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In no time whatsoever, the Escort quickly became the UK's national best selling car of the s. In , Ford proudly announced that they had manufactured two million Escorts, just six years into the cars first introduction. The conventional Escort was made with rear-wheel drive and either a three-speed automatic gearbox or a four-speed manual gearbox.
Three body types were manufactured throughout the Escorts history, the first being the 2-door saloon, second being the 3-door Estate and then came the 2-door van. High performance versions of the Escort were designed to compete in rallies and racing throughout the UK and Europe.
The Ford Escort Twin Cam was produced at the Halewood plant and was designed to race in Group 2 international rallying. This version was equipped with an eight-valve twin camshaft head made by Lotus which was fitted to a 1. This had a larger bore which gave the Twin Cam a capacity of 1,cc. The same engine was originally made for the Lotus Elan.
Eventually, the Twin Cam was phased out and replaced with the notorious RS versions. The Mk1 Ford Escort quickly became one of the most successful rally cars of all time. The masterpiece of human engineering made Ford virtually unbeatable in the late s and early s. This special edition came equipped with the iconic styling pack as well as a cc engine.
However, other versions of the Mexico were produced with different engine sizes and specs. For all your classic car insurance needs, try out our comparison site! The information you supply will be used for processing your quotation.
Take care to answer all questions accurately and to the best of your knowledge, otherwise the insurance you arrange could be invalid or any claim may be rejected or not fully paid. Already had a quote? Rear suspension still sat on leaf springs though some contemporaries such as the Hillman Avenger had moved on to coil springs. The car came in for criticism for its lack of oddments space, with a glove compartment only available on higher end models, and its stalk-mounted horn.
Panel-van versions catered to the commercial sector. A cosmetic update was given in note that Australia received differing updates - see below , with L models gaining the square headlights previously exclusive to the GL and Ghia variants and there was an upgrade in interior and exterior specification for some models. Underneath a wider front track was given. Unusual fitments for the range not offered elsewhere on the Australian Escort included 'dog-dish' steel hubcaps, and high-backed front seats.
The initial powerplants utilized in the Australian Escorts were Ford's 1. Codenamed internally by Ford Australia as "BC", the Australian Escort range's bodies were modified to fit the larger engine and a redesigned fuel-tank, which involved the placement of the fuel filler being behind the rear numberplate.
In , Ford Australia standardised the use of the blue oval logo across the Escort model range. These Escort models are identified by the familiar blue Ford oval in the centre of the grille and on the right of the bootlid. It also revamped the image of its 'leisure range' by introducing the Escort Sundowner panel van, positioning it as a youth-orientated lifestyle vehicle complete with bold body decorations and domed side windows, available in 1.
In , Ford Australia gave the Escort an update, increasing basic equipment levels and standardising square headlights on L and GL models previously only available on Escort Ghia. These RS cars certainly looked the part, but were actually powered by the same 2. A total of 2, Australian RS cars were made. While offered in many model forms, the Escort, like the Cortina , was not popular on the Australian market, largely due to expanding competition from Japanese imports and the established preference of Australian drivers for larger six-cylinder vehicles.
Unlike the Australian models, the New Zealand Escort range followed the specifications of the British models, aside from the use of metric instrumentation. All bodystyles were assembled, including the estate — previously in Mk I guise a built-up import from the United Kingdom. A large choice of models were available in the NZ Escort range, consisting of 1. A three-speed automatic transmission was available as an option for most 1.
Unlike Australia, the Escort and Cortina ranges sold well and often topped the car monthly sales lists. An update was given for the range for , which notably involved the addition of the Ghia model, the adoption of the GL's square headlights on the lower end models, Ford blue oval badging, and sport wheels on the L and GL.
For , all Ghia models gained standard alloy wheels. The production of British-sourced and New Zealand-assembled Escorts ended in late Ford dealers offered large price reductions to shift their remaining Mk II Escort stock when the model was replaced in New Zealand by the Ford Laser in May , which was a badge engineered Mazda , available in sedan and hatchback forms.
The Escort was a best-seller in the Israeli market, its best year being , when a total of 3, units were assembled. The line-up included 1. Most were of the four-door variety, and only were built as a 2-door 1.
Assembly ended after 12, units, in April No Ford passenger car was since then assembled in Israel. Aside from colour-coded hubcaps, most of the equipment differences were only on the inside with the GL being considerably better equipped. The South African Escort received the 1. As with its predecessor, the Mark II had a successful rallying career. A "Sport" model was also produced using the 1.
The works rally cars were highly specialised machines. The big innovation was the development of a silicon-fluid coupled central differential creating an auto-torque vectoring All Wheel Drive system vs. Tim Howard of Ford Dagenham led this development. The basic concept still propels most AWD vehicles today. Bodyshells were heavily strengthened and characterised by the wide wheelarch extensions, and fitment of four large spotlights for night stages. The Cosworth BDE engine was replaced with 2.
It was complemented by a strengthened transmission, five-speed straight-cut ZF gearbox, five-linked suspension and more minor modifications. The Mark II Escort continued its predecessor's run on the RAC Rally , winning every year from to and racing in a variety of other events around the world. Vatanen won the drivers' title in , again at the wheel of an RS This victory came despite the arrival on the WRC scene of the venerable four-wheel drive Audi Quattro.
Ford placed in the top three in the manufacturers' championship for the sixth year in a row. Codenamed "Erika", the third generation Escort was launched in September The car, Ford Europe's second front-wheel drive model, was originally meant to be called the "Ford Erika", but ended up retaining the Escort name. Some say this was due to British consumers reluctance to let go of the "Escort" badge as the first two generations of Escort had been among Britain's most popular cars, with the Mk II being Britain's best selling car in , and some say that the Germans were concerned with the song Erika , which was a famous battlemarch of the German armed forces during World War II.
Sales in the United Kingdom increased, and by it had overtaken the ageing Cortina as the nation's best-selling car, beginning an eight-year run as Britain's best selling car. Unlike the Mark II, which had essentially been a reskin of the original platform, the Mark III  was a completely new "wheels-up" design, and was conceived as a hi-tech, high-efficiency vehicle which would compete with the Volkswagen Golf and Honda Civic — considered at the time the class benchmarks, and indeed the car was launched with the advertising tagline " Simple is Efficient ".
The Mark III was a departure from the two previous models, the biggest changes being the adoption of front-wheel drive , and the new hatchback body.
It was Ford Europe's second front-wheel drive model launch, the first being the smaller Fiesta in , while the hatchback bodystyle had debuted in the company's range in on the second generation Capri.
The car used Ford's contemporary design language of the period with the black louvred radiator grille and straked rear lamp clusters, as well as introducing the aerodynamic "bustle-back" bootlid stump trademarked by Ford as Aeroback which would be further developed in the forthcoming Sierra and Scorpio ; the stump was proven to reduce the car's aerodynamic drag co-efficient significantly, which was a class leading 0.
Also new were the overhead camshaft CVH engines in 1. The suspension was fully independent all around, departing from the archaic leaf spring arrangement found on its predecessors. From mid, a five-speed manual gearbox was introduced across the range. This was now standard on the 1. A selection of features was available, either as standard fitment or optional extras depending on model, including a tilt-and-slide sunroof , central locking , and electric windows.
All models except for base and L were fitted with a check-light system for low fuel, low oil, low coolant, low screenwash, and worn out brake pads. For the model year, the Ford ATX three-speed automatic transmission developed primarily for the US version was available on the 1. However, the car attracted criticism from the motoring press at launch due to its suspension, with positive camber on the front wheels and negative camber at the rear, giving rise to the Mark III's infamous "knock-kneed" stance.
The Mark III soon had a reputation for a harsh, unforgiving ride. In the revised suspension mounts from the Escort-based Orion and the larger Sierra steering rack were introduced as running changes for the model year which also coincided with a minor update for it including a new Escort badge at the rear.
Another engine, introduced in August , was the 1. It was available on the L and GL models. The Escort estate was initially only available with three doors, but a five-door version was introduced in In that year, a saloon version of the Escort, the Orion , was launched. It used the same mechanicals as the hatchback, but had a more upmarket image and was not available with the smaller 1.
It was also directed at buyers of the earlier Cortina , which had ceased production in , with its Sierra successor not available as a saloon at the time. The Mk III model — , was the most common type of car on British roads in December , with almost 1,, examples registered. A convertible version, made by coachbuilder Karmann appeared the same year as the five-door estate It was the first drop-top car produced by Ford Europe since the Corsair of the s.
The Escort Cabriolet was initially available in both XR3i and Ghia specification, but the Ghia variant was later dropped. Initially this featured a tuned version of the 1.
It lacked a five-speed transmission and fuel injection. Also a prototype with a 2. Persistent problems during the vehicle's development prompted Ford to drop plans for its production and instead begin work on an all-wheel-drive model to beat the Audi Quattro , designed and built from scratch, resulting in the famous RS The two-door Escort Van arrived in the marketplace in February , a slightly delayed introduction caused by large remaining stocks of the Mark II Escort Van.
The Escort entered production in Brazil in July Both sizes were also available in alcohol-fuelled versions with marginally more power. The car had a bad reputation in Scandinavia, with severe rust problems and issues with the wet liners of the Renault-designed engine.
In Brazil there was also a more powerful version called the XR-3, only available to run on alcohol. The Verona has bodywork which is completely different from that of the Orion. The Escort was also available in South Africa, as hatchback only, from March , with the 1. The South African Escorts differ only slightly from European ones, as a result of local parts content regulations. The fourth version of the Ford Escort was launched in March , with only a small number of changes.
Codenamed within Ford as "Erika—86", it was instantly recognisable as an updated version of the previous model, with a smooth style nose and the "straked" rear lamp clusters smoothed over, internally the car had a revised dashboard and other smaller changes.
However, the check-light system for low fuel, low oil, low coolant, low screenwash, and worn out brake pads was no longer fitted to any model. Air conditioning was not available on cars sold in Europe although it was an option on cars sold in Argentina and Brazil. All-new competitors from Fiat and Renault were just two years away. As well as an all-new interior, a new 1. In , the diesel engine was enlarged to 1.
For the same year, a Ford developed electronic fuel injection system replaced the Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system in the XR3i and Orion Ghia injection models, and a central point fuel injection system replaced the carburettor on models with the 1. Carried over from the previous range was the 3-speed automatic which was ultimately replaced late in the production run with a variant of the CTX stepless gearbox as first used in the Fiesta a couple of years earlier.
A luxurious Orion E with leather seats, fuel injection, alloy wheels, and a Ghia trim was produced during and A total of 1, were made, with 1, of these having leather trim. The Orion range was also broadened to include a more basic "L" trim for the first time. A minor update occurred in Spring where the Escort badge at the rear changed to look more modern as well as some minor trim revisions in order to maintain interest in the car until the MKV arrived the following year.
Escorts for European markets continued to be assembled at Halewood , near Liverpool , and at the West German factory of Saarlouis. Sales were strong through the decade, and during the later s Escort production also commenced at the Ford plant originally established for Fiesta production in Valencia. European production finished in , although stocks of the model, especially the XR3i and RS Turbo variants continued into and finished in For the Brazilian Escorts, the 1.
All Escorts made after were fuel-injected , excepting the Hobby models. Additionally, the Mark IV  model was made until on all versions, except the Hobby which was made until In , the Escort Hobby trim was introduced in Brazil, using a 1. This was a small-bore version derived from the CHT 1. This engine was unique to Brazil, whereas the 1. Brazil has a special tax break for cars with engines of less than one litre, making this a closely contested segment. There were no trims with a high-power engine in Brazil.
The on-board computer was not available in Brazil. This model however was poorly received by the motoring press, and was panned by journalists for its mediocre driving dynamics and unremarkable styling. The engines which had been carried over from the previous generation largely unmodified were also heavily criticised for their poor refinement. In early , an all new Zetec valve engine was launched bringing improved driveability, while also marking the return of the XR3i which was available with two versions of the 1.
Specifications, however, were also higher than before. The Escort was now available with items such as power steering , electric windows , central locking , electronic antilock brakes , and air conditioning. Some of these options were even available on some of the entry-level models. Early saw the launch of the Escort RS Cosworth. Intended to replace the Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth which finished production shortly afterwards as Ford's stalwart rally challenger as well as a competitor to supercars with private buyers, it used the turbocharged 2.
As well as having four-wheel drive , its most memorable feature was its extremely large "whale-tail" tailgate spoiler. The 2, road-going examples sold required for homologation purposes were made, but demand for the car was so high that Ford kept producing them. Later models up have a smaller turbo than the homologation versions and came with the whale-tail spoiler as an option.
The Escort Cosworth ceased production in , but it has already achieved classic status and has a huge following.