FORD ESCORT MK1 MEXICO
£1150 (in 1970)
Front engine, rear-wheel drive
RANGE OF ENGINES
MOST POWERFUL ENGINE
BEST OVERALL FUEL ECONOMY
NUMBER OF SEATS
Here’s one of the seminal Fords that built the company’s reputation for performance and excitement throughout the 1960s and ‘70s... the Ford Escort MK1 Mexico.
Although a two-door sports saloon docile enough for daily commuting, the Escort MK1Mexico was based on Ford’s gutsy rally machine, the Escort RS1600. That one was the ultimate Mk1 Escort, exploiting the design’s rear-wheel drive, simple yet supple suspension, and rack-and-pinion steering to best competitive effect. It was equipped with a hybrid Ford/Cosworth DBA 16-valve engine used principally in Formula 3 single-seaters, that made the factory rally team virtually unbeatable in the late 1960s and early ‘70s. One of its most awe-inspiring victories was in the 1970 Mexico World Cup Rally, driven by Hannu Mikkola.
That’s how the Ford Mexico got its name, of course, and it also shared the RS1600’s sports-biased suspension, stiffened body structure, wider wheels and tyres, purposeful cabin and weight-saving front quarter bumpers.
Unlike the RS1600, this Escort was garish, with bold ‘MEXICO’ stripes and four-spoke alloy wheels. Yet – and also unlike the rallying icon – it had a sensible engine: the 1.6-litre straight-four Kent first seen in the Cortina Mk2 GT. So owners got hot Escort image and great road manners with a motor that was easy to service on any Sunday morning! Nonetheless, many Ford Escort MK1 Mexicos were tuned up and modified for use in amateur motor sport events by hundreds of wannabe Mikkolas…