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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

11 Search results
Ford Escort
595 44995 GBP
  • We are delighted to offer for sale this FORD Escort SAPPHIRE finished in Red (Manual), 23,000 miles with charcoal velour interior only 1 owner from new.;;THIS CAR IS ONE LADY OWNER FROM NEW/HAS ONLY 23000 MILES,A REAL COLLECTORS CAR.;;Only GBP 1,250;;;;Please call us on 01642 243002, 01642-244522 or 07738 214951 ;

    Last update: 4 Days Old

    • Mileage: 23000 mi

    • Engine size: 1.597

    For sale
  • see details
  • 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

    Last update: 16 Days Old

    • Mileage: 36915 mi

    For sale
  • 4 Star Classics
    01483 274347
    see details
  • Mark 1 Ford Escorts are getting hard to find now in any condition but cheap nice ones are like hens teeth. This one has been gradually improved over quite a few years and is not yet finished or indeed a concourse show car but, it is a very good usable MOT,ed reliable and solid example with an excellent (if not standard) interior. The interior costs alone were in access of £1000 fitted. Mechanically she is very good too, quiet, smooth engine starts easily and runs very well. The auto box is as good as it was in 1974 when the car was new but if manual is your preference this can be changed quite easily. The new alloy wheels really set the car off but if required they can be put back to original with the old wheels, trims and hubcaps. This car would be admired at any show and would not have much company as they are becoming very rare. Also as back in the day it will get you there and back reliably. The Mk one Escort is an excellent car for the person now getting into the 'Classic Car Scene' it was a big design step from the `Ford Anglia 105E and was incredibly successful in the saloon car and Rally car events. This car will increase in value quicker than the most cars priced below £10

    • Year: 1974

    Last update: 13 Days Old

    • Mileage: 64982 mi

    For sale
  • A Touch of Classics
    01502 537379
    see details
  • Ford Escort


    Ford Escort

    This is a unique Ford Escort Mk1 300 GT/HC. It was imported from Portugal were they only had this very beautiful colour. This Escort is in perfect condition and all to original specification. Only the RS wheels and the leather steering wheel is on original but do make this car look great. We speak Dutch, English , German and French. Our cars can be delivered with Dutch, German or Belgium registration. We can assist with the French registration. Transport to your door is possible. We have our own workshop facility with 25 years experience with classic cars.

    • Year: 1973

    Last update: 28 Days Old

    • Engine size: 1.3

    For sale
  • Imparts BV
    see details
  • Year: 1971 Mileage: Transmission: An Excellent example that has been finished in the beautiful Gulf racing colours, based on a 1971 Ford Escort Mexico. This car has been professionally built, and has had a full nut and bolt restoration a number of years ago. Equipment 2.0 Pinto OHC Rally spec camshaft Twin 45′s DCOE Weber Carbrettors Alloy competition tank Boot mounted facet electric fuel pump Filter king filter assembly mounted beside carbs Full stainless steel exhaust system Set of minilite style wheels with track day tyres Radlec aluminium radiator and Kenlowe electric fan 5 Speed sierra type 9 gearbox and quickshift English rear axle Limited slip differential, with panhard rod and lowered single leaf springs Quick ratio steering rack Bilstien shocks all round with coil over struts Hi-spec brakes New hand made trimmed carpets Corbeau targa front seats / Sparco 4 point mounted harness Sparco intercom system Brantz trip meter PIAA Qtr lights Type 49 shell, seam welded and strengthened. Delivery to anywhere in UK & Ireland Available Courtesy collection service from airports can be arranged, we are only 20 minutes from airports and ferry ports. Part Exchange Welcome Finance Availabl

    • Year: 1971

    Last update: 1 Day Old

    • Mileage: 1971 mi

    For sale
  • Hollybrook Sports Cars
    +44 28 9267 7719
    see details
  • This Ford RS2000 MKII was first registered on 24th September 1980 and is finished in Terracotta with Beige upholstery. OLH 220W comes with an excellent history with MOT certificates dating back to 1986 and a thorough restoration report from 2007/2008. The fast Ford has recently spent a few years with one owner in both Southern and Northern Ireland and has recently been owned by one of our regular customers in South Yorkshire. We drove the Ford here from South Yorkshire and the RS performed faultlessly. OLH 220W presents very well and has come to us in excellent mechanical order. The car has had a comprehensive restoration carried out to a very high standard. The engine was removed and stripped down and all parts checked clean and some replaced such as the rear crankshaft seal. The gearbox was also removed and treated to the same. A new clutch pressure plate and release bearing were fitted and both the engine and gearbox re-fitted with new mountings. All l fuel and brake pipes were replaced, front brakes stripped and cleaned, caliper pistons lubricated and new pads fitted. A new speed, clutch and throttle cable were fitted, the thermostat housing replaced, the water pump replaced, a

    • Year: 1980

    Last update: About 1 Month Old
    For sale
  • see details
  • This very collectable Ford RS2000 was first registered on 25th March 1980 and is finished in its correct colour of Black with original Brown interior trim. The Ford records a mileage of 69,000 miles, believed genuine from the condition of the original upholstery and the fact that it has been off the road for 25 years until May 2015. GSD 264V presents superbly with an excellent straight bodyshell and high quality paintwork. The car was painted 26 years ago but when having a cosmetic restoration all those years ago, it was garaged and not put back on the road until recently. This is a remarkably original example and the car has an honest, nicely aged feel to it. The interior is largely original and in very good condition, the engine bay presents very well and the cars appearance is very correct. Over 2014/2015 the Ford has had a fortune spent on it mechanically. With paintwork and trim very smart, the majority of the work required after 25 years off the road was mechanical. We have a comprehensive history file with invoices for a high level of work. The engine has been recently stripped down and treated to new main and big end bearings, piston rings, camshaft kit, powergrip kit and u

    • Year: 1980

    Last update: About 1 Month Old

    • Mileage: 69000 mi

    For sale
  • see details
  • Stunning Example With Fantastic Service History 8 Stamps With Ford And Specialist Aswell As A Folder Full Of Invoices, 16" Alloy Wheels, Glass Sunroof, Recaro Cloth Interior, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Heated Windscreen, Sony CD Player, Stainless Steel Exhaust System, Blue Silicone Coolant And Boost Hoses. This Car Needs To Be Seen To Be Appreciated, A Stunning Clean Example That Would Suit Any Enthausiast Or Collector., £25,000

    • Year: 1994

    Last update: 3 Months Old

    • Mileage: 86574 mi

    For sale
  • Silverlink Cars
    0191 460 7204
    see details
  • This car is just in at Oldtimerfarm, Aalter Belgium. Steenweg op Deinze 51C. Teusday-Saterday 10-17h (no appointment needed) Sunday: closed. Monday strictly on appointment. We specialize in consignment sales of collection cars. We are proud we can offer this car for sale. A more detailed description will soon follow. In the meantime you can have a look at the very ample photo coverage on the website. Of course Xavier or Olivier will be very happy to give you all possible explanations by phone on +32472401338. Meet us at: You can meet us at these events where we will show a sample of our stock 22-25/10/2015 Auto d'epoca Fiera di Padova 30-01/11/2015 Classic & Sports Cars Show London 06-08/11/2015 Interclassics Brussels 2015 19-20/12/2015 Dreamcar International Kortrijk 14-17/01/2016 Interclassics Maastricht '16 Auto Retro Brugge 13-14/02/2016 Flanders Collection Car - Gent 04-06/03/2016 Antwerp Classic Salon 18-20/03/2016 Milano Autoclassica 06-10/04/2016 28th Techno-Classica Essen - Duitsland 29-01/05/2016 OLDTIMERFARM : Opendeurdagen/Journees Portes Ouvertes/ Open Door event

    • Year: 1973

    Last update: 6 Days Old
    For sale
  • Oldertimerfarm.be
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