1 Mar 1981
By CHRIS HARRIS
Co-developed with the second generation Mazda 323, the Japanese-engineered, Homebush NSW-built Laser replaced the English Escort, and started Ford’s decade-long dominance of the small car sector.
A sea-change model, the three and five-door Laser hatch turned Aussies on to the packaging and handling benefits of front-wheel drive.
Most buyers picked the peppy 54kW 1.5L GL (in three-speed auto or four/five-speed manual) over the four-speed manual-only 48kW 1.3L.
The luxury Ghia proved popular while a 59kW twin-carburettor version of the sporty S 1.5 joined the range in early ’82.