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Mk1 Ford Escorts - share the love


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I hate to play devil's advocate here but low powered, standard RWD Escorts aren't much fun to drive. 

Rattly crossflow engines, not very powerful, bouncy rear suspension and drum brakes that always seem to pull to one side. I'll admit that they've got a nice gearchange but as standard a Chevette or Sunbeam did handle better. 

Having said that, a well sorted, sporty RWD Escort is a hoot to drive. Sadly, my Mk2 4 door fitted with a RS2000 nose cone and 2.3 Cologne lump was a total death trap.

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1300E.  Same as my first car 1986, as mentioned several pages back, but I had a rather tatty Mk1 RS 3-spoke steering wheel, same style as Mk3 Capri S.  Lowback black cloth seats with no headrests, bonnet catch broken but ok if you pull it with pliers, choke disconnected cos 38DGAS Weber on a hot 1600GT.

Lumpy brumpy tickover because cam. 

'No officer it's not been modified with a Weber carb, the 1300E was GT spec from factory with a Weber twin-choke.  My girlfriend's tights  tie-wrapped on and used as an airfilter is because the original airfilter was broken and dangerous should it fall off'.

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8 hours ago, warren t claim said:

I hate to play devil's advocate here but low powered, standard RWD Escorts aren't much fun to drive. 

Rattly crossflow engines, not very powerful, bouncy rear suspension and drum brakes that always seem to pull to one side. I'll admit that they've got a nice gearchange but as standard a Chevette or Sunbeam did handle better. 

Having said that, a well sorted, sporty RWD Escort is a hoot to drive. Sadly, my Mk2 4 door fitted with a RS2000 nose cone and 2.3 Cologne lump was a total death trap.

That is your opinion - fair enough.

Mine is that to an 18 year old me, even with a knackered but still very willing 1300, every journey made in the wet made you feel like a power sliding rally king with the 155 tyres.  This is why I remember them fondly.

Obviously this is a very specific reason that on public roads would only appeal to a knobend that was me at the time and I dare say you were more sensible when you last drove one than I was then (I remember being caught out on a roundabout in Maidenhead one rush hour when it suddenly stepped out literally 90 degrees to the direction of travel, I only just caught the backend, somehow managed to correct it and indicate / exit as intended before I had to pull over and take a breather due to the shock!) - Reading this now I daresay you’re probably right, but I remember my 100 quid 1300XL Tawny Metallic Bronze with struts that tried to make a bid for freedom through the bonnet at every turn as a bloody fun car to drive.

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14 hours ago, warren t claim said:

Having said that, a well sorted, sporty RWD Escort is a hoot to drive. Sadly, my Mk2 4 door fitted with a RS2000 nose cone and 2.3 Cologne lump was a total death trap.

Why on earth would someone fit a 2.3 Cologne to an Escort?  I can sort of understand fitting a 3.0 Essex or 2.8 Cologne, but a 2.3??? 

It would have been quicker and better handling with a very mild 1.6 xflow ffs! 

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21 hours ago, JeeExEll said:

Fantastic.  Interesting car history.  Any more pics?  If you don't want to put Mk2s in this thread then you could put them in the general pics thread.  Period street pics of folk's cars are ace.

Ok, here are a few. 

1st was my concours winning Mk2 RS2000 Custom, MTU11T. I had that in 92. It then went to Ireland, then returned to the UK and last I heard of it it was being restored somewhere near Wakefield about a decade ago.

The yellow Mk1 I had in 1988. That had a 1600 GT engine. I paid £60 for it, don't know what happened to that. 

The Q plate one I bought in 1989 for £800. It had been used in a bank job in Preston and then hidden away somewhere. By the time Dibble found it the insurance had paid out so for some mad reason it ended up on a Q. I bought it from a notorious Liverpool gangster who turned out to actually be a nice enough fella. It had a fairly handy 2.0 with twin Dellorto 45s. Went well. I did a straight swap for the Mexico with the Fiat TC I posted earlier in this thread. 

The Orange RS2000 Custom was originally SKY345S but I had bought it for bits for the green one after the green one was stolen from a bodyshop on the Wirral. SKY plate went on my Mk5 RS2000, the orange car (which needed the inner wings doing) was reregistered as PKD something S.

The Java Green RS2000 is still going. It has just had an extensive restoration and was in the front cover of Fast Ford not long ago. I'm in touch with the current owner. He has done a lovely job of restoring it. 

OJP771R was originally a drum braked 1.1 I bought around 1988 for £100. That ended up with disc brakes and a 1.6. It was terminally rotten but I thrashed it around North Wales for months while slowly welding it up. 

The red 1300 Sport in the final two pictures was one I bought in Germany in 2009. It had sat in a barn for 22 years and then been left outside for a while. Amazingly, with a battery and a bit of fuel chucked down the carb it started first go and idled like it had just been switched off 5 minutes earlier. That was then dragged to the Czech Republic where it was occasionally worked on until it was solid and safe to drive to the UK. I drove it here, MOTd it and registered it on 1/8/14 (I liked the idea of a 1st Aug registration) and sold it a couple of weeks later to a chap who drove it to Monaco, where it now lives. Funny really, that 1300 Sport had one of the shortest axle ratios available, so after sitting still for decades, being driven 1000 miles across Europe to the UK at 5000 rpm (about 80 mph) then to Monaco must have been a wake up call for the thing. I've got thousands of pictures of that thing being rebuilt. 

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16 hours ago, warren t claim said:

Assuming that it's the same RS1800 that was exported to NZ I'm thinking of then it didn't end well for it. I believe it was stolen and stripped in mysterious circumstances.

I drove it at Ian Harwood's in Ellesmere Port around 1991 I think. With it being on the Welsh side of the Mersey it probably is the one you're thinking of. 

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1 hour ago, Vince70 said:

This was my second 1300gt back in the mid 80s 

Why oh why did I drive it through the Halfords tat tree.

I think in total I must of had about 7 or 8 of the MK1s and 2s and my favourite was a droop snoot RS2000.

 

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That's fantastic. Is it a really late mk1 on a P plate? One thing I've never been that clued up on with Mk1s is when/which models the oval lights were fitted to. A distant memory suggests certain models during the last 2-3 years of production?

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I've looked for a picture of my solitary Escort Mk1. No go so far.

Bought in 1992 or 3 from the standard little old lady about 3 miles from me. Absolutely solid, only rot was both edges of the front wings by the headlamp surrounds- caught on the garage repeatedly 

Real blast from the past for me then, bearing in mind my first 5 cars were Cortinas and a Corsair 

1.3L, green metallic paint, drums all round. About 70k on it iirc. 12' sodding wheels. Made it very busy past 65-70. Still for the original steel fan as well. 

Once I'd sorted the wheel cylinders on the front it wasn't too bad. Shame.

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1969 Mk1 photo in the John Powell selection that I purchased:

1969 Ford Escort 1300 Super UHW 294H, 1992

The photo was taken a bit later than it looks, 1992 according to the caption. Looks like a decent example given that it was 23 years old at the time of the photo, but last time I checked it'd been untaxed since 2002.

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5 minutes ago, Dick Longbridge said:

That's fantastic. Is it a really late mk1 on a P plate? One thing I've never been that clued up on with Mk1s is when/which models the oval lights were fitted to. A distant memory suggests certain models during the last 2-3 years of production?

It was on certain models I think as I had the square headlights on my 1967 GT and on that one which was a 1971 1300Gt on a K plate.

I think the super deluxe and the GT plus 1300E got the square headlights and I’m mot sure but maybe the twin cam.

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Here's dad's Mk1 RS2000 as previously mentioned. I don't have a pic of his Mexico as the photo album is at their place, I'll try and dig it out next time I'm there, must scan that album in one day. 

What a gorgeous machine. He sold it around 1985, it lasted until 1991 when it sadly caught fire while having the floors welded, dad got a letter from the next owner telling him what had happened. Doesn't have a scrapped marker on it, but hasn't surfaced since 91 so assume it's long gone by now 😢 Shame really, could probably have still been around today otherwise, as the following owner was clearly putting the effort in. 

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As a change from the sporty and modified cars, it's 18th January 1968 and the introduction of the new Ford Escort 1100 Super.

53 years ago !

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With a 4.11 diff and 12 inch wheels it did 25mpg at 70mph. 

Overall mpg, 27.6, for a 49.5bhp car.  1100 estates and vans were probably worse as they had a 4.44 diff ratio.  The 1100 engine really did have to work hard.

Inflation multiplier 1968 to 2020 is around 17.5.

Thanks to Trigger for original scan.

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On 2/21/2021 at 2:53 PM, Pete-M said:

I drove it at Ian Harwood's in Ellesmere Port around 1991 I think. With it being on the Welsh side of the Mersey it probably is the one you're thinking of. 

Whatever happened to Ian Harwood? He was to RWD Escorts what Skip Brown was to Sunbeams?

Almost every local lad wouldn't consider their RWD Escort worthy of public viewing without a red Ian Harwood sticker in the rear window back in the late 80s.

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28 minutes ago, warren t claim said:

Whatever happened to Ian Harwood? He was to RWD Escorts what Skip Brown was to Sunbeams?

Almost every local lad wouldn't consider their RWD Escort worthy of public viewing without a red Ian Harwood sticker in the rear window back in the late 80s.

He retired and sold his stock to Graham in Widnes who comically trades under "GS Escorts".

I imagine that has caused a few raised eyebrows with wives who've seen credit card statements. 

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4 minutes ago, Pete-M said:

He retired and sold his stock to Graham in Widnes who comically trades under "GS Escorts".

I imagine that has caused a few raised eyebrows with wives who've seen credit card statements. 

Hes a sound bloke and good to deal with,  his stock was seriously reduced in that massive fire he had last year.

Wasn't until this minute that I realised that about the buisness name 😁 never noticed it before 

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1 minute ago, garbaldy said:

Hes a sound bloke and good to deal with,  his stock was seroiusly reduced in that massive fire he had last year 

I don't know about the fire. 

That's a shame, I got rear 1/4 trim cards, rear lights and front struts for my 1300 Sport from Graham.  Decent enough prices as well. 

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