Name the Ford Escort Mk1 and many a classic car enthusiast will have a smile on their face. Ford launched the Escort at the end of 1967. It became a huge blockbuster. In Britain, the car topped the sales statistics for years, and elsewhere in the world many buyers also made the way to the Ford dealer to buy the Escort. This was not least due to the excellent image, which was partly due to the sporting successes. And those sporting successes also spawned special versions. Such as the Ford Escort Mexico, today an expensive and sought-after classic.
Ford kept rallying high for years, the Oval was often crowned the winner of a rally. Like in the sixties, when Ford won many international rallies with the Cortina from 1963 to 1967. The Cortina baton was increasingly adopted from 1968 by (mainly) the Escort Twin Cam. Men like Hannu Mikkola (a legend) and Roger Clark often made it to the podium with the seasoned rally Escorts.
Tribute to illustrious victory
The list of successes was long. A very impressive victory was the victory of Hannu Mikkola and Gunnar Palm in the East African Safari Rally of 1972. Another illustrious victory was the victory of Mikkola and Palm in the Daily Mirror London-Mexico Rally of 1970. The duo drove the Ford Escort 1850 GT in this more than 25.700 kilometer long monster rally to place one. Ford was so impressed that a special Escort was developed to honor the success of 1970: the Ford Escort Mexico.
Twin Cam body, split front bumper
Ford's marketing and racing department (AVO, Advanced Vehicle Operations) worked closely together in the construction of the Escort Mexico, which positioned Ford between the 1300 GT and the Twin-Cam/1600 RS duo. AVO used the body of the Twin-Cam and the still fresh 1600 RS (internal Type 49) for the Escort Mexico. You can recognize these by the larger wheel arches and the wider wheel arch edges on the (front) fenders. Furthermore, the split front bumper was characteristic. AVO also mounted wheels with widened rim flanges on the Escort Mexico. Within the interior, Ford mounted a sporty instrumentation with six meters and a steering wheel with three deep-set spokes.
Striping and decals
The Ford Escort Mexico got its own striping. This became a trademark of this version, which was also popularly called '1600 GT'. The decal type on the front fenders depended on the buyer's choice of whether or not to equip the Mexico with striping. In combination with the stickers, the builder mounted a 1600 GT emblem. If the buyer did not want stickers on the Mexico, the front fenders were given a Mexico emblem. At the request of the buyer, Advanced Vehicle Operations could deviate from this. The Escort Mexico buyer could also choose from additional packages, such as the Custom Pack and the Rallye Pack. In the latter case, you received things such as modified tires and shock absorbers, and bucket seats. Ford (AVO) also made a package of individual options available. In this way, the Mexico could be composed entirely to one's own taste.
1600 Kent engine, appealing performance
In a technical sense, Ford installed the 1600 Kent Crossflow engine (with camshaft mounted in the block). Both the block and the cylinder head were made of cast iron; the intake manifold was aluminum. The fuel supply took place by means of one Weber 32/36 downdraft carburetor. The power was 86 DIN horsepower, and that was completely released at 5500 rpm. The engine was mated to the 2000-E gearbox. The powertrain enabled the 850 kilogram Escort Mexico to reach a top speed of 160 kilometers per hour. A sprint from zero to one hundred took eleven seconds.
Chassis: proven recipe
The front suspension was independent (McPherson). Ford also placed a stabilizer there. The driven rear wheels were held in place by (among others) longitudinally placed semi-elliptic leaf springs. The rear axle was constructed according to the live-axle principle. To curb the Mexico's performance, Ford installed a hydraulically actuated vacuum-assisted braking system with front discs and rear drums.
Highly sought after classic
Ford (or rather: AVO) built the Escort Mexico for four years. The Mexico was good for a production run of 10352 built. Today, the classic is highly sought after. Nowadays more than forty thousand euros is asked for a nice copy. Nevertheless, it is not easy to find an Escort Mexico. Those who succeed in doing so will receive a sporty and dynamic-looking and driving classic, which also has a reputation to uphold in terms of handling. Anyway, the Mexico was a legendary Escort, which, like its sporty brothers, made a major contribution to the youthful image of the Escort Mk1.