The Mk I and Mk II Ford Escort are hugely popular amongst classic car and restoration enthusiasts and also attract inflation-busting price tags. Unlike the Mk III, IV and V which do not have the same cult status. The Mk I Escort was the first European Ford, first introduced to the UK market in 1968 and continued up to 2002, the last year of manufacture for the Mk I was 1974. It was initially only available with a petrol engine, 1.1L and a 1.3L. It was produced in a 2/4 door saloon, 3-doot estate and 2-door van.
The Escort was produced out of the Halewood plant from the towards the end of 1967 but, remarkably, was the best selling car of the 1960s!
Mk I Ford Escort Specification
• Engine – 940cc, 1098cc, 1298cc, 1557cc, 1601cc, 1701cc, 1994cc, all petrol
• Wheelbase – 2400mm
• Dimensions – length 4045mm, width 1570mm, height 1486 mm.
• Weight 767kg
• Production – 1967 to 1974
• Price new – £1182 (1300E)
• Top speed 93mph (1300E)
The Mk I Mexico and RS2000 are by far the most sought-after models, the estate, 1100 and 1300cc models less so. The Mk I is also a particularly popular car to customise but less so the Mk II.
The RS (Rallye Sport) badge is hugely significant for Ford and represents their racing heritage, the RS1600 was the first Ford car that started the phenomenon. The RS1600 engine was based on a 1557cc Twin-cam engine, but once Ford teamed up with Cosworth it became a 16-valve 1599cc unit which resulted in Ford’s international rallying success.
The Escort replaced the Ford Anglia (another hugely popular but now rare classic car to restore) and went on to become a huge commercial success for Ford in Europe but especially in the UK. In just 1970, Ford had made over 2,000,000 units, a record unmatched outside America, 60% of the 2m were built within the UK. The Escort was also manufactured in Germany, Australian, Belgium, Ireland and New Zealand.
The Mk I also had a successful rallying career too, in the late ’60s, culminating in the 1970 London to Mexico World Cup Rally win, with Hannu Mikkola at the wheel. This led Ford to release the Special Edition Ford Escort 1600cc Mexico, in honour of the famous win. Another sports Escort was also made around this time, the RS1600, with a sports suspension and tuned engine, latterly being replaced by the RS2000, featuring a Pinto OHC engine.