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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

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Ford Escort
0.5 65995 GBP
  • Ford - Escort MK3 - 1981

    €3,250 - €4,225 est. (£2,904.53 - £3,775.88 est.) €3,250 - €4,225 est. (£2,904.53 - £3,775.88 est.)
    Online Auction
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
    Catawiki Auctions
  • Ford Escort

    £3,450 £3,450

    Service history This is a really exceptional Mk3 Escort 1.3 GL 5-door in Caribbean Blue. It was purchased new in April 1982 for the sum of £5104.19 by its original owner who then kept it for the following 33 years, finally selling it to its only other keeper in July 2015. It has been MOT'd every year from 1985 (its first test) with the exception of 2012/13/14 when it was off the road due to the original owner having given up driving. All these MOTs together with those for 2015/16/17 are present in the history file and so provide positive confirmation of the car's remarkable mileage of 29000. The current MOT runs until 23rd July 2018 and has no advisories.The history file also includes the original sales invoice which shows that the car had Ziebart rust protection applied before delivery,and a very good job it has done too! To the best of my knowledge the car is entirely in its original paint, albeit with a number of touch-ins which have been rather less than expertly applied over the years, and is still corrosion free. The interior of the car is in equally good condition with no rips or tears in the upholstery or carpets, no cracks in the dash and a perfect headlining. It would not appear to have been smoked in. Mechanically the car is superb. It starts easily and runs smoothly and quietly with no smoke or untoward noises. The clutch and four speed transmission work exactly as they should and are also smooth and quiet. All the electrics work efficiently although the brake pad wear ligh

    • Mileage: 29000 mi
    • Engine size: 1296
    For sale
  • Ford Escort Rally Car

    £23,850 £23,850

    This Ford Escort Rally car with Group 4 shell comes from Northern Ireland. The car has been with its last owner for ten years and comes with an official MSA Competition log book. It has taken part in many Enniskillen Motor Club tarmac sprints and is ready for service and use.

    • Year: 1978
    For sale
  • Ford Escort ON SALE NOW

    £34,995 £34,995

    Ford Escort Mk1 RS1600 wide-body replica presented in white comes with the following specification; black leather period seats, Sparco harnesses, three spoke steering wheel, Digidash with shift lights, half roll cage, Cibie fog lights, type 9 five speed gearbox, new adjustable gearbox mount, 2.0 litre Zetec engine, BDA cam cover, twin side draft 40s, insulated cooling fan, Willwood four pot brakes with new brake master cylinder, adjustable coilovers front with lowering blocks at the rear, 4 wheel alignment has been done, new MOT, stainless centre fill fuel tank with new high pressure fuel pump, works exhaust and genuine 13" magnesium Minilights finished in grey. The mileage is showing 4000 miles however this is unknown due to the nature of the vehicle. Registration number included with the vehicle (Esso Blue) ' LVX 958J'. MOT and 4 wheel alignment just completed. Please ignore the mileage showing as it is incorrect. Viewings welcome by appointment only. Body: Coupe Transmission: Manual Mileage: 4,000 Fuel Type: Petrol Registered: 1970 (J) Doors: 2 Engine Size: 2.0 Finished in: White

    • Year: 1970
    • Mileage: 4000 mi
    For sale
  • FORD ESCORT XR3i Conv 1960 Manual Petrol

    POA POA

    1990 XR3i convertible, supplied new with all extras for the time including heated front screen half leather, tric windows, tric mirrors and alloy wheels. This example has lain unused for about 8 years and has recently been recommissioned serviced and mot tested. New battery, new tyres, new cam belt, new water pump, new alternator. The electric hood works as it should and the car drives just how Henry wanted it to.

    • Mileage: 116000 mi
    For sale
  • Ford escort xr3i

    £3,500 £3,500

    Ford escort xr3i 1988 in red. Family owned from new. 170,000 miles, engine still very good. Lovely car inside and out. Body work very good condition. Extensive service history. Off road since 2016. Needs to go to someone who will love and use this gem. £3,500. 02083953272 Morden surrey. First to see will buy.

    • Mileage: 170000 mi
    • Engine size: 1597
    For sale
  • Ford Escort

    £12,995 £12,995

    *SIMILAR QUALITY CARS ALWAYS REQUIRED* SOLD Thinking of selling? Our proven commission sale or SOR (Sale or Return) program is a great way to utilise and access our professional services and facilities while still maximising the return from your vehicle with minimal hassle, stress and time, If you’d like to take advantage of this then please get in touch for further information. Alternatively If you’d like to move your vehicle on quickly and efficiently with minimal delay then we can make an offer on an outright purchase basis with payment and collection arranged soon after. A collectable very early Ford Escort XR3 in prime condition. EQUIPMENT Aerodynamic spoilers front and rear, wheel arch air deflectors, colour keyed bumpers, colour keyed remote door mirrors, front and rear overriders, black finish window surrounds, tailgate wash wipe, side window demisters, perforated headlining, coat hooks, vanity mirror on passenger sun visor, cigar lighter, rear ashtrays, front door stowage bins, 3-speed heater fan, coin box, Ford P21 push button radio, trip recorder, tachometer, roof mounted digital clock, two spoke soft feel steering wheel. Factory options; Opening rear quarters, central locking, sunroof, tinted glass. EXTERIOR Finished in the original colour of Strato Silver Metallic, (Code V6), the paintwork is superb with a bright uniform finish and the factory panels remain fitted with stampings visible. Unique features denote a very early XR3 such as the single washer jet, washer bottle bracket design and satin black painted sill, and whilst debate rages as to exactly how many cars had these features, what is certain is that only very early cars did. Furthermore, the correct higher ride height prior to the introduction of the XR3i has been maintained. The trim sections, glass, lights and badges are in excellent order and supplying original dealer number plates remain fitted. A tiny paint blemish around the wing mounted aerial, a small split to the driver’s door top rubber and slight discolouration to the sunroof glass are visible upon close inspection. A superb example of this legendary contender in the 1980’s hot hatch war, unmolested and just as Ford intended. INTERIOR The original Special Laser fabric trim in Red/Grey, (Code TF), along with the small two spoke steering wheel again relate to the early XR3 cars and have remained in fantastic preserved condition. The bright colours to the seat fabric are free from fading and damage and the inner foam structures are firm and shapely. The anthracite headlining is unmarked, as are the door cards, and the carpeting is clean with only minimal wear. Incredibly the dash has only a few minuscule cracks around the vents, barely visible and is free from the common distortion. All the controls work correctly including the electronic warning system which monitors brake pad wear, coolant levels, low fuel, oil and windscreen washer level. Even the Ford P21 push button radio operates! A really well preserved, unspoilt 1980’s icon. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION Fitted with Fords 1.6 Compound Value angle Hemispherical chamber (CVH) engine mated to a twin venture weber carburettor, this car sprints along with 96bhp at 6000rpm giving a 0-60 of 9.2 seconds and a top speed of 113mph. The unmolested engine bay is very clean and displays clearly prominent factory plates and original stickers. Ford aficionados will be pleased to see a Motorcraft battery and correct service items such as Motorcraft oil filter, starter motor and hoses. The correct 4-speed manual transmission fitted to pre February 1982 cars is light and precise. WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES Five cloverleaf deep sculptured light cast alloy wheels are in fantastic order and fitted with Pirelli P6000 185/60 R14 tyres showing masses of tread. The boot area houses the spare wheel alongside the factory supplied jack and brace, and the original parcel shelf is straight and uncut with correct rubber hangers. The servo assisted brakes with 9.4” ventilated discs up front stop the car well. HISTORY FILE Built at the Ford Saarlouis Plant, Germany in February 1981 and registered new on the 3rd March 1981 on a ‘W’ plate suffix, this very early XR3 was supplied new by Ford Main Dealers Doe Motors Limited of Essex. Just three keepers from new have cherished this example the last being the owner of the very first Escort Cosworth to roll of the production line and also in possession of the Escort Cosworth owned by the designer himself, Stephen Harper. The original dealer branded document wallet houses all the handbooks, guides, sales leaflet, guarantee cards and accessories brochure. Furthermore, a neatly presented history folder contains receipts and invoices for service and repair work dating back to the 1980’s to present and includes a recent documented cambelt change. There are previous MOT certificates and two sets of original keys that work the ignition both door and tailgate. This outstanding XR3 will appeal to a serious collector or enthusiast wanting an incredibly well preserved, unmolested example of an iconic and fast appreciating classic car that has played a huge part in the history of sporting Fords. MOT March 2018, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please copy the link below: https://youtu.be/dcyq4vci3UU To see a complete set of photographs of this car please copy the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHskUZij9R '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: 1981
    • Mileage: 89379 mi
    • Engine size: 1.6
    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 1.6 XR3i 1989

    £3,499 £3,499

    JUST GERMAN Specialist Cars Wigan Are Delighted To Have In Stock This Superb Left Hand Drive French MK4 Escort XR3i.;;Originally Built In Germany Then Sold New By Ford France, This Is A Late 1989 '88 Spec Model Finished In Diamond White With Factory Zolda Trim (later used as standard on 90 spec). ;;This Escort XR3i Is An Unmolested Car With No Modifications Apart From Spoiler Painted White and Period "Pull Out" Radio Cassette Fitted. ;;Last Keeper Changed Timing Belt, Water Pump and Front Brakes Along With New UK Headlamps To Pass MOT, We Have Further Fitted New Indicators (all original lights present), New Fuel Pump, New Hydraulic Tappets With Rocker Gasket and Oil Service Done. ;;The Underside Has NEVER Been WELDED and Has Been Fully Undersealed To Protect (I have pics before). ;;LOW OWNERS In France and I Have A Copy Of The French Log Book. ;;This Lovely LHD MK4 Retro Hot Hatch Would Be Perfect For Taking To Your Holiday Home Or Even Just Using Over Here To Be A Little Different From The Rest. ;;Although Not A Concourse Show Winning Example This Is A Very Clean, Solid and Presentable Classic Car That Is Hiding Nothing. ;;Viewing Is Essential To Appreciate.... ;;Feel Free To Pick Up The Telephone For A Chat If You Have Anyting To Ask, Or Even Nip Round For A Coffee If You Are Local.;;GBP 250 Holding Deposit Secures Any Vehicle, If Not As Described When You Come To Collect We Will Simply Refund.;;Again Please Don't Hesitate To Make Contact With Any Questions.;;Many Thanks, Matthew.;;01942 836940 or 07921 923884;;** PART EXCHANGE WELCOMED **;;** WE ALSO BUY CARS - HIGH QUALITY ONLY.!! ** ;- GERMAN BUILT;- LEFT HAND DRIVE;- CLASSIC;- MODERN BMW WITH HIGH SPEC;- SPORTS CARS

    • Mileage: 69700 mi
    • Engine size: 1.597
    For sale
  • Ford Escort MKI Station 1974

    €12,950(£11,573.42) €12,950(£11,573.42)

    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

    £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

    £500 £500

    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 MK2 2.4 MILLINGTON-TRACTIVE DEN MOTORSPORT 1981

    £65,995 £65,995

    TEST MILEAGE ONLY SINCE RECENT BUILD COMPLETION;DEN MOTORSPORT FORD ESCORT MK2;FIRST REGISTRED JUNE 1981;2.4 ltr MILLINGTON DIAMOND SERIES 1;DTA S60 ECU;SIMPSON EXHAUST MANIFOLD;6 SPEED TRACTIVE SEQUENTIAL GEARBOX;COMPLETE DIGITAL DASH DISPLAY;BREMAX AIRCRAFT LOOM;MOTORDRIVE FIA SEATS / BELTS;3 WAY PROFLEX;DEN SPEC WIDE REAR AXLE;AP BRAKES;FULL DEN MOTORSPORT BODYSHELL WITH MULTIPOINT WELD IN CAGE and BRACES REFINISHED INSIDE and OUT IN PURE GREY , CARBON BONNET and BOOT PANELS , HEATED WINDSCREEN , CARBON BOOT TRAY / FLOOR TRAYS / DOOR PANELS and FLOCKED DASH WITH DEN LOGO !!!!!;;ALL DEN MOTORSPORT BUILT CARS HAVE A BUILD NUMBER , NDV764W IS BUILD NUMBER :064.;;THIS CAR WAS BUILT FOR THE TOUR OF MULL , HOWEVER A MAJOR CHANGE OF PLANS FORCES A VERY RELUCTANT SALE.;;A VERY HIGH SPEC CAR OFFERED AT A FRACTION OF THE BUILD PRICE .;;NO PART EXCHANGE @ THIS PRICE !!!!!;;;FULLY WIRED FOR PADDLESHIFT and MILLINGTON S2 UPGRADE ( if you fancy );;FURTHER QUESTIONS PLEASE EMAIL OR CALL 01309 676787 Liam;;;;;;

    • Engine size: 2.4
    For sale
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