1973 Ford Mk1 Escort
1973 Ford Mk1 Escort
Status: Sold at auction to Jason B. of Ft. Collins, CO
Imported: Madrid, Spain
Engine: 2.0L four-cylinder gas
Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
This vehicle is currently being sold on BringaTrailer.com. Click here to jump to the auction. Auction closed February 16th.
2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the Mk1 Escort, and we're pleased to present this 1973 example to celebrate. We tried to think of an interesting angle to take in photographing and exploring this car, and saw an opportunity when our local Ford Dealership had a Focus RS on the lot. Ford has announced that 2018 was the final year for Focus RS production, and we saw some poetic symmetry between this two cars in there. We're the first to admit - it's a tenuous connection at best. Let's start with what they have in common:
· Both manufactured by Ford in Saarlouis, Germany. Or West Germany, depending on how you look at the world.
- Both are powered by screaming four-pot motors
- Both are manual.
- Both are Fords.
- Both are here in Virginia.
- Both have had successful motorsport runs.
That's probably about it.
In contrast, one is a coupe, the other a four-door. One is fed off a massive turbo, while the other drinks from a single Weber carb. One is RWD; the other (newer) example is AWD. And the Focus makes about 3x more power than the Escort; 350hp to about 110hp. If we’re being totally honest, this was equal parts fuel for a story and an excuse to drive a Focus RS.
In terms of context though, these two cars are actually cut from the same cloth. The Mk1 Escort was a family car first, offered in two-door, four-door, and station wagon configurations. The Mk1 was produced for eight years, while the Escort name went on to be produced through 2004. The Focus had similar beginnings in 1998; an affordable compact car to help Ford's competitiveness in markets around the world. Despite their humble beginnings, both found their way into hands of performance engineers at Ford. The Escort came with a wide-array of motors, from a 0.9L four-cylinder up to 1.3L, 1.6L, and 2.0L performance variants produced by the likes of Lotus and Cosworth; common for race-ready cars of the era.
This particular 1973 started life as a 1300 GT with the light, reinforced Type 49 chassis. This configuration was popular for racing or North African markets where the absence of creature comforts and extra structural support helped with unpaved roads and limited mechanical support. The 1300cc engine also helped make the car more affordable compared to tax rates on the bigger RS1600 and RS2000 variants. The GT-variants came with the two-part from bumpers as a weight saving measure.
Our car was sold in Portugal and bound for Angola but was intercepted and remained in the Lisbon area until imported to Spain around 2006, where a restoration began. The build turned the car into an FIA-approved mild Group N-prepared RS2000 tribute, perfect for historic rallies and the occasional coches y cafes.. The Escort is now powered by a 1,987 cc four-cylinder fed through a Weber 45 and aggressive camshafts. The car changed hands, now under the ownership of an aficionado in Madrid, who then then used in historic and competitive rallies throughout Spain between 2007 and 2010. It was last run in the 2016, 40th Anniversary of the Ralley de Aviles. it was replaced with a Ford Sierra RS Cosworth, and it's European racing days came to a close.
The Escort is an interesting beast here in the States. It’s a fun game to ask a Ford enthusiast if they’re interested in checking out a Ford they’ve never seen before. Their incredulous look fades as the chrome-rimmed twin headlights come into view with ‘FORD’ clearly marked on the lip of the hood. Getting in isn’t quite the yoga routine you might think, and the Recaros are comfortable yet confident thrones. I’m 6’-1” and I-wont-say-how-many-pounds and wasn’t in the least bit physically stressed behind the wheel. The fighter-jet style starting setup is a combination of battery cutoffs, fuel cutoffs, and finally that old-school key which fires the motor to life. She’s loud, though you’d expert her to be. What you don’t expect is the fast revving motor, which gives the tach a good workout as the needle tries to keep up with the eager heart of the European monster. Strapping into the buckets with the racing harnesses starts to prepare you for the ride, but your brain needs to feel the grippy Escort blast around a few corners before it starts to click: “This thing was made to move.”
Leckner Ford is located about 1,000 feet from our showroom. Maybe a little more if you stop for coffee. We borrowed the Focus RS for an afternoon to photograph it, and somehow managed to throw about 10 miles on the car in the process of returning it those 1,000 feet. We’re aware of the issues embroiling the RS right now, but after driving one, our opinion is this: Get it fixed, and enjoy the snot out of it. The Focus RS picks up the torch laid down by the Escort and offers a mind-warping amount of power and grip in an absolutely unexpected, use-it-everyday package. Going from the Escort to the Focus was itself a time warp, and one my right foot and reflexes almost weren’t prepared to handle. Many thanks to the team at Leckner for letting us borrow their triple black Focus RS.
Driveline. The Escort is powered by a 1,987cc four-cylinder motor fed through a single Weber 45 carburetor. The motor is mated to a five-speed transmission is geared for quickly moving through fourth, with taller legs in fifth to stretch the car out. The car was built and configured for racing purposes and includes a trunk-mounted fuel cell and battery, solid-mount motor, and rally-prepped suspension configuration.
Exterior. This 1300GT benefits from an RS2000-inspired build, clad with the RS’ fender arches and white-and-blue livery. Under the wide fenders lie a set of 15” Minilite wheels clad in 185/60/13 tires. Paint and body are in overall excellent condition considering the racing pedigree of the car. Paint shines and graphics are unblemished. Chrome around headlights and on bumpers shows no signs of oxidization. Car currently wears vintage Lucas European headlights. Hood is secured with both the body latch and hood pins, while the trunk lid benefits from spring-loaded catches as well.
Interior. Configured for racing, the interior features two Recaro buckets and a minimal backseat. Five-point Sabelt harnesses keep the driver and passenger secured to the compartment. Car does not have a roll cage or roll bars. Door cards are present, door latches and window roll-downs (manual) are intact and functional. The map-light arching across the passenger’s legs works, while the array of switches wrapped in carbon fiber across the center console are responsible for fuel pumps, lights, and other auxiliary components. The interior is otherwise spartan, with this 1300GT starting life as a very basic model, lending itself well for a racing conversion.
Interested? Contact Us for more information.