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Ford Escort Mk1: Buying guide and review (1968-1975)

Ford Escort Mk1: Buying guide and review (1968-1975) Classic and Performance Car
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 Escort 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. 

Performance and specs

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

Dimensions and weight

Wheelbase 2400mm
Length 3975mm
Width 1568mm
Height 1384mm
Kerb weight 785kg

Common problems 

• 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. 

Owners clubs, forums and websites

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

Summary and prices

Escort Mk1 prices have been steadily rising for some time, with the top of the range Twin Cams and RS1600s dragging up prices of the more ordinary versions. Basic models can still be picked up for around £3000 to around £10,000 for good cars. For a concours Twin Cam with undisputed history, you can expect to pay more than £40,000 today. Projects start at £10,000, with runners coming in at £15,000 and decent examples starting from £25k. 
Even more special are the RS1600s, which today command figures approaching £50,000 in perfect condition. Projects start at just below £20k, with everything else falling in between. As always, watch out for fakes. 
The happy compromise has always been the Mexico and RS2000, with sporty looks and its more robust engines, it sits in the happy medium. Top cars command up to and above £25k, with average cars sitting between £7500-£13,500. 
Ford Escort Mk1 Ford Escort Mk1 Ford Escort Mk1 Ford Escort Mk1 Estate
Last updated: 10th Oct 2016
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Ford Escort cars for sale

18 Search results
Ford Escort
300 169995 GBP
  • Ford Escort

    £22,000 - £26,000 est. £22,000 - £26,000 est.
    Auction Date: 10 Jun 2017
    • Mileage: 5500 mi
    • Engine size: 1.6
    Auction Date: 10 Jun 2017
    Classic Car Auctions
    +44 (0) 1926 640 888 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • Ford Escort Mk1 RS1600 Roger Clark Works Team Car


    Mayfair 020 7125 1400 | Maldon 01621 879579 "Ford Escort RS1600 - The Potent Mix". This was how Ford's advertising campaign announced the Escort RS1600 to the world in early 1970. A combination of Escort Twin Cam chassis and running gear allied with Ford's newly developed Cosworth sixteen-valve twin cam BDA (Belt Drive Type A) engine unit. The announcement heralded the birth of what was to become, along with its Mk11 descendant the RS1800, arguably the most successful rally car of the 1970's. The RS1600 amassed an impressive tally of victories from the forests of the RAC, with a 1972-74 hat-trick, to the 1000 Lakes with five wins, the Arctic stages of Finland, the Heatwave in New Zealand and possibly the toughest car test on earth in East Africa, the Safari which the Escort won in 1972. XPU 216L, the Ex-Works Ford Escort RS1600 first driven by Roger Clark on the 1973 East African Safari was prepared by the Ford Boreham Competition Department in April 1973. XPU was also driven by Tony Pond (1973 Scottish), Russell Brookes (1973 RAC), and Andrew Cowan (1974 World Cup). A previous owner who acquired the Escort in 1991 carried out a complete restoration to full works specification, rec

    • Year: 1973
    For sale
  • 1978 Ford Escort Rally Car

    £26,995 £26,995

    This very desirable Ford Escort Rally car with Group 4 shell has come over to us from Northern Ireland. The car has been with its last owner for ten years and comes with an official MSA Competition log book and has taken part in many Enniskillen Motor Club tarmac sprints. Our rally car comes with an impressive specification and thousands of pounds worth of valuable parts. The engine alone cost well in excess of £5500 three years ago and is an eight valve Pinto engine with Big Valve head, steel rods and dry sump and running on 48 Webers. We are told the engine is producing around 210 BHP and was built by respected rally engine builder Reggie Britton. The Escort also boasts an Omex management system, 5 speed Quaife dog box, semi floating back axle with limited slip differential, Facett twin fuel pumps, Bias pedal box, 4 pot calipers, XR3 rear brakes and coil over springs. The body was stripped down, sand blasted and rebuilt by the famous HASS Motorsport with roll cage, then re-painted and built up. The bucket seats and fire extinguishers are still in date for current use and the Escort is quite simply outstanding to drive. One of our Malton Coachworks technicians is involved in the l

    • Year: 1978
    For sale
  • Ford Escort

    £7,990 £7,990

    Considerable Mechanical History, New genuine Limited Slip Gearbox, Sunroof, Alloy Wheels, Recaro Sports Seats, Radio Cassette, Electric Front Windows, Unmolested 1987 Ford Escort RS Turbo 3 Door Hatch Back. 96.000 Miles, Showing a Considerable Mechanical History, with Supporting Invoices. Finished in White, with RS Red and Grey Cloth Interior. New Reconditioned and Genuine, Limited Slip, RS Gearbox and Service. Cambelt and Water Pump Change in 2016. Sunroof, Recaro Seats, Cassette Player and ''Scorpion'' Exhaust. A New MOT, will also be supplied. In unmolested condition. An RS Turbo, which is mechanically sound, but cosmetically has some issues, but remember this car is 30 Years Old and has not been restored. A Good usable car, that can only rise in value. You need to view the car to establish a point of view.

    • Mileage: 96000 mi
    • Engine size: 1597
    For sale
  • Ford Escort MK2 Red 59000 Mileage

    £4,500 £4,500

    Up for sale is my 1980 MK2 escort as i fancy a bit of a change!1300 crossflow59000 miles4 branch rs manifold2 up 2 down spotlightsfully polybushed13" superlight alloysHalf roll cage/show cageThe car was origionally blue and resprayed by the previous ownerjust  had a recent service including plugs and HT leadsReally tidy little car with a solid shell, the car is currently not MOT'd as its been stored in our workshop for months under a cover, the car basically needs very little or if not nothing for the mot, comes with a few good spares including 5 speed type 9 gearbox, a brand new salisbury lsd, 1.8 zetec engine, axle rebuild kit for the lsd. Feel free to ask me any questions.

    • Mileage: 59000 mi
    • Engine size: 1300
    For sale
  • Ford Escort

    £4,400 £4,400

    Reluctant sale of my Ford Escort 1300E owned from new. A prime example of a vehicle that is now becoming rare. I totally restored it some 20 years ago and has been dry stored since. Restore consisted of: Full Engine re-build Seats fully re-upholstered New Carpets including trunk Body work Fully restored (Further details upon request) New Vinyl roof New Tyres New Brakes New Exhaust New Battery Please no time wasters .

    • Year: pre 1900
    • Mileage: 87000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.3
    For sale
    Shannons Shannons
  • 1974 FORD ESCORT 1300 L ESTATE

    £19,995 £19,995

    1974 FORD ESCORT 1300 L ESTATE 17,000 Miles from new !!!!!!!!!! Diamond White with Black interior Disc Brakes and Servo from new - £18/10 ! Seat Belts from new - £9/68 ! Original bill of sale, Stunning condition throughout, Try and find another like this, Unrepeatable and one for the true Ford enthusiast. PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE CURRENTLY HAVING ISSUES WITH OUR 'CONTACT PAGE'. PLEASE CONTACT US ON 01636 812700 OR VIA sales@sherwoodrestorations.co.uk

    • Year: 1974
    • Mileage: 17000 mi
    For sale
  • Ford Escort MKI Station 1974

    €12,950(£10,894.84) €12,950(£10,894.84)

    Ford Escort MKI Station Deluxe 1974 restored in topcondition The Ford Escort was introduced in 1967 at the Motor Show in Brussels and was built from 1968 till 1975. This is a 1974 Ford Escort Station MKI Deluxe. The car has had only 2 owners, is fully restored and both the in- and outside are in topcondition. The car has beautiful red paint and a very beautiful black interior. This Ford has the 1098 CC 4 cyl 60 HP engine and a 4 speed manual gearbox. Drives really great. The Ford Escort MKI Station gets harder to find, so this is a good chance to own a beautiful copy of a Ford Escort MKI. Car has Holland title and Holland mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1974
    For sale
  • Ford Escort

    £169,995 £169,995

    This represents a unique opportunity to buy a collection of rally Escorts through the ages and to varying stages of tune. All immaculately prepared by specialists Motoscope of Northallerton, on the button and ready to rally: Ford Escort RS 1600 Mk 1 Originally a factory press demonstrator, subsequently converted to a very successful historic race car before being meticulously rebuilt to FIA Group 2 tarmac rally specification with a 2.0 litre Alan Sherwood BDA, Brian Wileman ZF box, ZF LSD and fully floating Atlas. Detailed records of mileage on all significant components. Second in the 2012 Tour Britannia, and eligible for many prestigious events worldwide, including Tour Auto. Complete with new HTP papers and ready to rally (or race with minor modifications). Ford Escort RS Mk 2 Built to works Group 4 specification, with no expense spared. Current HVIF and stage rally logbook. Immaculate and ready to use, having competed on two tarmac rallies since full overhaul. Specification includes Gartrac body shell, Sherwood 2 litre alloy block BDG on carbs (but can be converted to injection), Brian Wileman ZF gearbox, fully floating Atlas axle, and professional competition wiring loom. Detailed records of mileage on all significant components. Currently in tarmac specification, but gravel suspension, guards etc are also available. Ford Escort RS 2000 Mk 2 Built to works Group 1 specification using original Ford Motorsport bodyshell in 1980, and placed in long term storage shortly after. Fully rebuilt during 2011 and has covered 3000 miles since including 16 HRCR Clubman Championship Rallies gaining several top 3 results and numerous class wins. Current HVIF and stage rally logbook. Specification includes 2 litre Pinto by Dave Brookes on twin downdraught 44 IDF carbs, period correct 'Rocket' gearbox and narrow Atlas axle. These proven and competitive cars are available to buy as a collection or individually. Please enquire for further details.

    For sale
  • Ford Escort

    £59,995 £59,995

    Variant name:Twin Cam ,Derivative:Twin Cam ,Variant: Twin Cam After having been dry-stored in a barn for 29 years, this car was originally purchased in 2009 as a restoration project for use as a track day car however, as the restoration progressed the precision to detail become more apparent and the car was meticulously rebuilt to such a superb standard, far exceeding any original expectations. From 2009-2010 this car had a full ground up restoration which included a complete bare metal respray by Brewsters Motors in the traditional Ermine White you see today, paying close attention to detail with the door handles and headlamp surrounds being re-chromed and the fitting of 'new old stock' front quarter bumpers. The interior was fully revived with new carpets, new door cards, new headlining, new windscreen, a Springalex steering wheel, immaculate period Contour bucket seats and a re-trim to the original rear seats to match the pristine fronts. The owner even managed to find two new rear ashtrays to complete the finishing touches. The engine had an unleaded head conversion and was fitted with Elan Sprint inlet valves and FIA-spec exhaust valves. The now fully-lightened and balanced engine was rebuilt by Mountune and features +40 QED cast pistons, ARP bolts, Piper L14 camshafts and a full Janspeed exhaust system. Covering just over 600 miles since the renovation, this car comes complete with a lovely invoice file detailing all components of the restoration including a large digital photograph file with over 170 photos.

    • Year: 1970
    • Mileage: 607 mi
    • Engine size: 1.6
    For sale
  • Stolen

    £300 £300

    From Twickenham Middlesex Registion number Ford Escort 1.3L ULN 924X 5 door in beige colour. There is a reward for information into it's recovery of £300.00 email: brianthurtell@yahoo.co.uk or : 07507438058

    • Mileage: 94500 mi
    • Engine size: 1300
    For sale
  • Ford Escort

    £49,995 £49,995

    Chassis number BB49KT79413 was built in April 1970 and subsequently had a distinguished motorsport career in South Africa. Converted for race use by Lambert, Harry and Roelof Fekken, it was campaigned throughout the 70s and competed in the Springbok series. The car was then little used until being completely rebuilt by Harp Motorsport in 2008, who were able to retain the original rustfree shell and many of its original parts which had been preserved through being kept in such a dry climate. It has subsequently been raced in historic events such as the Springbok Revival Series. Fitted with an 1800 BDA engine on 48 DCOE Webers with Lucas electronic ignition. ZF five speed gearbox with sintered paddle clutch and single piece prop. Atlas rear axle with 4.6 CWP and LSD. Brakes are vented discs with AP 4 pot front and AP 2 pot rear calipers. Front suspension features gas filled Bilsteins with adjustable platform to Group 4 spec with alloy hubs, World Cup cross-member, quick rack, and double width ARB. The rear has original leaf slipper spring with turreted Koni adjustable dampers, 5 link with rose joints, Group 4 alloy axle brace and alloy fully floating hubs. The specification also includes a Jaz 35 litre tank with twin Facet pumps, alloy collector pot and an auxiliary Ford tank for long distance events. 75 amp alternator, boot mounted battery, new wiring loom with circuit breakers and master switch. Slicks and wets on 8" and 10" Group 4 alloys. Fully plumbed throughout with Aeroquip, original works type dry sump tank, oil cooler, high capacity/flow brass radiator, electric cooling fan, laminated top tint screen, FIA seat, 5 point harness, OMP plumbed in fire extinguisher system and 6 point bolt in roll cage. Complete with a South African HTP dating from 2009 and a history file including period photos. In superb condition throughout. Ready to race or would readily convert for rally use.

    • Year: 1970
    For sale
  • Ford Escort

    £79,995 £79,995

    Very successful RS1600 race/rally car ... This iconic car was originally a factory press demonstrator. It was converted to a very successful historic race car before being meticulously rebuilt to FIA Group 2 tarmac rally specification with a 2.0 litre Alan Sherwood BDA, Brian Wileman ZF box, ZF LSD and fully floating Atlas. Shell authenticated by the RS1600 Registrar. Maintained and run to the highest standards by Motorscope, with all major components lifed. Second in the 2012 Tour Britannia, and eligible for many prestigious events worldwide, including Tour Auto. Complete with new HTP papers and ready to rally (or race with minor modifications) Immaculate, competitive and unique.

    For sale
  • Ford Escort

    £124,000 £124,000

    This is a rare opportunity to purchase an ex-works Escort which has had a full nut and rebuild by leading specialists Motoscope and is now presented in absolutely pristine rally ready condition. RWC 456K was a works RS1600 driven in period by Makinen, Mikkola and Cowan. It also won the Ypres 12hr in the hands of Staepelaere and Aerts. The history of the car is very well documented and is accompanied by a collection of period photographs. Less than 50 road miles have been covered since the completion of Motoscope’s comprehensive rebuild. The build quality and specification is outstanding, and combines FIA homologated components with high tech instrumentation and camera systems: •FIA specification 2.0 litre Alan Sherwood BDA, producing 250 BHP •Direct top ZF box •ZF LSD with 4.6 CWP •AP twin plate clutch •Steel sump pan •Alloy radiator •FIA bag tank •Tony Law exhaust with ceramic coated manifold •Works spec semi floating Atlas with alloy hubs •Watts linkage and short four link system •AP forest 4 pot front callipers, AP 4 pot twin callipers on rear •Gartrac billet front struts •Steel bubble arched shell •Alloy door skins •Alloy bonnet and boot lid •Toyo R888s on Minilites •Motorsport loom •6 Piaa spot lights •Full Racelogic camera system •Stack instrumentation •Peltor intercom •Twin tripmaster system •Lifeline plumbed in and hand held extinguishers •Full safety equipment Everything on the car is brand new or rebuilt, and the shell has been immaculately repainted by Normandale Refinishing. The spares package includes steel bonnet and boot lids, 7 sets of brand new Minilites and 6 unused Dunlop tyres.

    For sale
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