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Ford Escort Mk1 buying guide (1968-1975)

Ford Escort Mk1 Ford Escort Mk1 Ford Escort Mk1 Ford Escort Mk1 Estate From affordable road car to highly competitive race and rally car, the Escort Mk1 has worn many hats over the years. And in all the intervening years nothing has changed – Ford’s hugely successful Anglia replacement still offers cheap and fun motoring, with reliability and style. Some examples offer more of these elements than others (1.1-litre cars don’t go too large on the fun factor), but whichever version you buy, those revvy engines and rear-wheel drive combine to give a great mix of driver satisfaction.

During seven years of production, more than two million Mk1 Escorts found buyers. Such success was guaranteed by low pricing and a huge range of derivatives thanks to various body styles and a wide range of engines. So it didn’t matter whether your thing was a 1.1-litre runabout or a snarling high-revving twin-cam, there was an Escort for you.

Now, the Escort Mk1 remains eminently affordable, although some versions are more attainable than others. The RS1600, Mexico and Twin Cam were all the work of Ford’s Advanced Vehicle Operations (AVO) department, and these models are now the most sought after – although the RS2000 is also coveted. But you don’t need massive performance and go-faster stripes to enjoy Escort motoring.

Which one to buy

The choice of Escort Mk1s may be bewildering, but that’s because there really is something for everyone. From unfeasibly cheap load carrier to tyre-smoking sportscar, there’s a version for every occasion. Even better is the fact that tuning and upgrading the cars is so straightforward, with dozens of suppliers able to sell you bits to modify any of the mechanicals.

But you have to be careful; the most desirable Mk1s – and hence the most valuable – are the ones most likely to be faked. So before parting with your cash, join a club and make sure that all is what it purports to be.

Set your sights on something with at least a 1.3-litre engine. Two-door cars carry a premium because they’re often converted into rally weapons, so four-door cars and estates tend to be the most accessible. But it’s the sporting Escorts that will always be the most collectable as they’re the most fun, so hunt down a cracking Mexico or RS2000, having made sure it’s the real deal. Or if your pockets are much deeper, a Twin Cam or RS1600. You’ll pay plenty for one of these, but it’s these editions which provide the most fun as well as the best investment potential.

Tech spec - Escort RS Mexico 1970-1975

Engine 1599cc, four-cylinder 
Power 86bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque 92lb ft @ 4000rpm
Top speed 99mph
0-60mph 10.7sec
Consumption 33mpg
Gearbox Four-speed manual

What to look for

• The Escort Mk1 rusts badly, but most panels are available as well-made repro items. Check the MacPherson strut top mountings, the inner wings, the scuttle and all outer panels. The transverse leaf spring hangers dissolve, along with the sills, rear wheelarches and floorpans. So does the windscreen surround and the boot floor.
• Cooking Escorts use Ford’s Kent engine, in 1098cc or 1298cc guises, with a 1598cc edition in the Mexico; the RS2000 got a 1993cc Pinto unit. The RS1600 has a 16-valve Cosworth-developed 1599cc twin-cam BDA engine and the Twin Cam features a Lotus Cortina-derived powerplant. The BDA and Twin Cam are much harder to work on and parts are far more expensive.
• The Kent engine suffers from worn cam followers, so listen for noisy tappets.
• The Pinto engine has a rubber timing belt that can fail prematurely, but it’s cheap and easy to renew.
• Escorts with a Kent engine could be fitted with a three-speed Borg Warner automatic transmission, but most cars got a four-speed manual gearbox. Of the three different manual transmissions fitted, the 1.1 and 1.3-litre cars have their own ‘box, but with closer ratios if the car was a GT or Sport. The Twin Cam, RS1600 and Mexico had a unit like that in the Cortina and Corsair (known as the 2000e gearbox) – while the RS2000 had its own transmission.
• Autos just keep going. Listen for rumbling bearings in the first three gears of a manual gearbox; once they start making a noise they’ll soldier on for years without problems.
• If the gearbox crunches as you’re changing ratios, it’s probably a stretched clutch cable, which eventually breaks. Replacements are very cheap.
• Although a constant whining from the rear suggests a worn differential, if the noise is only there during cornering it’s because the wheelbearings need replacing. Changing them requires a press.
• Knocking from the front suspension suggests the anti-roll bar bushes have worn. The steering will also be very vague, but replacing the bushes is easy and cheap.
• Exterior trim is largely unobtainable, with used quarter bumpers and the ‘hockey stick’ trim around the rear window particularly difficult to find. Most of the external brightwork is chrome-plated Mazak, so it can’t be restored.
• The wiring loom and switchgear (including the column stalks) can be unreliable; the contacts contacts oxidise and the plastic insulators within the rocker switches break up.

Model history

1968: The Escort two-door saloon is announced, in De Luxe, Super and GT forms. There are 1098cc or 1298cc four-cylinder engines. Soon after, a van appears and the 1.1 and 1.3-litre saloons get an automatic option.
1969: A four-door saloon reaches showrooms, along with an estate.
1970: Engine revisions mean power increases and amended model names. The standard range now consists of standard, L, XL and GT derivatives. The RS1600 also debuts, with a Cosworth-developed 16-valve 1599cc BDA powerplant. The Mexico completes the performance Escort line up, with a 1.6-litre Kent engine.
1971: The 1300 Sport is announced; it’s a lower-spec 1300GT. The Escort Sport also arrives, with XL interior, GT running gear and RS bodywork. The one millionth Escort is built.
1973: Two-door 1300E arrives, using 1300 Sport mechanicals but with luxury trim. Whole range gets improved suspension design and GT model is discontinued at the end of the year. RS2000 appears, with 1993cc Pinto engine.
1974: Four-door 1300E goes on sale with metallic paint, vinyl roof and high-spec interior.
1975: Mk1 Escort is replaced by Mk2 version.

Key clubs and websites

• www.avoclub.com
• www.seoc.co.uk
• www.1300eownersclub.org
• www.rsownersclub.co.uk

Words: Richard Dredge
Ford Escort Mk1 Ford Escort Mk1 Ford Escort Mk1 Ford Escort Mk1 Estate
Last updated: 6th Mar 2015
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Ford Escort cars for sale

20 Search results
Ford Escort
595 59900 GBP
  • Lot 129

    Ford Escort

    £40,000 - £50,000 est. £40,000 - £50,000 est.
    Stoneleigh Park, Coventry
    Auction Date: 26 Feb 2016
    • Engine size: 1998
    Auction Date: 26 Feb 2016
    Silverstone Auctions
    +44 (0) 1926 691 141
  • 1968 Ford Escort Mk. I 1300 Two-door Saloon


    The Mk. I Ford Escort was introduced in the UK at the end of 1967, making its show debut at the Brussels Motor Show in January 1968 and replacing the successful long running Ford Anglia. It was presented in continental Europe as a product of Ford's European operation. Escort production commenced at Halewood in England during the closing months of 1967 and for lefthand drive markets during September 1968, at the Ford plant in Genk. Initially the continental Escorts differed slightly from the UK built ones under the skin. The front suspension and steering gear were differently configured and the brakes were fitted with dual hydraulic circuits; the wheels fitted on the Genk-built Escorts also had wider rims. The Escort was a commercial success in several parts of western Europe but nowhere more than in the UK where the national best seller of the 1960s, BMC's Austin/Morris 1100 was beginning to show its age while Ford's own Cortina had grown, both in dimensions and in price, beyond the market niche at which it had originally been pitched. In June 1974, six years into the car's UK introduction, Ford announced the completion of the two millionth Ford Escort, a milestone hitherto unmatch

    • Year: 2016
    For sale
  • 1996 Ford Escort RS2000

    £5,995 £5,995

    4 wheel drive. One of only 500 made and only a very small number registered on the road. Only 2 former owners and in very good condition overall . Interior very clean. This car is a joy to drive and comes with a long MOT. Shod at present on 17 inch rims, the car also comes with its original wheels which will need to be refurbed if required. All tyres in excellent condition. Modern stereo fitted. Original to be sold with car.

    • Year: 1996
    For sale
  • 1995 Ford Escort RS Cosworth Lux 4WD Only 5000 Miles ALL MOTs & Original Docs Present

    £59,900 £59,900

    John Holland Winner of Dealer's Dealer of the Year at the National Car Dealer Awards 2014/15 is delighted to offer for sale this outstanding Ford Escort RS Cosworth Lux. Presented in outstanding condition having been owned for 12 years by its former keeper. The car has every MOT and historic V5s present as well as original book pack and handover documents. This legendary car is presented in Imperial Blue with contrasting Raven Black Recaro Leather Interior. Lux Specification includes 16" 5 Spoke RS Alloy Wheels, Electric Sunroof, Electric Windows, Heated Windscreen, Leather Steering Wheel. A perfect standard and importantly original car with a bill file and stamped service book and has just been meticulously prepared for sale and serviced by ourselves.. Supplied with all original owners manuals and wallet. John Holland has been established for over 40 years supplying a premium level of service in the sale of sports, prestige and collectors cars. We have a team of experienced buyers who hand pick our cars from all parts of the UK so you can buy with confidence all vehicles are HPI Clear and prepared to the highest standard, full dealer facilities available call the sales team for fu

    • Year: 1995
    • Mileage: 5300 mi
    For sale
    John Holland
    0114 2565040
  • Ford Escort

    £35,995 £35,995

    FOR SALE A genuine, very rare AVO Mk1 Ford Escort RS2000 with press vehicle provenance. EQUIPMENT Advanced Vehicle Operations (AVO) Type 49 body, front quarter bumpers, flared wheel arches, strengthened chassis rails, strengthened flitch plates, reinforced front suspension strut top mounting plates, rear radius rods, safety glass, black painted aluminium grille, six pod sports binnacle, heater fan, two speed wiper, courtesy light, cigar lighter, Kienzle clock, heated rear window. Factory fitted options; RS centre console, Ford MW/LW radio, driver/passenger seat headrests. Dealer Special Build Programme; Varnished wood trim panels. Aftermarket; Remote central locking. EXTERIOR Finished in classic vibrant RS Sebring Red, (Code N) this genuine RS2000 is truly outstanding with an incredible polished glossy finish throughout. Amazing detailing throughout extending to the engine bay and underside will please the most critical of owners and onlookers. Excellent panel gaps with easy closing doors affirm just how straight this example is. AVO workmanship is laid bare for all to see with all correct body shell anomalies from a standard Escort visible upon inspection. Period functioning quad Cibie spot lamps are fitted and the headlamps remain the original Cibie items. The chrome, rubbers, and badges are in immaculate order with the distinctive wide decals adding the perfect RS look as delivered by the Ford RS Dealer in 1974. A very special classic Ford and an all time hero. INTERIOR Largely true to a standard Ford RS2000 interior with incredible attention to detail. The brushed nylon RS sports seats with optional headrests match a very clean unworn loop pile carpet throughout and unmarked door cards. The rare Kienzle clock housed within the optional RS centre console is functioning and joins the varnished wood dealer fit trim which is in fair order. All the other sports instrumentation providing at a glance concise information and the soft dash top is perfectly replaced. A quality remote central locking and alarm system has been installed in place of the conventional door locks. The boot area continues the showroom experience with detailed presentation and an impossible to source genuine boot mat. One for the RS connoisseur wanting to enjoy this motoring legend. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION A wonderfully clean engine bay will please those enjoying the show scene with correct metal identification plates still attached to the slam panel. The original blue pan air filter remains fitted but the extension tube is missing. The 2.0 Ford ‘Pinto’ unit offers ample performance thanks to a downdraught compound twin-choke Weber carburettor and a free-flow exhaust manifold, so 100bhp and 0-60mph in 9.0 seconds with a top speed of 108mph is possible. The single selector rail shift four speed synchromesh gearbox offers snappy gear changes and has recently been replaced but is a little noisy in the first three ratios when cold. WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES The RS Ronal alloy wheels are the original factory fitment with Ford stampings and part numbers visible. Shod in matching Fulda 175/70 R13 rubber, all tyres have masses of tread remaining. The direct acting vacuum servo assistance dual-line braking system works effectively. HISTORY FILE Built at Fords Advanced Vehicle Operations factory in Aveley in May 1974 this matching numbers vehicle is one of 3,759 genuine AVO RS2000’s built for the UK market and is known to the AVO Owners Club Register. Incredibly the car has had just two former keepers and was used as a press feature car when new. A Motor Show publication included in the history file from October 1974 includes a full feature on this exact car! Further features of the history file includes an impossible to source and ultra rare Escort RS2000 and Mexico original owners handbook. Furthermore, a collection of previous MOT certificates and invoices is accompanied by an independent report by renowned valuation experts, Julian Shoolheifer Limited, carried out on 28th October 2014. KGF Classic Cars have taken the car to respected Mr Harvey Gibbs of classic Ford specialists, Supreme Car Services, for a full service and inspection including cambelt kit and replacement gearbox. MOT December 2016, HPI Clear, Tax Exempt. To see a video of this car please click on the link below: https://youtu.be/mQr5yxJBaNw To see a complete set of photographs of this car please click on the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHskqqncCW 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    • Year: 1974
    • Mileage: 96833 mi
    • Engine size: 2
    For sale
  • Ford Escort

    £24,995 £24,995

    FOR SALE An exceptional Ford Escort Mk2 RS2000 Custom in show condition. EQUIPMENT Polyurethane front end incorporating four Cibie quartz halogen headlamps, front air dam, rubberised tail spoiler, twin bodyside coachline, RS2000 decals, black door mirrors, laminated windscreen, hazard warning flashers, heated rear window, separate fuel, water temperature and oil pressure gauges, padded sun visors, two-speed heater, aeroflow ventilation with eye ball vents. RS Custom features; Recaro front seats with fishnet headrests, centre console, glovebox, quartz clock, remote control drivers door mirror, bronze tinted glass, full trimmed door cards, cut pile carpeting, vanity mirror, alloy road wheels. EXTERIOR This beautiful RS2000 Custom example is finished in very rare Terracotta, (Code D). The vehicle boasts an amazing deep show shine with a mirror gloss finish that will really impress onlookers. All trim sections, RS decals and badges remain intact and in excellent order. The original Custom Bronze tinted glass remains in place with number plate etching and a small chip to the front screen. The rubbers and door seals are soft and black. Three minor markings need to be pointed out to the perfection seeking buyer who will marvel in the detailed underside laid bare to reveal the quality workmanship. A champion example. INTERIOR The original Custom interior in Chocolate fabric trim (code A8) has remained in excellent order and features the correct black Custom cabin fitments. The superb Beta plus fabric seat facings are largely unworn aside from some light creasing to the fabric on the driver’s side and the correct fishnet headrests are perfect. The undamaged fascia and dash top houses fully functional gauges and equipment and the original leather bound three spoke steering wheel remains fitted showing markings to the Ford emblem. The quartz clock is operational as is the heater fan on both settings. The carpets and door cards are in excellent condition and a pristine boot area has the carpet covering with tools in the hessian bag. Period speakers have been fitted to the front doors. A remarkable, preserved RS interior. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION The original 1993cc SOHC engine has avoided the hugely common modification trend and is factory standard with amazing attention to detail. All engine ancillaries, brackets, nuts and bolts have been refurbished. Performance figures of 108.2mph top speed and 0-60 in just 8.5 seconds are more than respectable even for modern standards. The standard four speed synchromesh gearbox remains exactly as Ford intended, light and precise. WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES Genuine RS four spoke 6J x 13in alloy wheels as fitted from new to the Custom specification cars are in excellent order with matching branded 185/60 R13 tyres including the spare. Vacuum servo assisted front disc brakes with rear drums brakes offer fair braking but fall short of modern standards. HISTORY FILE Supplied new by Ford Main Dealers, Kirbys Wrexham Ltd on the 23rd April 1980 this Mk2 RS2000 has had just six former keepers. Supplied with the original Ford service book and a collection of MOT certificates. Being sold by an avid Ford collector who eventually embarked on creating his perfect RS2000 having viewed many substandard examples and admitting finding the right car was virtually impossible. Now only made available due to the recent acquisition of a very low mileage Broadstripe. A unique opportunity. MOT Jan 2017, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please click on the link below: https://youtu.be/oI5PaVuqtJA To see a full set of photographs of this car please click on the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHskpZeZNr 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    • Year: 1980
    • Mileage: 30406 mi
    • Engine size: 2
    For sale
  • Ford Escort RS Cosworth Lux

    £44,995 £44,995

    Lifting the bonnet you'll find the un-modified 2.0i DOHC 16v engine, which produces 224hp and rockets the Escort from 0-60mph in close to six seconds. Being a second generation RS Cosworth this example is fitted with the Garrett T25 turbocharger. This smaller unit reduces turbo lag and increases usability in everyday driving situations compared to the earlier examples.

    • Year: 1996
    • Mileage: 36915 mi
    For sale

    £595 £595

    Type: Used Year: 1997 Make: FORD Model: ESCORT Trim: Base Body: Hatchback Trans: Manual Mileage: 141390 Engine Size: 1796 Ext Color: SILVER

    • Mileage: 141390 mi
    • Engine size: 1796
    For sale
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