When I bought a used '97 ford escort for the kids, I was looking for mechanically sound, reliable, and CHEAP! I figured that anything to get them from here to there would be fine, especially considering some of the vehicles I drove growing up. I fondly recall lumbering down the road in a huge 1970's model Chevy Suburban and the wind whistling into a rusted through early 70's Chevy Vega.Anyway, I found a nice looking used Ford Escort online. After test driving it, looking at maintenance records, and determining it was mechanically sound, I bought it and brought it home.The kids, although happy to have something to drive, were clearly a bit disappointed. They said it looked outdated, like a granny's car. Their main dislikes were the orangy/tan colored interior, the malfunctioning stock stereo and blown speakers, and the musty odor. I felt bad for them, so went online to see what I could do.I found several products and a lot of advice on how to rid the car of odors. The recurring theme, however, was a VERY thorough cleaning. I decided that I would need to gut the car and clean it from the bare chassis up.I then found a product called DupliColor Vinyl and Fabric Paint. After viewing an online tutorial, I decided to use it to re-color the car's interior...trim, fabric, and all. Finally, I went to Crutchfield.com and found a very nice Dual bluetooth enabled stereo and speakers for under $200. It required a special installation adapter kit, so I bought it from Crutchfield as well. The best part is that they also send you very detailed installation instructions for your specific vehicle. This was great because I've never installed a stereo before and it seemed daunting.After completely dismantling the car's interior and cleaning it, I painted all the vinyl and plastic trim, the seats, upholstery and carpet black. The head liner and door trim upholstery I painted dark gray. I bought some cheap seat covers for the front seats, because the fabric gets stiffer when painted and the kids didn't like the feel of it. I then bought a lace-up steering wheel cover.The local junkyard provided gray door handles, visors, and seatbelts. The Ford dealer wanted over $200 per seatbelt. I got all 5 from the junkyard for about $40, and they threw in the trim pieces for free!Finally, I replaced the stereo and rear speakers. Now, even though it's not a new car, the kids are not embarrassed to drive it. It is a sound vehicle at the right price. I really enjoy driving it too.
Vinyl and fabric paint • Car stereo and speakers • Installation kit • Dashboard adapter • Junkyard car parts