While Ford may have owned the Escort name for many years, first being used on the Estate version of the Popular, it was the wonderful iteration that was developed as a replacement for the Anglia that most associate with the name.
The car was initially considered too conventional and backward thinking for production in Germany, Ford of Europe management persisting with a dual production set up. Perhaps this was in part due to the fact that, under the skin, the Escort differed little from the 1950’s engineered Anglia.
But the Escort was a gem, and it quickly topped the sales and production charts. Between the Escort’s introduction in 1968 until the release of the Mk. II in 1975, there were some 2,155,301 built. In Germany the Escort would go on to help win over a 2.2 per cent domestic gain, quickly putting pay to any consideration that it be too “conventional”.
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.
The 1300 GT paved the way for a long line of hot Escorts, culminating in the now highly prized RS 2000. The 1300 GT produced an impressive 75 bhp and benefited from a close-ratio gearbox, servo-assisted front disc brakes, stiffer suspension
, radial tyres, oil-pressure gauge and the all-important rev-counter, the GT was many drivers' first fast Ford.
Racing success, particularly in rally’s, would garner the little Ford a huge allegiance of fans both in the UK and Australia. Ford were quick to promote this, as is evidenced from their sales literature...
Record Breaking Performance
Escort is no stranger to the tough, fiercely competitive world of motor sport where it's a survival of the fittest...where reputations are made - and broken. Escort has made it big! In just 2 years it has notched up over 200 victories in European races and rallies, more than any other car.
What makes it so good? Everything about Escort. The Ford CrossFlow design engine pours out snap-to-it, step-lively power and effortless day long cruising with very little thirst for petrol. A 4 speed all synchromesh manual transmission
, with a racy floor-mounted stick, meets all traffic or rally needs with crisp, positive short-shifts. Rack-and-pinion steering
and a small 29 foot turning circle mean precision handling
and easy parkability. Independent front suspension
with Macpherson telescopic dampers, and rear suspension
with double-action shock-absorbers give you a positive feeling on the road without you feeling every hole and bump.
Best of all is the way you feel behind the wheel. Escort's superb driving position is out on its own. We can't describe it, you have to take it up yourself to know just how good driver comfort, vision, placement of controls and instruments can be. Your road test of Escort will spell out all its virtues to you, beautifully. In Britain the Escort overtook the BMC 1100/1300
series as the second top-selling car in 1972
, then helped Ford become Britain's number one manufacturer, and the only one to show a profit in 1975
(a time when the British car industry was in turmoil).
Escort Performance Specifications:
'1100' and '1300' Engines:
4 cylinder OHV CrossFlow Bowl-In-Piston design featuring 5 main bearing crankshaft; valves
pushrod operated; mechanical diaphragm type fuel pump; single barrel carburettor.
High Performance '1300 2V' engine with special high-lift camshaft, OHV CrossFlow Bowl-in-Piston design 2 barrel Weber carburettor.
A 'Hemi' features Lotus designed cylinder head
with opposed layout; two 2-barrel Weber carburettors; 4 branch free-flow exhaust
system; valve operation by twin overhead camshafts.