The MK1 Escort was one of Ford’s most successful ever cars. Introduced in 1967, it was designed to replace the popular, but by then “long in the tooth” Anglia. The MK1 Escort also signified a milestone for Ford, as it was the first passenger car produced by the newly merged “Ford of Europe”. Prior to this, Ford of Germany and Ford of Britain had been operating separately, with very different approaches, and often competing in each other’s’ markets.
In terms of engines, customers could choose from Ford’s catalogue of “Crossflow” engines ranging from 1.0 litre right up to 1.6 litre. Ford did however release a limited number of very special MK1’s with slightly different power units. These included the famous “Twin Cam” (which came with a Lotus derived twin-cam screamer installed), followed by the RS1600 (which had a double overhead cam Cosworth BDA engine), and finally the RS2000 (which featured Ford’s new powerplant – the Pinto engine).
One of the most popular motorsport-inspired Escorts was the Mexico! The Mexico was built to celebrate Ford’s success in the London to Mexico rally in 1970, where (in the hands of Hannu Mikkola and Gunnar Palm) it truly dominated. Mexico’s were developed and produced by Ford’s AVO (Advanced Vehicle Operations) division and utilised the strengthened shell from the RS1600. Despite not actually bearing the “RS” name there is no doubt amongst Ford fans, this car is as much an RS as any other can claim to be!
Due to the Escort’s motorsport pedigree and huge capability as a driver’s car, there is virtually no end to the modifications and upgrades available to the budding enthusiast. One upgrade (for the brave) is to install the infamous Cosworth YB engine. This piece of Cosworth wizardry was based on the humble 2.0 pinto, but included a double-overhead-cam set up which resulted in over 200bhp in naturally aspirated form, and when turbos came into the mix… over 400bhp was achievable! They first appeared in the Sierra Cosworth.
Adam’s MK1 Escort isn’t your regular Escort – it’s been hugely modified and is running over 300bhp thanks to a Cosworth YB installation! Let us just repeat that… 300bhp plus, in a car that weighs less than 800kg. There isn’t a bit of this car that hasn’t been worked on – it’s been treated to a full restoration, and then had performance modifications left, right and centre. We spoke to Adam (who was hugely accommodating) to find out more about this orange monster! All is revealed in the interview below!
Ford Escort MK1 Mexico “Cosworth YB” (1973)
- Engine swap! YB Cosworth Engine installed, T34 TurboFunk motorsport turbo blanket, Dark Green injectors, 3 bar map sensor (boosts to 19psi) and an Airtec intercooler. Runs through a 3" custom exhaust system.
- Airtec radiator installed with twin fans. Orange silicone hoses, engine bay is minimalist with all wiring and header tank relocated to the inner wing.
- T5 Cosworth gearbox conversion, running into an Atkins motorsport GRP1 Atlas axle with limited slip differential and a single-piece propshaft.
- Rear disc-brake conversion, and a 4-pot front brake upgrade. Upgraded Pedal box.
- Gaz adjustable shocks on the rear and a full custom coilover set up on the front.
- Body has had a full restoration and respray. The car also sits on 15×7 Minilite wheels.
- Interior wise the car features contour Mexico seats, new carpets and the customary RS steering wheel!
Interview with the owner
- You don't need us to tell you, we're Ford mad here at Driveaholics… and this one, well it's a god damn monster (in the good way). When did you buy it Adam?I bought it 5 years ago. I've always loved classic cars and really fancied a rear wheel drive old school car.
- We'll get onto specifics soon (as it's certainly no slouch), but in a few words, what's it like to drive?Fun… It drives really nice. It will happily cruise along but when you want it to, it goes extremely well once you hit boost.
- Do you know the current BHP?Yes, somewhere between 300-320bhp!
- So the car is clearly hugely modified, what exactly has been changed on it?Lots! – Engine– Gearbox– Axle / Drivetrain– Brakes– Suspension– Bodywork– Paintwork– Wheels & Tyres– Interior
- What have you done to the engine?YB Cosworth Engine installed, with a T34 TurboFunk motorsport turbo blanket. Dark Green injectors, 3 bar map sensor (meaning the car boosts to 19psi!).It's also had an Airtec intercooler, Airtec radiator and Twin fans. I've also gone for a very clean engine bay – Orange silicone hoses, Header tank relocated to inner wing, a 3” stainless steel exhaust, and also you may notice that all wires have been hidden in the inner wing too.
- What have you done to the gearbox?T5 Cosworth gearbox conversion.
- What have you done to the axle / drivetrain?Well to take the power, it's now got an Atkins motorsport GRP1 atlas axle with a limited slip differential and a single-piece prop!
- What have you done to the brakes?Brakes wise it's had a rear disc conversion, and 4 pot front brakes, and an upgraded pedal box.
- And what about the suspension set up?The standard upgrades here really – Gaz shocks on rear, and Coilovers up front!
- The body and paint looks amazing – has it been restored?Yes it's had a full resto, and a full respray.
- Ok lastly, wheels, tyres, and interior – what's new there?It sits on a set of 15 x 7 Minilite wheels. In terms of interior it's now got contour Mexico seats, new carpets, and an RS steering wheel!
- Do you plan to do any further modifications to it?Of course…
- Go on…New wheels shortly, and possibly more power…
- Is the car a "keeper" or will you sell it one day?I'll take it to my grave!