My new car. I decided that this would be an acceptable car to park at a UAW engine plant. Granted, it's Mexican-built and has a Japanese powertrain, but it's still an American product, technically. Other reasons for buying it were that I wanted something fastish with 4 doors, not unlike the Neon was. Also, I knew I could find one cheap, because Tracer LTS's were not well-known, thus most people who had them didn't know how good they were, and didn't know how much money to ask for them. It also avoids the entire problem with its sister, the Escort GT, which anyone can tell you has already had the snot beaten out of it by someone's teenager. This one was $3300, which at 88,000 miles was still a bit below "wholesale" in the used car price lists. It was previously owned by an engineer at Ford.
For those unfamiliar with the Tracer, it's just an Escort with a Mercury badge. In this case, it's a four-door Escort GT with a Mercury badge. The engine is basically the same 1.8L Mazda powerplant found in the Miata.
My current plans for this little darling are to sex it up a little bit, hopefully with some benefits to power and handling, which are fine as it is now, but hey, no one else is going to modify a Tracer, so it might as well be me. This will also serve as my autocross car, for the weekends I decide to run. So far the only modification is a K&N intake that replaced everything up to and including the air filter box with a conical filter. Low-end torque feels improved, and the original growl is just a little harsher now. Overall noise was not greatly increased. Next on the list are tires, even if only for the 14" wheels. I recently realized I have Kelly brand S-rated piece-of-crap tires, one of which I screwed up on a curb anyway.
My friend Chris wants
to start an Escort club, which could be interesting... Chris is
the one who stuck the GT engine into his Escort LX wagon. It goes
much faster now, since he also put on free-flowing intake
and exhaust bits.