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.
The merger of the two and subsequent creation of “Ford of Europe” proved to be the start of Ford’s golden years in western Europe. No car encapsulates the golden years for Ford better than the MK1 Escort. Ford sold a staggering 2 million MK1 Escorts within just six years of its release.
The MK1 Escort also represents the start of another winning formula for Ford. Rack-and-pinion steering, Macpherson struts, and an excitable four-pot engine up front. Then a live rear axle, mounted to leaf springs, driving the wheels at the back. This was a combination that proved simple, cost effective, easy to maintain, but most importantly – stacks of fun to drive.
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).
Years of being worth very little, in combination with a notoriously close relationship with rust, means not many good examples of these cars are left on the road today and values have become for many, unachievable. Ford never quite managed to capture lightning in a bottle like they did with the MK1 Escort (though the Capri, and the MK2 Escort came pretty close).
Jason’s MK1 Escort is a real cracker. When we spotted it (in part thanks to his amazing photography skills) we were immediately hooked. Jason’s also done a range of nice modifications to the car (without going crazy with it). It sits nice and low, and on a lovely set of wheels. We asked Jason if he’d give us some of his time to tell us more, and thankfully he said yes. Read the interview below to find out more.
Jason’s Ford Escort MK1 (1971)
- Jason was in high school when he first fell in love with the MK1 Escort!
- He made it his goal to own one, and back in 2007 he realised that dream.
- Since then he's done loads of work to it including giving the car a full respray.
- He says the car has won him more friends than his "sparkling personality"! (brilliant!)
- Gearbox changed from the standard 4-speed unit to a 5-speed – more suited to modern roads.
- The car is running custom coilovers on the front and back to get it nice and low.
- When it comes to wheels, the car runs a set of 14” BBS Mahle Mesh rims – these are 7J at the front and 8J at the rear. They're wrapped in 185/50/14 tyres.
- The interior has been completely re-upholstered in tan and basket weave cloth.
Interview with the owner
- When did you first purchase the car Jason?In 2007.
- What made you go for a MK1 Escort?I was in High School when I fell in love with the Mk1 Escort.My friends and I would go out racing. Everyone was interested in the newer cars but the Ford Escort was always the car that caught my attention.I made it my goal to own one. My First Love! This car has made me more friends than my sparkling personality !!!
- So what's it like to drive?You feel every bump and take every bend. Just the way it was intended to be!
- Has the car been restored / rebuilt?Yes partly…
- Tell us more about that.She's been resprayed back in 2008 with the original colour. Her original paint had faded.It’s been a slow process getting things done, but only the best for her!All exterior and interior maintenance was done by Yuven Naicker at Glayer Auto Vehicle Restorers.All mechanical maintenance was done by Dereshan Kanniah at DK Precision Auto.Because of these two gentlemen my car looks and drives like a dream!
- So what have you done in terms of modifications?A few bits! Gearbox, suspension, bodywork and paintwork as mentioned earlier, and also the wheels & tyres, and I've reupholstered the interior.
- What have you done to the gearbox?Changed from 4-speed to "Type 9" 5-speed.Note: For those who aren't Ford Nuts, the "type 9" gearbox is one of the most versatile gearboxes out there, you find these things installed in all sorts of cars!
- What have you done to the suspension?Custom coilovers in the front and back!
- What have you done with the wheels & tyres?14” BBS Mahle's wrapped in 185/50/14 tyres.These are 7J at the front, and 8J at the rear
- And you mentioned you reupholstered the interior too?Yes I completely recovered it in tan and basket weave cloth!
- Do you plan to do any further modifications to it?No, not for now anyway.
- Is the car a "keeper" or will you sell it one day?I'll take it to my grave.
- Ok Jason, final question – ignoring cost, and assuming you couldn’t go and sell it for profit… what’s your dream car and why?It would have to be a 1967 Ford Mustang Mach 1 (fastback)I loved this car from the time I was a young adult.