The world was introduced to the Ford Escort in 1968, a car designed to replace the aging Anglia. The initial iteration was hardly revolutionary, Ford in Germany understandably reluctant to tool up for its manufacture. Any misgivings proved unfounded, with the Escort going on to establish itself as a tried and true performer, both on the road and at the dealerships, along the way helping Ford Germany recover an extra 2.2% share of the domestic market.
Important to the success of the car were the rally versions, starting out with the Escort Mexico, so named after a rally prepared Escort took out the 1970 London to Mexico Rally. Joined by the RS2000 model that was to define the quintessential fast four genre, having Martin Shaw (a.k.a. Ray Doyle) use one as his “motor” in the cult show The Professionals would further add to the mystique of the car.
Despite Australian’s love affair with the trusty six cylinder, the Escort would win over many converts, although the majority of Escort’s to grace our roads would be fitted with the larger 4 cylinder versions, typically the 1.6 and 2.0 litre models. In 1979 Escort would add another World Rally Championship trophy to the cabinet, to join those won in 1968 and ’69. Boasting great looks and sure-footed handling, the Escort was undoubtedly the pick of the 4 cylinder Ford’s.
1968 - 1975
The rear-wheel-drive Mk1 Escort came as an 1100 or 1300 and in both 2 or 4 door sedan, and in some markets also as a two-door estate, or in sporty form as a GT or Twin Cam. All the Escort engines were based on a new Kent crossflow unit, which proved very suitable for tuning and modification. More>>
1968 - 1970
While other sporting Ford's could be called sedans capable of being raced or rallied, the Twin-Cam Escort was unashamedly a racing sedan de-tuned for road use. In production form, with quantity sales needed to justify its homologaation as a Touring Car, the Twin-Cam gave the customer exactly what they expected More>>
1970 - 1974
The successful Escort Twin Cam was replaced by the more powerful Escort in 1968, the RS1600. The letters "RS" stood for "Rally Sport", a brand name invented by Ford and one that continued for many years. Quickly the term "RS" came to be known for high performance Ford's. More>>
1975 - 1981
The first major styling revision occurred in 1975, giving the Escort a crisp lean flowing style that was well in proportion and arguably a cut above the small car offerings emanating from Japan. The interior was always functional, but was somewhat Spartan in comparison to the Japanese cars – but on the plus side the seats were extremely comfortable even on very long drives. More>>
1975 - 1981
For the over ten years that the Ford Escorts was on the Australian market, it underwent many and varied model improvements, including different engines and changes to its image. Starting off with the 1.1 litre Kent, they had six engines in the next eight years, and by 1981 the 1.6 litre was offered on the L Sedan, with the option of the 2.01itre in the GL, and the 2.0 litre only in the top-of-the-line Ghia. More>>
1975 - 1977
Based on the Mk II Escort the RS1800 closely followed the original RS1600 concept. The RS1800 used a 1835cc version of the Cosworth BDA engine and produced 115bhp. Many special features were standard on the RS1800 including stiffened suspension, wide wheels and an uprated gearbox. More>>
1976 - 1980
The RS2000 used a 110bhp Pinto engine which meant the car could reach over 110mph. Cosmetically, the biggest difference to the previous model was in the uniquely angled GRP nose panel which contained four headlamps. More>>
1980 - 1986
The long-awaited 'Erika' was an expensive event for the Ford Motor Company, and revealed itself to be the Company's second front-drive model, but with an even more upmarket specification than the Fiesta which had brought them into the front-drive/transverse engine sector. More>>
The concept of the RS 1600i Escort was defined in the prototype shown almost at the 1980 Frankfurt car show, and the definitive version of the car went on to be produced in the number of 5000 necessary for homologation in Group A. More>>
1986 - 1990
The Escort Mark III received a facelift in early 1986. Codenamed within Ford as "Erika–86", it was instantly recognisable as an updated version of the previous model, with a smooth style nose and the "straked" rear lamp clusters smoothed over. More>>