many videos of my Thunderbird Super Coupes, and they will be amazing! The 3-day driving course will cost as much/more than the car will, so I want to make sure I get everything out of it that I can.

Thanks in advance!
-Rick Leuce
 

MadMikeyL

SCCoA Member
It amazes me that people keep wanting FWD for snow. I would never think about going out in the snow in FWD. It is single point of failure in a situation where failure is almost guaranteed! In snowy conditions, your drive wheels are going to lose traction at some point. If you have RWD, your front tires can still brake and steer. When you ask the front tires to do 90% of the braking, all the steering, and all the driving, then when you lose traction, you are just along for the ride and hoping that your car will stop before you go into the ditch. If you are going to be driving in snowy conditions, what you need is dedicated snow tires, or possibly AWD, but definitely not FWD.
 

jb351

SCCoA Member
Have you thought about a first gen Fusion? It will probably be easier to find than a ZX2 and it was available with both FWD and AWD. The 4 cyl ones were available with a 5-speed. I had a 2008 FWD version with the V6 for 10 years and with good snow tires it was amazing in the winter. A good amount of power as well.
 

Rick_Leuce

Registered User
Have you thought about a first gen Fusion? It will probably be easier to find than a ZX2 and it was available with both FWD and AWD. The 4 cyl ones were available with a 5-speed. I had a 2008 FWD version with the V6 for 10 years and with good snow tires it was amazing in the winter. A good amount of power as well.
Id consider it. If I can get one in good shape for a good price that isn't too far away.
 

Rick_Leuce

Registered User
It amazes me that people keep wanting FWD for snow. I would never think about going out in the snow in FWD. It is single point of failure in a situation where failure is almost guaranteed! In snowy conditions, your drive wheels are going to lose traction at some point. If you have RWD, your front tires can still brake and steer. When you ask the front tires to do 90% of the braking, all the steering, and all the driving, then when you lose traction, you are just along for the ride and hoping that your car will stop before you go into the ditch. If you are going to be driving in snowy conditions, what you need is dedicated snow tires, or possibly AWD, but definitely not FWD.
I know that AWF or 4-Wheel Drive are going to handle winter driving the best, but they are also more expensive. If anybody out there has a nice AWD or 4WD, let me know. I’d definitely want it to be rust-free and mechanically sound. A lot more moving parts that could require maintenance or repairs if its been used hard.

Many of my relatives in Wisconsin are telling me that FWD is sufficient enough if you drive on roads that get a lot of traffic (plowed and salted). I’ve heard that FWD is better than RWD on icy roads because the engine puts more weight on your front tires, which means you have more traction if your drive wheels are towards the front. I guess one could put a bunch of extra weight in the trunk to give the rear more traction in RWD vehicles, but then you would take longer to come to a stop.
 

MadMikeyL

SCCoA Member
On ice, unless you have studded tires, you are just along for the ride, it doesn’t matter what wheels are being driven. The added weight over the front wheels helps a FWD car get traction to start moving from a dead stop, but once you are moving, that advantage is gone. A tire has a finite amount of traction it can give, and that traction must be shared among all the tasks you are asking it to do. Any grip that goes to accelerating or braking means that much less grip available to turn. When a tire loses traction, until traction comes back that tire can not accelerate, brake, or turn the car. Now you take a situation where the roads are very slippery. It is almost guaranteed that traction will be lost by the drive wheels. When that happens in a RWD car, you can still steer and brake. What’s more, when a RWD car loses traction, you can feel the rear start to step out and you will know to let off the gas. When that happens in a FWD car, it doesn’t step out, and it is much harder to detect, so you don’t know to address it right away. Instead you go along thinking everything is fine until you need to brake or turn, then you realize you have no traction, and you can do nothing but hope you get traction back before you crash. FWD is not a solution, it is actually worse in bad weather in all situations except starting from a stop. It is less controllable in a skid, it is less controllable during braking, it is less stable in turns due to uneven weight distribution, it provides less feedback to the driver about how slippery the roads actually are, and to go even further, you are looking at something with a tiny wheelbase, which is going to make it almost impossible to recover from a skid. You don’t need a small FWD vehicle for snow. You don’t even need a 4WD vehicle for snow, although it certainly helps. What you need for heavy snow is a good set of snow tires. That is the only thing that is going to provide you more traction in the bad weather.
 

Rick_Leuce

Registered User
On ice, unless you have studded tires, you are just along for the ride, it doesn’t matter what wheels are being driven. The added weight over the front wheels helps a FWD car get traction to start moving from a dead stop, but once you are moving, that advantage is gone. A tire has a finite amount of traction it can give, and that traction must be shared among all the tasks you are asking it to do. Any grip that goes to accelerating or braking means that much less grip available to turn. When a tire loses traction, until traction comes back that tire can not accelerate, brake, or turn the car. Now you take a situation where the roads are very slippery. It is almost guaranteed that traction will be lost by the drive wheels. When that happens in a RWD car, you can still steer and brake. What’s more, when a RWD car loses traction, you can feel the rear start to step out and you will know to let off the gas. When that happens in a FWD car, it doesn’t step out, and it is much harder to detect, so you don’t know to address it right away. Instead you go along thinking everything is fine until you need to brake or turn, then you realize you have no traction, and you can do nothing but hope you get traction back before you crash. FWD is not a solution, it is actually worse in bad weather in all situations except starting from a stop. It is less controllable in a skid, it is less controllable during braking, it is less stable in turns due to uneven weight distribution, it provides less feedback to the driver about how slippery the roads actually are, and to go even further, you are looking at something with a tiny wheelbase, which is going to make it almost impossible to recover from a skid. You don’t need a small FWD vehicle for snow. You don’t even need a 4WD vehicle for snow, although it certainly helps. What you need for heavy snow is a good set of snow tires. That is the only thing that is going to provide you more traction in the bad weather.
You are absolutely right about snow tires and studded tires. I wasn't planning on not having studded tires. I've also heard the saying "you don't have to go, but you have to stop," on why even with FWD cars you need to make sure you have good tires on the back and that you should have the discipline to know what your car can handle and to not drive faster than is safe, even if you have to drive under the speed limit. My relatives are also filling me in on other good winter-driving habits, like keeping your phone charged at all times, dressing warmly and keeping blankets in your car in case it dies in the middle of nowhere and its below 0 out and you need to be able to survive long enough for help to get to you. I appreciate your well-thought out arguments for why simply having FWD alone is not adequate. I still don't want to use my Thunderbird SC 5-speed as a winter car, which is why I'm car hunting.

I mostly made this post to see if anybody in the SCCoA happened to live around me and had a car for sale that would be appropriate for winter driving. I would rather buy a rust-free car down here than wait to buy one up where its definitely going to have seen years of salty roads. At this rate, I'd take pretty much anything. Some people I've talked to are suggesting I get a truck or a minivan, which would be the most practical, but I would like to have something like a Fusion that gets decent mileage and could be a little fun to drive.

I feel like dealing with another SCCoA member would be better than going to a used car dealership and perhaps safer than using Craigslist (I did use it to buy my first 2 Super Coupes and they went ok, I'd just rather not push my luck). I'm hoping I can get something decent for around $3,000, but I'd probably need to pay a bit more for a truck or minivan. Ford badge preferred, but not required.
 
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