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Ford Escort Mark 1 Mexico

The Ford Escort is a small family car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company's European division between 1968 and 2003. The Escort name was also applied to several different designs in North America over the years.

The first use of the Escort name was for a reduced specification version of the Ford Squire, a 1950s estate car version of the Ford Anglia 100E, though this did not sell very well by comparison to the other members of the 100E family.

Ford Escort Mark I (1968–1974)

The Mark I Ford Escort was introduced in the United Kingdom at the end of 1967, making its show debut at Brussels Motor Show in January 1968. It replaced the successful long running Anglia. The car was presented in continental Europe as a product of Ford's European operation. Escort production commenced at Halewood in England during the closing months of 1967, and for left hand drive markets during the autumn/fall of 1968 at the Ford plant in Genk. Initially the continental Escorts differed slightly from the UK built ones under the skin. The front suspension and steering gear were differently configured and the brakes were fitted with dual hydraulic circuits; also the wheels fitted on the Genk-built Escorts had wider rims. At the beginning of 1970, continental European production transferred to a new plant on the edge of Saarlouis, West Germany.

The Escort was a commercial success in many parts of western Europe, but nowhere more than in the UK, where the national best seller of the 1960s, BMC's Austin/Morris 1100 was beginning to show its age while Ford's own Cortina had grown, both in dimension and in price, beyond the market niche at which it had originally been pitched. In June 1974, six years into the car's UK introduction,

Carconvention2014

Ford Escort MK1, MK2, MK3

For announced the completion of the two millionth Ford Escort, a milestone hitherto unmatched by any Ford model outside the USA. It was also stated that 60% of the two million Escorts had been built in Britain.

The Escort had conventional rear-wheel drive and a four-speed manual gearbox, or 3-speed automatic transmission. The suspension consisted of a simple live axle mounted on leaf springs, but with rack-and-pinion steering. The Mark I featured contemporary styling cues in tune with its time: a subtle Detroit-inspired "Coke bottle" waistline and the "dogbone" shaped front grille — arguably the car's most famous stylistic feature. Similar styling featured in the larger Cortina Mark III (also built in West Germany as the Taunus) that was launched in 1970.

Initially, the Escort was sold as a 2-door saloon (with circular front headlights and rubber flooring) on the "De Luxe" model. The "Super" model featured rectangular headlamps, carpets, a cigar lighter and a water temperature gauge. A 3-door estate was introduced at the end of March 1968 which, with the back seat folded down, provided an impressive 40% increase in maximum load space over the old Anglia 105E estate, according to the manufacturer. The estate featured the same engine options as the saloon, but it also included a larger, 7½-inch-diameter (190 mm) clutch, stiffer rear springs and in most configurations slightly larger brake drums or discs than the saloon. A panel van appeared in April 1968 and the 4-door saloon (a bodystyle the Anglia was never available in) in 1969.

Underneath the bonnet was the Kent Crossflow engine which did find its way into the North American cousin Ford Pinto. Diesel engines on small family cars were very rare, and the Escort was no exception, initially featuring only petrol engines — in 1.1 L, and 1.3 L versions. A 940 cc engine was also available in some export markets, but few were ever sold.

There was a 1300GT performance version, with a tuned 1.3 L Kent (OHV) engine sporting a Weber carburetor and uprated suspension. This version also featured additional instrumentation with a tachometer, battery charge indicator and oil pressure gauge. The same tuned 1.3 L engine was also used in a variation sold as the Escort Sport, that used the flared front wings from the AVO range of cars, but featured trim from the more basic models. Later on a further "executive" version of the Escort was produced known as the 1300E. This featured the same 13" road wheels and flared wings of the Sport, but was trimmed in an upmarket, for that time, fashion with wood trim on the dashboard and door cappings.

There was, in the early days of the Escort, a higher performance version for rallies and racing — the Escort Twin Cam,( built for Group 2 international rallying) which featured an engine with a Lotus-made eight-valve twin camshaft head fitted to the 1.5 L non-crossflow block, which had a bigger bore than usual to give a capacity of 1,558 cc. This engine had originally been developed for the Lotus Cortina. Production of the Twin Cam, which was originally produced at Halewood, was phased out as the RS1600 was developed.

The Mark I Escorts became very successful as a rally car, and they eventually went on to become one of the most successful rally cars of all time. The Ford works team was practically unbeatable in the late 1960s / early 1970s, and arguably the Escort's greatest victory was in the 1970 London to Mexico World Cup Rally being driven by Finnish legend Hannu Mikkola. This gave rise to the famous Escort Mexico (1.6 L "Kent"-engined) special edition road versions in honour of the rally car.

In addition to the Mexico, the RS1600 was developed which used a Kent engine block with a 16-valve Cosworth cylinder head. This engine was essentially a detuned Formula 3 engine designated BDA, for Belt Drive A Series. Both the Mexico and RS1600 were built at Ford's Advanced Vehicle Operations (AVO) facility located at the Aveley Plant in South Essex. As well as higher performance engines and sports suspension, these models featured strengthened bodyshells, making them an ideal model for rallying. Even today Mark I Escorts are still popular in the amateur rally scene. The BDA engine has a distinctive growling which can be heard for quite a distance when the vehicle is being driven hard, such as in competition.

Ford also produced an RS2000 model as a more "civilised" alternative to the somewhat temperamental RS1600, featuring a 2.0 L Pinto (OHC) engine. This also clocked up some rally and racing victories; and pre-empted the hot hatch market as a desirable but affordable performance road car. Like the Mexico and RS1600, this car was produced at the Aveley plant.

The Escort quickly became one of Britain's most popular cars, comfortably outselling the conceptually similar Vauxhall Viva HB launched two years earlier. It was also a success on export markets, though in the larger European markets it tended to be outsold by the Opel Kadett, its General Motors rival. The car was built in Germany, Britain and in Commonwealth countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

Australia

The Mk I was produced by Ford Australia from 1970 to 1975 as a 2- or 4-door saloon and as a 2-door panel van. 1,100 cc and 1,300 cc engines were offered, as was the 1,558 cc twin cam unit, the last being offered only in the Escort Twin Cam model, which was renamed to Escort GT 1600 in late 1971. 67,146 examples of the Mk I were built in Australia, with local sourcing bringing the Australian content of the vehicles to 85%.

Israel

Assembly of the Mk I Escort was undertaken by Automotive Industries in Upper Nazareth, in conjunction with the local distributor, Palestine Automotive Corp. Assembly from UK-sourced kits started in April 1968. The very last Mk I, a light green 1100cc 2-door, was released on November 14, 1975. A total of 14,905 units was assembled in Israel, including 105 Escort 400 Vans.

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Ford Escort Mark II (1975–1980)

Escort

Ford Escort Mark II

The squarer-styled Mark II version appeared in January 1975. The first production models had rolled off the production lines on 2 December 1974.

Unlike the first Escort (which was developed by Ford of Britain), the second generation was developed jointly between the UK and Ford of Germany. Codenamed "Brenda" during its development, it used the same mechanicals as the Mark I. The 950 cc engine was still offered in Italy where the smaller engine attracted tax advantages, but in the other larger European markets in Europe it was unavailable. The estate and van versions used the same panelwork as the Mark I, but with the Mark II front end and interior. The car used a revised underbody, which had in fact been introduced as a running change during the last six months of the life of the Mark I.

This car made a point, with just four body styles, of competing in many different market niches where rival manufacturers had either multiple model ranges or simply none at all. "L" and "GL" models (2-door, 4-door, estate) were in the mainstream private sector, the "Sport", "RSMexico", and "RS2000" in the performance market, the "Ghia" (2-door, 4-door) for an untapped small car luxury market, and "base / Popular" models for the bottom end. Panel-van versions catered to the commercial sector.

During the second half of the 1970s, the Escort continued to prove hugely popular with buyers in Britain and other parts of Europe.

A cosmetic update was given in 1978, 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.

In 1979 and 1980 three special edition Escorts were launched the Linnet, Harrier and Goldcrest.

Production, after an incredibly popular model run, ended in Britain in August 1980, other countries following soon after.

Rallying

As with its predecessor, the Mark II had a successful rallying career. All models of the Mark I were carried over to the Mark II, though the Mexico gained the RS badge and had its engine changed to a 1.6 L OHC Pinto instead of the OHV, it had a short production span as customers either bought the much cheaper "sport" or the much more exotic "RS 2000" (although the RSMexico was essentially an RS2000 without the 'droopsnoot'). A "Sport" model was also produced using the 1.6 L Kent. Also a new and potent model was released, the RS1800, which had an 1800 cc version of the BDA engine. It was essentially a special created for rallying, and surviving road versions are very rare and collectible today. There has been a long standing debate regarding how the RS1800 was homologated for international motorsport, as Ford are rumoured to have built only fifty or so road cars out of the four hundred required for homologation.

The works rally cars were highly specialised machines. Bodyshells were heavily strengthened. They were characterised by the wide wheelarch extensions (pictured right), and often by the fitment of four large spotlights for night stages. The BDA engine was bored to 2.0 L and gave up to 270 bhp (201 kW; 274 PS) by 1979. It was complemented by a strengthened transmission, five-speed straight-cut ZF gearbox, five-linked suspension and a host of more minor modifications. In this form, the Escort was perhaps not the most sophisticated of the rear-drive saloon cars that dominated rallying in the late 1970s, but it was reliable and powerful, and good enough to win.

The late 1970s were a very successful period in rallying for Ford. The Mark II Escort continued its predecessor's unbeaten run on the RAC Rally, winning every year from 1975 to 1979 and winning a variety of other events around the world as well. In the 1979 season of the World Rally Championship, Björn Waldegård took the drivers' title, Hannu Mikkola was runner-up and Ari Vatanen finished the year in fifth place, all driving Escort RS1800s.

These drivers' successes throughout the year gave Ford the manufacturers' title, the only time the company had achieved this until the 2006 season, when Marcus Grönholm and Mikko Hirvonen won title for Ford in Ford Focus RS WRC 06. Vatanen won the drivers' title in 1981, again at the wheel of an RS1800. 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.

The 1.6 L (1598 cc/97 CID) engine in the 1975 1.6 Ghia produced 84 hp (63 kW) with 125 N·m (92 ft·lbf) torque and weighed 955 kg (2105 lb). For rally use, this can be compared to the 1974 Toyota Corolla which output 75 hp (56 kW) and weighed 948 kg (2090 lb).

The 2.0 L RS2000 version, with its distinctively slanted polyurethane nose, and featuring the Pinto engine from the Cortina, was announced in the UK in March 1975 and introduced in Germany in August 1975, being reportedly produced in both countries. It provided a claimed 110 bhp and a top speed of 110 mph (177 km/h). For acceleration to 100 km/h (62.5 mph) a time of just 8.9 seconds was claimed by the manufacturers. The 2.0 L engine was also easily retro-fitted into the Mark I, and this became a popular modification, along with the Ford Sierra's five-speed gearbox, for rallying and other sports, especially given the Pinto's tunability.

Oceania

 

Australia

The Mk2 Escort was assembled at Ford Australia's Homebush Plant, Sydney from 1975 to 1980 in 2-door and 4-door sedan, and 2-door panel van forms - the estate versions being unavailable to the Australian market.

The sedan models were available in L, XL (later renamed GL) and Ghia forms, and a Sport pack option - similar to the 1300 and 1600 Sport models sold elsewhere. Unlike other markets - likely due to the estate's absence - the van could also be offered in a higher level of trim - a GL, and a Sport pack van could be offered. Unusual fitaments 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 1.3 L and 1.6 L OHV Kent units, offered with either 4-speed manual or 3-speed automatic transmissions. In 1977, to cope with Australian emission laws, in particular ADR27A, the 1.3L models were dropped and the Ford Cortina's 2.0L OHC Pinto engine (in a lower tune to European units) was introduced to the Escort range, available as an option to nearly all models. 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 1978, Ford Australia revamped the image of its 'leisure range' Escort Sundowner panel van, obviously positioning it as a youth-orientated lifestyle vehicle complete with bold body decorations and domed side windows, available in 1.6L and 2.0L forms. In 1979, chasing both youth and performance, Ford Australia introduced their take on the RS2000, which - complete with its slant-nose - was available in both 2-door and – unique to Australia – 4-door forms in a choice of five solid paint colours. These RS cars certainly looked the part, but were actually powered by the same 2.0-litre engine from the rest of the local Escort range, and available with a choice of manual or automatic transmission. A total of 2,400 Australian RS2000 cars were made.

Overall, whilst offered in many model forms, the Escort, like the Cortina was never hugely popular on the Australian market, largely due to expanding competition from Japanese imports and also the established preference of Australian drivers for larger six-cylinder vehicles.

Australian Escort production ceased in late 1980, the range being replaced by FWD derivatives of the Mazda 323/Familia, namely the Ford Laser 2dr and 4dr hatchback and the Meteor 4dr sedan.

New Zealand

The Mk2 Escort was introduced to New Zealand in early 1975, and was assembled at Ford's plant in Wiri, South Auckland. 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 - which was previously (in Mk1 guise) a built-up import from the United Kingdom.

A large choice of models were available in the NZ Escort range, consisting of 1.1 L (base), 1.3 L (L, GL, 1300 Sport, estate and van variants) and 1.6 L (Ghia, 1600 Sport) variants — the 1.1 being aimed at budget conscious buyers, the 1.3 L models being the most popular amongst buyers, and the 1.6 L - which appeared in New Zealand production in 1976 - being reserved for 1600 Sport and Ghia models. A three-speed Automatic transmission was available as an option for most 1.3- and 1.6-litre models.

Unlike Australia, the Escort and Cortina ranges were always popular, and often topped the car monthly sales lists. An update was given for the range for 1979, 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 1980, all Ghia models gained standard alloy wheels.

The Escort's popularity with Kiwi buyers continued up until the end of production in late 1980. It was replaced in New Zealand by the Ford Laser in early 1981, which was a badge engineered Mazda 323, available in sedan and hatchback forms.

The Escort returned to New Zealand in 1996, initially as an estate, as the Laser was only available as a hatchback and saloon. When local assembly of the Laser ceased in 1997, Ford New Zealand switched to importing the Escort hatchback and saloon, but then switched back to the Laser in 1999, as importing the Focus from Europe was then unviable. The Escort estate, however, remained on sale in New Zealand until 2000.

Rest of World

 

Israel

Assembly of the Mk II Escort commenced in August 1975. The Escort was a best-seller in the Israeli market, its best year being 1976, when a total of 3,801 units were assembled. Line-up included 1.1- and 1.3-liter versions. Most were of the four-door variety, and only 150 were built as a 2-door 1.1L. Assembly ended after 12,700 units, in April 1981. No Ford passenger car was since assembled in Israel.

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Ford Escort Mark III (1980–1986)

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Ford Escort Mark III RS Turbo

Codenamed "Erika", the third generation Escort was launched in September 1980. The code name alluded to the leader of the product planning team, Erick A. Reickert. The North American Escort introduced at this time was a derivative. The two vehicles were intended to share component designs, but separate engineering organizations and government regulations made this impractical.

The Escort Mark III was intended to be a hi-tech, high-efficiency design which would compete with the Volkswagen Golf, and indeed the car was launched with the advertising tagline "Simple is Efficient". The Mark III was a radical departure from the two previous models, the biggest changes being the adoption of front-wheel drive, and the new hatchback body, which introduced trademark styling cues which would be later seen in the forthcoming Sierra and Scorpio, most notably the "Aeroback" rear end — the "sawn off" bootlid stump which was proved to reduce the car's drag coefficient.

Also new were the overhead camshaft CVH engines in 1.3 L and 1.6 L formats, with the Valencia engine from the Fiesta powering the 1.1 L derivative. The suspension was fully independent all around, departing from the archaic leaf spring arrangement found on its predecessors. The Escort Mark III was voted European Car of the Year in 1981, fighting off stiff competition from Italy's Fiat Panda and British Leyland's Austin Metro.

It was also 1982 Semperit Irish Car of the Year in Ireland.

From launch, the car was available in base (Popular), L, GL, Ghia and XR3 trim.

However, the car attracted criticism from the motoring press at launch due to how its suspension was set up, with positive camber on the front wheels and negative camber at the rear, giving rise to the Mark III's infamous "knock-kneed" stance. Although this gave the car acceptable handling on perfectly smooth roads, once the car was tested on bumpy British roads the effects of this decision was obvious and the Mark III soon had a reputation for a harsh, unforgiving ride, with questionable handling.

The shock absorber specification was to blame also, and it was not until 1983 that the suspension gremlins were finally ironed out. A three-speed automatic transmission was available on the 1.6 L engine within a couple of years of the car's launch. From mid-1982, a 5-speed manual gearbox was introduced across the range. This was now standard on the 1.6 L versions and could be specified as an option on most 1.3 L engines.

A selection of features were 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. Power steering was not available on European Escorts although it was available on the US Escort.

In order to compete with Volkswagen's Golf GTI, a hot hatch version of the Mark III was created from the outset — the XR3. Initially this featured a tuned version of the 1.6 L CVH engine fitted with a twin-choke Weber carburettor, uprated suspension and numerous cosmetic alterations. Despite the initial lack of a 5-speed transmission and the absence of fuel injection, the XR3 instantly caught the public's imagination and became a cult car which was beloved by boy racers in the 1980s. Fuel injection finally arrived in 1983 (creating the XR3i), along with the racetrack-influenced RS1600i. The final performance update arrived in the form of the turbocharged RS Turbo model in 1984.

Another engine introduced around the same time was the 1.6 L diesel engine. Developed in Dagenham, it was remarkably economical for its time, and still is to this day, managing over 70 mpg. It was available on the L and GL models. However, the performance was not so impressive, with only 54 bhp (40 kW; 55 PS) and a top speed of barely 90 mph (140 km/h).

The Escort estate was initially only available with three doors, but a five-door version was eventually introduced in 1983. 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 1.1 L engine. The Orion name would continue in use through until 1993, when it was dropped and the Orion simply called "Escort".

A convertible version, courtesy of coachbuilder Karmann appeared the same year, significant as it was the first drop-top car produced by Ford Europe since the Corsair of the 1960s. The Escort Cabriolet was initially available in both XR3i and Ghia specification, but the Ghia variant was dropped after a couple of years.

A pickup version of the Escort, the Bantam, was produced in South Africa, while Brazil had a two-door saloon known as the Ford Verona/Volkswagen Apollo although this was completely different from the Orion.

Sales in the United Kingdom were high, and by 1982 it had overtaken the ageing Cortina as the nation's best-selling car.

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Ford Escort Mark IV (1986–1990)

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Ford Escort Mark IV Cabriolet

The Escort Mark IV came in early 1986, 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. Optional new features included a mechanical anti‐lock braking system (standard on RS Turbo models), a fuel computer on fuel-injected models, and a heated windshield. 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. In 1987, an LX trim designation was introduced which was situated between the L and GL models.

Trim designations for the Escort Mark IV:

  • Popular: 1.1 L, 1.3 L petrol, 1.6 L diesel, 1.8 L diesel
  • Popular Plus: 1.3 L petrol, 1.8 L diesel
  • Bonus: 1.1 L, 1.3 L petrol (4-speed gearbox only)
  • L: 1.3 L, 1.4 L, 1.6 L petrol, 1.6 L diesel, 1.8 L diesel
  • LX: 1.3 L, 1.4 L, 1.6 L petrol
  • GL: 1.3 L, 1.4 L, 1.6 L petrol, 1.6 L diesel, 1.8 L diesel
  • Ghia: 1.3 L, 1.4 L, 1.6 L petrol
  • Sport: 1.6 L petrol (Limited run in 1990)
  • Cabriolet: 1.6 L CVH carburettor (as seen in the Mark III Escort XR3) engine or fuel-injected 1.6 L CVH engine (seen in the XR3i)
  • XR3i: 1.6 L CVH engine equipped with the Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system Producing 105 bhp (from 1989 equipped with Ford EEC-IV engine management Producing 108 bhp)
  • RS Turbo: 1.6 L CVH fuel-injected engine with Garrett T3 Turbo producing 132 bhp (98 kW; 134 PS)

In Brazil, the trim designations were a bit different for the Mark IV:

  • Hobby: 1.0 L CHT engine (petrol only) and 1.6 L CHT engine (petrol/alcohol)
  • L: 1.6 L CHT engine and 1.8 L VW EA-827 series engine (petrol/alcohol)
  • GL: 1.6 L CHT engine and 1.8 L VW EA-827 series engine (petrol/alcohol)
  • Ghia: 1.6 L CHT engine and 1.8 L VW EA-827 series engine (petrol/alcohol)
  • XR3 Conversivel (cabriolet): 1.6 L CHT Fórmula engine and 1.8 L VW EA-827 engine (petrol/alcohol)
  • XR3: 1.6 L CHT Fórmula engine (alcohol only) and 1.8 L VW EA-827 engine (petrol/alcohol)

There were special series in Brazil:

  • XR3 SuperSport(Benetton): 1.8 L VW engine (petrol/alcohol), white w/ green trims
  • XR3 Formula: 1.8 L VW engine (petrol/alcohol), electronic suspension
  • Guaruja (produced in Argentina): 1.8 L VW engine (petrol/alcohol), 5 doors

Note that in Brazil, the 1.8 L and 2.0 L engines were made by Volkswagen (VW) as part of the AutoLatina agreement, where Ford CHT engines were used in VW cars and vice-versa. The 1.0 L and 1.6 L were all ford CHT motors. All Escorts made after 1993 were fuel-injected, excepting the Hobby models. Also, the Mark IV model was made until 1992 on all versions, except Hobby, that was made until 1996.

As well as an all-new interior, a new 1.4 L derivative of the CVH engine was introduced, as well as numerous suspension tweaks to address the long standing criticisms of the Escort's handling and ride quality, although these had limited success.

For the 1989-model year, the diesel engine was enlarged to 1.8 L, whilst the entry level 1.1 L and 1.3 L models were updated with the redesigned HCS version of the Kent/Valencia family introduced for the Mk III Fiesta. 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 1.4 L engine.

To sell the last few 1.1 L engines, a special variant called the "Finesse" was released by Polar Ford. This car featured colour-coded bumpers, vinyl decorations on the bodywork and a Capri style vinyl spoiler. Underneath the cars were identical to the standard Popular trim level.

The Orion was also proving popular with the motoring public, and Ford also gave the Escort‐based saloon a similar makeover. 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 1600E with leather seats, fuel injection, alloy wheels, and a Ghia trim was produced during 1989 and 1990. Only 1,600 were made, and only 1,000 of these had leather trim.

Escorts for European markets continued to be assembled at the plants in Halewood and Saarlouis. Sales were strong through the decade, and during the later 1980s Escort production also commenced at the Ford plant originally established for Fiesta production in Valencia.

At this time, the Escort was dropped in South Africa and replaced by the Laser and Meteor, although the Escort‐based Bantam pick-up remained in production, facelifted, and also sold as a Mazda Rustler.

This Escort continued production until 1995 in some foreign markets, especially Latin America. In 1993, the Escort Hobby trim was introduced in Brazil, using a 1.0 L 50 hp (37 kW) engine derived from the European 1.1 L. This was done in order to be eligible for tax breaks.

The 1.0 L engine was unique to Brazil, whereas the 1.1 L engine was sold worldwide. This special 1.0 L engine was the same CHT 1.6 L used in the Escort but with smaller pistons, making it less powerful but very economic. A popular kit changed the pistons and crank rods to take the engine to 1.3 L capacity. This kit was made by COFAP in Brazil.

There were no trims with a high-power engine in Brazil — no turbos or Cosworth versions. The most powerful Escort was the Escort XR3 Formula 1991, which had 125 hp (93 kW). Also, the on-board computer wasn't available in Brazil.

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Ford Escort Mark V(1990–1997)

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Ford Escort Mark V

The Escort Mark V platform (and Mark III Orion saloon) arrived in September 1990 with an all-new bodyshell and a simplified torsion beam rear suspension (instead of the Mark III's fully independent layout). Initially the 1.3 L HCS, 1.4 L and 1.6 L CVH petrol and 1.8 L diesel units were carried over from the old model. 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 1992, an all new Zetec 16-valve engine was launched bringing improved driveability, while also marking the return of the XR3i which was available with two versions of the 1.8 L Zetec engine. The 150 PS (110 kW) RS2000 also appeared in the autumn of 1991 with a 16v version of the Sierra's I4 2.0& izmir escort  L engine and also improved ride and handling meaning that this version of the Escort finally delivered on the road. 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 1992 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 2.0 L Cosworth 16-valve engine, generated some 227 PS (167 kW) and was capable of 150 mph. As well as having four-wheel drive, its most memorable feature was its extremely large "whale-tail" tailgate spoiler.

The 2,500 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 (1995 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 1996, but it has already achieved classic status and has a huge following. However, the car wasn't mechanically an Escort, being based on the four-wheel drive Sierra floorpan and mechanicals, including its longitudinally mounted engine, and was merely clothed in body panels to resemble a Mark V.

The fifth generation Escort was launched in South America in 1992, being manufactured in Brazil and Argentina by Autolatina, a joint-venture between Volkswagen and Ford. This resulted with the top of the line Escort XR3i being equipped with a VW AP 2.0 L engine generating 115 PS (85 kW). This generation also spawned two VW-branded cars with the same mechanics (but different body styles and interiors) called Pointer (five-door hatchback) and Logus, a two-door saloon.

The XR3i was discontinued at the beginning of 1994.

Facelift

Stung by the criticism of the original Mark V (which was still hugely popular despite motoring press criticism of its styling, ride and handling), Ford facelifted the Escort and Orion in September 1992, giving the revised cars a new grille, bonnet and, in the Escort hatchback's case, a new rear end. A new 1.6 L 16-valve 90 bhp (66 kW) Zetec engine was introduced, replacing the previous CVH. Fuel injection was now standard on all petrol models, and Ford introduced a four-wheel-drive variant of the RS2000, offering much improved handling over its front-wheel-drive cousins. A first for the Escort also saw the introduction of all disc brakes on all four wheels as standard on all RS2000 and XR3i models.

Also new for 1993 were 1.3 L and 1.4 L CFi petrol engines and 1.8 L diesel engines.

In September 1993, the Orion name was dropped, with the saloon taking on the Escort badge. The XR3i was discontinued a few months later.

The crash structure was also improved, featuring side impact bars, a reinforced safety cage, improved crumple zones, front seat-belt pretensioners and airbags.

Ford Escort RS Cosworth

The Ford Escort RS Cosworth is a sporty derivative of the Ford Escort Mk. Va. It is famed for its 'whale tail' rear spoiler and has been branded by Top Gear magazine as an 'icon'.

Gallery

Sales

In the UK, the Ford Escort is the best-selling car of all time with over 4,000,000 sold during in its 32-year production run, according to a survey in March 2009.

The Mark III model (1980–1986), was the most common type of car on British roads in December 1989, with almost 1,500,000 examples registered.

Engine Bays

  • Ford Escort MkIII Engine Bay
  • Ford Escort MkIV Engine Bay

Evolution of the Ford Escort

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbags
  • Ford Escort Mark I
  • Ford Escort Mark II
  • Ford Escort Mark III
  • Ford Escort Mark IV
  • Ford Escort Mark V
  • Ford Escort Mark VI
v · d · e
Ford of Britain vehicles

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