Product Type: Ford cars
Newest Review: ... having done 45k miles. I have replaced the head gasket (2007), cat(2011), suspension(2008), compressor (2005) etc, but over all its been a... more
Fast Escorts - MKI & MKII
Ford Escort in general
Member Name: blackbob
Ford Escort in general
Advantages: Classic,quick but trouble free.
Disadvantages: Very few except availabiltiy perhaps
After reading several reviews on dooyoo itself,mainly advice on review writing,it seems several points are constantly being raised.Namely,write about what you know so I thought I'd go back to one of my pet subjects for my latest piece.
The Ford Escort,wow,that could be a massive one to review.These cars have been around since 1967 right up until the late '90's and the marks and models are endless so I think I'd better narrow this down before I make a very large rod for my own back.
Ok,so there are many particular versions I'd love to review,RS1600i,XR3i,RS Turbos to name a few but I think I'll keep this down to the classic MKI and MKII variants.
Even under that heading that's a daunting prospect so being a speed enthusiast I'll self-impose another limit and stick to the 'performance' models.
Why the MKI and MKII then?
Well,this was the first cars that I ever coveted and many like me do aswell,also in this day and age they are considered classic motors and there is still,if not more than ever,a large interest in these cars.
Background and History.
Ford Motor Company of the post war era was a manufacturer that specialised in,what were,cheap,rugged and reliable(and read boring into that)motor cars.They cared very little about this as long as people kept on flooding into their showrooms and bought their products by the million.
By the late fifties,though as people recovered from the post war gloom and started wanting more for their money and more glamour from their motors FMC had to rethink it's strategy.At the same time many of it's main rivals were starting to produce cars that were more and more stylised.Along with this motorsport was having a greater impact on the car buying public.
In 1962 Ford of America implemented a world-wide 'Total Performance' initiative which spawned,in Brtiain,the Lotus Cortina.
To keep up with it's rivals,Ford's Anglia 105E,a nice but convential little car was by the mid 60's looking dated so they designed an all-new small car.This new car was the Ford Escort.
It had an new and very pleasant body style but used much of the Anglia's running gear and engines which may seem to be defeating the purpose of a all-new car but actually meant that it had tried and tested engineering.
The MkI,which came in 3-dr,4-dr and estate bodyshells ran from Jan 1968 to Dec 1974.This was replaced by the more angular and cleaner looking MKII.
Initially the hottest mainstream model was the 1300GT but after that they came thick and fast.
The Cars In Question.
The 'performance' models I'm going to review are:-
MKI - Twin Cam,RS1600,Mexico and RS2000.
MKII - RS1800,RS Mexico,RS2000.
This may still seem to be alot of cars but as so much of these cars are basically the same it should be that bad.
The MKI came with the 1100cc and 1300cc Ohv engines from the Anglia,had 4-speed g/boxes and were pleasant,well handling little cars.Tough and reliable they may not have been revolutionary but were well recieved.
Very soon Ford announced the Twin Cam,which had the same 1600cc engine as the Lotus Cortina.This engine was based on the 1500cc cast-iron block that featured on the base Cortina model.It's main difference was in the cylinder head and camshaft drive.The head was made of aluminium with valves(only 8,despite being a twin)that were operated directly from the cam lobes by inverted bucket tappets and was of a crossflow design.That means that the intake,i.e carburation,was on one side of the engine and the exhaust on the other.It had part-sherical combustion chamber,integrally cast inlet manifold and two side-draught twin weber 40DCOE carbs.
It gave around 105bhp and 108lbft of torque,though that may be optimistic,anyway it made for a car capable of about 113mph.All the same it made for a sweet,free-revving engine and a great debut 'fast escort'.
All TC's,in fact,all 'fast escorts' were based on the 3-dr bodyshell,usually the slightly strenghtened 'Type 49' body shell with flared front wheel arches,although the TC was the only one that ever had the rectangular headlights.Inside there was little difference except the adoption of the 1300GT dash with 6-dials,which meant the inclusion of an ammeter and oil pressure guage.All three featured front quarter bumpers.
In 1970,they replaced it with the RS1600.The only real difference with this car was the engine.
Featuring another twin cam engine but this time the 16-valve Cosworth BDA(Belt Driven - Series A),the Lotus engine had chain driven cams.Once again based on a production Ford engine block,initially the cast iron and taller 1599cc 'kent' rather than the 1499cc of the TC.The head was two-piece and made of aluminium.The first piece being the main head which comprised the main casting,combustion chambers,spark plugs,valves and springs while the second part was the cam carrier.
The main reason for the use of the 1599cc block,which incidentily was often quoted at 1601cc so it could enter competion in the 1600-2000cc class,was for motorsport and because it could be bored out to that size.
With twin side-draught Weber 40DCOE's and a fabricated 4-1 exhaust manifold it produced around 120bhp and 112lbft.
Apart from RS1600 badging,the exterior and interior appointments were similar to the TC.
1970 also saw the launch of the much more basic Mexico,to cash in on Ford's sucsess in the London to Mexico rally it featured a basic 1599cc ohv kent engine in standard form and produced around 86bhp.Complete with bold side stipes it waa a good entry level 'fast escort'.
The last of the fast MKI's was the RS2000 of 1973.Whereas the TC and RS16 were fast but at times tempramental cars and the Mexico lacked the pace of the others,the RS2 had the performance to keep up with these two but was more refined and also featured a basically standard Ford engine,the 1993cc Sohc 'Pinto' engine.With a twin choke Weber carb,instead of a brace of 40's it was easier to maintain.
More nicely appointed than the others with a plush interior it was much more the slick motorway cruiser than the frenzied race-bred machine of the TC,RS16 ilk.
Each car was fitted with a 4-speed,all syncromesh g/box with a slick remote g/change but there was two different types used in the MKI -
The TC/RS16/Mexico used the '2000E' while the RS2 used the later 'Type E'.There are a differences in the ratios also on the 2000E reverse was right and back whereas the Type 9 was to the left and forward.All escorts used the same hypoid bevel rear axle althougfh there were two different final drive ratios - 3.77:1 on the TC/RS16/Mexico
and the more relaxed 3.54:1 on the RS2's.
Brakes,positive if not spectacular were of the disc/drum arrangement with vaccum servo assistance,9.62" front discs and 9 x 1.75" drums.This goes for all Escorts,I's and II's.
The suspension was the same throughout the range being macpherson struts upfront and leaf springs/live rear axle at the rear.
Mostly they came with 5.5" x 13" steel wheels although you could have optional 4-spoke RS style alloys at 6" x 13 inches.
The bodyshape stayed the same throughout the MKI's life although there were some minor changes to the floorpans in 1973,mostly relocation of suspension mountings in line with the forthcoming MKII.
The MKI was replaced in Jan 1975 with the more modern looking MKII.
Performance Figures(other specs).
Model. Power(bhp) Torque(lbft) 0-60 Max Speed
TC 106 @ 6000rpm 107 @ 4500rpm 9.9 113mph
RS1600 120 @ 6500rpm 112 @ 4000rpm 8.9 113mph
Mexico 86 @ 5500rpm 92 @ 4000rpm 10.7 99mph
RS2000 100 @ 5750rpm 108 @ 3500rpm 9.0 108mph
2000E - 1.000,1.397,2.01,2.972 - reverse 3.324:1
TypeE - 1.000,1.37,1.97,3.65, - reverse 3.66:1
Launched in 1975 to replace the MKI,the only real changes were in the styling,revised suspension locations etc but there were some differences in the engines.The whole range was much more product placement orientated though.
The first 'fast escort' was the very rare RS1800 which used a bored out version of the RS1600 Cosworth BDA engine and essentially was a newer version of that car,although the engine block had been replaced by an alloy version(actually this was done in '73 and featured in the last run of RS16's in 1600 form).Some of the first cars had the twin 40's as of the RS16 but most came with a single twin-choke 32/36 DGAV,the power output was compareable to the 1600 version but torqueir.This as I've said was a rare car and only about 108@ were ever made.
January 1976 saw the launch of both the RS Nexico and the RS2000.The RS Mexico was,like the MKI,a 1600cc but instead of the kent engine it had a 1600cc version of the pinto engine and like it's predocessor it was a cheap and straight fowrard mass production fast escort.With bold graphics and a 1300/1600 sport interior it filled the same role as the MKI.
The MKII had a slightly uprated version of the 1998cc pinto as used in the MKI,with a different exhaust manifold it gave a little more power than the MKI or the same engine when used in the Cortina or Capri.
The main thing about the MKII RS2 was the redisigned front end.Whereas all other fast MKII's had the same flat front as the rest of the Escort range the RS2 had a unique polyurethane 'droop snoot' nose with four round headlights.South African and Australian versions stuck with the mass production style flat front set up however.
The later RS2's where well appointed even for the standards of the day with a radio,centre console with clock,extra dials(like the RS Mexico and RS1800) and high back,sumptuous and reclining Recaro front seats.They also had a glovebox unlike the lowly RS Mexico.
All three second generation fords had bold exterior graphics,a lower front spoiler and rubberised boot spoiler,although they weren't extravagently styled like the later hot hatches they weren't exactly shrinking violets either.
The coming of the hot hatches may have over shadowed these later cars,the likes of the VW Golf GTi may have looked more modern at the end of the 70's and took a lot of the RS2000's limelight they aren't any quicker,are no better to drive.In fact,all the rear-drive Escort's were such lovely handling and controlable cars near their limits(although people who have been brought up on safe and predictable FWD cars may find the older RWD Escorts a bit of a handful in the wet)that it's hard to see how a Golf could be as satisfying to drive,having driven many Escorts and a few Golfs I would take an Escort any day.
Running a RWD Escort today.
Having been replaced in 1980 by the 3rd generation MK3 these cars are getting on for 25 years old at least but don't let that put you off.The main problem of course has to be getting hold of one these days as their constant rise in popularity in the last decade has made even fair examples expensive to buy.You can still buy an old one for little money but it won't have been restored and if you don't know your stuff it is easy to buy a pile of junk.
Good ones,especially the ones I've reviewed here go for substantial sums these days,I've seen MKII RS2000's go for a little under £2000 but you can pay much more than that for a real good example.
Parts availability is good and getting better all the time because of the growth of interest in these cars plus there has always been a strong rallying tradition which has kept these cars from disappearing into obscurity.Their rallying sucsess is legendary and this just points to their overall capabilities.
Being in effect a very mainstream type of car in their day you won't find them at all hard to drive or hard to live with,especially the RS Mexico and RS2000 models although the early TC,RS16 and RS1800 models are technically complex compared to normal Ford's and take a lot more looking after and regular attention to their engines to keep them on top form.
Fuel consumption figures are not excessive nor would you find them hard to insure,particularly under classic insurance.
If you want a car that has personality,history,looks good yet isn't a pig to live with then one of these fine cars would be a very good choice.
RS1800 115 @ 6000 120 @ 4000 9sec 111mph
RS Mexico 95 @ 5750 92 @ 4000 10sec 105mph
RS2000 110 @ 5500 119 @ 4000 8.6sc 109mph
As the figures show the MKII's are equally as quick and responsive as their earlier versions.The whole line up was replaced by the FWD Escort in 1980 and although there were some good versions of the MKIII's they never captured the poise,style and sheer fun factor of the RWD MKI's and MKII's
Cheers for reading.BB.
Summary: Stylish and quick classic