's Great British Cars – Ford Escort Mk1

Fri 8th Mar 2019

Great Britain, great cars. The UK motor industry is respected the world over, and though many of the vehicles are actually owned by foreign manufacturers, there can be no doubting of the fantastic heritage of the British motor.

To celebrate Britain’s famous history is launching a series looking back on some of the most famous vehicles the UK has ever seen.

Ford Escort Mk1
Ford’s cars over the years have always proved popular, so when it comes to making a decision to replace a favourite it must always be something of a gamble for the American firm.

Britain had fallen in love with the Ford Anglia during the early 1960s, so it was with trepidation that they set about bringing in the next generation with the the Ford Escort.

The Escort name had been used briefly for a modified version of the Ford Squire in the 1950s, but the Mark 1 Escort we know and love was debuted at the Brussels Motor Show in 1967 a production began in the same year at the famous Halewood plant.

Though history suggests that Ford had built a smaller version of the Cortina with the Escort, the Cortina had actually got bigger as the technology and 1960s progressed, so there was a gap in the market to be filled.

That’s not to say that the Escort was without serious competition, though BMC’s Austin 1100 was the elder statesman towards the close of the decade, there were challengers in the form of Vauxhall’s Viva and the Hillman Avenger. But the Escort’s four-cylinder petrol engine and rear-wheel drive combined perfectly with American inspired-styling, which made the Escort the must-have car for its generation.

The British market could not get enough of the Mk1 Escort, by 1974 Ford announced that the company had produced the two millionth Ford Escort, a landmark not previously matched on any model outside of their homeland.

The success on the forecourts for the Escort was matched on the racetracks of the world, with the car becoming one of the most successful rally cars of all time, with the Ford works team in imperious form towards the end of the 1960s and start of the 1970s. These successes added to the old adage, ‘Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday’.

Years of manufacture: 1967-1975
Price when new:
Price now:
Engine: 1,263cc 4cyl petrol, 75bhp
Top speed: 95mph