Ford Escort (Mk1) Profile

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Ford Escort (Mk1) General Information

This car should actually be called Ford Escort RS1600 - which is its homologated name. In many Ford models it is difficult to keep different generations apart without Ford's traditional "Mk" tag. Not so the famous rally Escorts, as Ford made a point of calling all rally versions of the Escort Mk1 the "Escort RS1600" - or again this happened to be the name under which the car was originally homologated. This at first made sense, as the Mk1 started its rally life as a 1600cc. But even future versions with bigger engines always carried the RS1600 tag!

The Escort Mk1 had much smaller a success story at WRC level than the Escort Mk2. But there is a reason why this Escort Mk1 turned such a huge legend. It is amazing just how much Ford played with different versions and developments on the Escort Mk1, and it is also this why the Escort Mk2 was such a success: No need to experiment, the best was long identified and proven!

But before we look into the development career of the RS1600/Mk1, as crazy as it sounds, looking at a rally purpose prototype is one of the best ways to explain the amazing spirit behind the Escort Mk1, even though that may have been not intentional by Ford! At about the same time the Escort RS1600/Mk1 debuted, Ford as well experimented with a mid engined prototype on the lines of the Lancia Stratos: the Ford GT70. But it didn't take long after the GT70's rally debut for the Ford management to realise the Escort RS1600 is just as quick and much better for the marketing. That was it: the Escort RS1600 was simple, it handled well, could take tough conditions and for all that even costly prototypes had a struggle at hand to keep up with it - and this again made the Escort attractive for privateers as well.

To the RS1600's development career and many variations, the car was choosen by Ford's Boreham works rally team as a replacement to the legendary Ford Lotus Cortina. This made perfect sense. The first version Escort Mk1 rally car was called by full name Ford Escort RS1600 TC. But this name needs some explaination. Firstly the Escort replaced the Anglia range and it is a small saloon, 1 size down on the Cortina. Smaller and lighter is always good, but this version had the exact same underpinnings of the Ford Lotus Cortina. Despite there being no hint to Lotus in the "RS1600 TC" name, this car actually had the exact Lotus engine as used in the Cortina! Slightly misleading in the name tag is that TC actually stands for Twin Cam, but Twin Cam does not automatically mean DOHC 16v. This is a rare DOHC 8v layout! Indeed in works rally trim this Lotus engine "only" delivered 140BHP, such early Escort RS1600 successes underline the efficiency and handling of this model.

As time went on the opposition became more powerful and Ford soon experimented with fitting bigger engines into the Escort Mk1. Most notable was the car YVW 591F, which was fitted with a 2.3 V6 Granada unit from Ford's shelves! However this was the only car with that engine. (ETW 882G was equipped with that V6 engine for one rally, but then returned to TC spec.) As already found on the GT70, the added power from the V6 was compromised by an increase of weight – around 100kg in this case. And in the case of the Escort the car became more front heavy, too. Later some privateers copied this or even fitted a V8 engine to their Mk1 Escort, but already from this works experiment it was perfectly clear: for overall weight and for weight balance (also effecting handling and traction) anything more than a 4-cylinder simply did not make sense for the Escort!

Then however came an interim version that should turn to major fame. There was an Escort developed especially for the London to Mexico World Cup Rally. The total distance was 27.200km and went for a large part through Africa and South America. Ford didn't need more power, but they needed an engine that would last the distance and could cope with low fuel quality and high altitudes. As a result an engine was created that was based on the 1600cc Lotus unit, it did not actually have much more power (the Lotus TC engine meanwhile also had increased to 160BHP), the compression ratio was taken down as well as the maximum revs and it also lost the Twin Cam layout returning to a push rod, but for torque the displacement had been increased to 1850cc.

This event turned one of the life time magic examples how marketing works. Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday.... The London-Mexico was a massive success and immediately a road car was launched called the "Ford Escort Mexico". This 1850cc road car was down on power to the sporty Escort Mk1 top model road car, the Escort RS2000. Yet today when people talk Escort RS2000, they mean Escort Mk2. Never mind in Mk1 form the Mexico was down on power to the RS2000, the car had "Mexico" in its name, and for the fans of sporty Fords this identified a legendary event! - The Mexico road version itself became a legend, so much so that its more powerful top version Mk1 RS2000 is forgotten.

Following on from the 1850 Mexico, it was clear Ford wanted a bigger engine in works Escorts, while already having learned more than 4 cylinder is not the way to go. However engineering the engine for the London-Mexico Escorts, there was a reason why Boreham stopped at the odd 1850cc figure: This engine showed the Lotus unit was on its limits. Going beyond 1850cc by increasing bore even further (increasing stroke would have demanded a complete re-design anyway) would have made the walls between cylinders so slim that there was no way such unit could be reliable with high-tune high-compression. A new engine was needed. At this time former Ford and Lotus partner engineers Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth opened their own business called Cosworth. And they came up with the BDA. BDA means nothing more simple than "Ford Belt Driven version A", but based on the configuration of Ford's own 1993cc engine, this was a purpose built DOHC 16v!

Indeed this BDA engine may also explain the oddity of keeping the RS1600 name (all rally Escorts should be called Escort RS, but even this 1993cc BDA version was in the end called RS1600). In a way Ford was overwhelmed by the legendary status their cars should get with fans from the very beginning. Cosworth constantly developped the BDA engine further, which obviously means we very soon moved away from the "Version A" to engines that really should be called BDB, BDC, BDD, etc., but nobody ever used these names as the BDA name was already a legend - as with the RS1600 tag.

Amazingly this Cosworth BDA engine means that between 1968 & 1972, in only 4years, the Escort RS1600 was upgraded from 140BHP to 230BHP! A little more fine tuning over the remaining years had the engine at 260BHP! Imagine, this is 1975, some 40years ago, and this 2000cc unit is only around 25BHP down on the latest S2000 cars! Further by 1975 the BDA's continued development meant the engine was reliable. And 1975 was the debut year of the Escort Mk2 - no wonder the Mk2 could win WRC events for the next 6years without needing any new variations or evolutions at all!

Admittedly partly the Escort Mk1 was less successful at WRC level than the Mk2, because when the WRC was born the Escort Mk1/RS1600 had only 2 seasons left to go. But more even, like Peugeot, Ford was enjoying a lot going to African and marathon rallies rather then a WRC program! Events like London to Mexico World Cup, London-Sydney, Sophia-Liège and others worked well for the marketing departments as well.

This all means there are 3 events that equally turned the Escort Mk1/RS1600 into one of rallying's biggest legends:
London to Mexico marathon 1970, winner Hannu Mikkola/Gunnar Palm in FEV 1H
Safari Rally 1972, winner again Hannu Mikkola/Gunnar Palm, RWC 455K
RAC 1972, the most famous win by legendary pairing Roger Clark/Tony Mason in LVX 942J

These were clearly the biggest successes, turning this car into a legend, but coincidentally they show the WRC case for the Mk1 too. The WRC only started in 1973, after these events. And while it is true that the Mk1 should win every RAC Rally in its remaining works career, only the 1972 pre-WRC event was won by a British driver, undoubtadly the highlight of Roger Clark's and Tony Mason's careers giving colour to the Escort Mk1's career too.
 

Ford Escort (Mk1) Related Content


Ford Escort (Mk1) Evolutions

 
 
Model & Evo. (Activity)
 
BHP@
RPM
Torque
(Nm)@
RPM
Length
Width
Height
Weight
(Kg/BPM
Ratio)
 
Trans.
(W'base)
Ford Escort (Mk1) 1.6 L (73-86) 100/5500 141/3500 4052.1584.1384 910 (9.1) RWD (2400)
Ford Escort (Mk1) RS1600 1850 (70-72) 175/7500 190/5600 4052.1670.1380 1027 (5.9) RWD (2400)
Ford Escort (Mk1) RS1600 BDA (73-76) 230/8000 217/6750 4052.1670.1380 960 (4.2) RWD (2400)
Ford Escort (Mk1) RS1600 TC (68-72) 140/6800 155/5000 4052.1670.1380 960 (6.85) RWD (2400)
Ford Escort (Mk1) RS1600 V6 (69-69) 200/6500 230/5100 4052.1670.1380 1050 (5.25) RWD (2400)

Random Ford Escort (Mk1) Photos

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Ford Escort (Mk1) Results

This is an unofficial Car Results list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego hh:mm:ss
24th. 2009 IRC Safari Rally I. Freestone A. Khan #71 [UNKNOWN] 3:22:17
11th. 1986 WRC Rally Argentina G. Trelles R. Ivetich #20 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
9th. 1985 WRC Rally Argentina F. West G. Assadourian #39 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
10th. 1985 WRC Rally Argentina L. Etchegoyen . UNKNOWN #35 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
15th. 1982 WRC Rally New Zealand D. Parkes S. Green #25 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
7th. 1982 WRC Rally of Finland H. Uotila T. Leino #26 [UNKNOWN] 4:48:10
10th. 1982 WRC Rally of Finland . Palmroos I. Riipinen #109 [UNKNOWN] 4:55:55
7th. 1981 WRC Rally Argentina F. West G. Assadourian #8 [UNKNOWN] 18:06:32
6th. 1981 WRC Rally Argentina L. Etchegoyen . UNKNOWN #26 [UNKNOWN] 17:45:30
6th. 1980 WRC Rally Argentina D. de Vitta D. Muzio #19 [UNKNOWN] 14:60:25
9th. 1980 WRC Rally Argentina F. West G. Assadourian #25 [UNKNOWN] 15:58:04
13th. 1980 WRC Rally New Zealand M. Stewart . UNKNOWN #28 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
7th. 1980 WRC Rally New Zealand P. Davidson . UNKNOWN #20 [UNKNOWN] 13:19:26
16th. 1980 WRC Rally New Zealand J. Tee R. Freeth #47 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
24th. 1980 WRC Rally New Zealand B. Stokes . UNKNOWN #45 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
9th. 1980 WRC Rally New Zealand G. McIntyre D. Roderick #27 [UNKNOWN] 13:22:05
8th. 1980 WRC Rally New Zealand D. Parkes S. Green #25 [UNKNOWN] 13:19:53
9th. 1979 WRC Rally New Zealand M. Stewart D. Parkhill #30 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
10th. 1975 WRC Swedish Rally L. Andersson . Nyborg #27 [UNKNOWN] 8:41:02
9th. 1975 WRC Rallye de Portugal F. Lezama . UNKNOWN #42 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
8th. 1975 WRC Rally of Finland E. Aaby . UNKNOWN #14 [UNKNOWN] 3:02:26
3rd. 1975 WRC Rally of Great Britain T. Fowkes B. Harris #40 [UNKNOWN] 6:06:11
5th. 1975 WRC Rally of Great Britain E. Aaby . Nyborg #24 [UNKNOWN] 6:14:14
9th. 1974 WRC Rallye de Portugal C. Sclater N. Wilson #12 [UNKNOWN] 7:26:59
9th. 1974 WRC Safari Rally V. Preston Jnr. R. Barnard #18 [UNKNOWN] 14:56:00
1st. 1974 WRC Rally of Finland H. Mikkola J. Davenport #6 [UNKNOWN] 3:11:42
2nd. 1974 WRC Rally of Finland T. Mäkinen H. Liddon #1 [UNKNOWN] 3:12:13
4th. 1974 WRC Rideau Lakes Rally K. Billows J. Campbell #116 [UNKNOWN] 5:16:50
8th. 1974 WRC Rally of Great Britain B. Coleman D. O'Sullivan #23 [UNKNOWN] 8:20:29
11th. 1974 WRC Rally of Great Britain N. Rockey R. Channon #46 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
18th. 1974 WRC Rally of Great Britain J. Rae . UNKNOWN #44 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
7th. 1974 WRC Rally of Great Britain R. Clark T. Mason #5 [UNKNOWN] 8:19:06
1st. 1974 WRC Rally of Great Britain T. Mäkinen H. Liddon #1 [UNKNOWN] 8:02:39
29th. 1974 WRC Rally of Great Britain J. Taylor . UNKNOWN #55 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
52nd. 1974 WRC Rally of Great Britain J. Robinson D. Rogers #108 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
4th. 1973 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo H. Mikkola J. Porter #20 [UNKNOWN] 5:44:29
11th. 1973 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo T. Mäkinen H. Liddon #3 [UNKNOWN] 5:57:51
16th. 1973 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo C. Sclater J. Davenport #12 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
14th. 1973 WRC Safari Rally V. Preston Jnr. B. Smith #3 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
7th. 1973 WRC Acropolis Rally C. Sclater B. de Jong #9 [UNKNOWN] 8:43:36
1st. 1973 WRC Rally of Finland T. Mäkinen H. Liddon #4 [UNKNOWN] 4:53:50
4th. 1973 WRC USA Press on Regardless Rally J. Buffum W. Zitkus #114 [UNKNOWN] 7:39:00
1st. 1973 WRC Rally of Great Britain T. Mäkinen H. Liddon #13 [UNKNOWN] 6:47:08
2nd. 1973 WRC Rally of Great Britain R. Clark T. Mason #1 [UNKNOWN] 6:52:23
3rd. 1973 WRC Rally of Great Britain M. Alen I. Kivimäki #18 [UNKNOWN] 6:55:26
9th. 1973 WRC Rally of Great Britain T. Fowkes B. Harris #37 [UNKNOWN] 7:09:46
20th. 1973 WRC Rally of Great Britain B. Coleman D. O'Sullivan #54 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
23rd. 1973 WRC Rally of Great Britain D. Thompson . UNKNOWN #58 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
4th. 1973 WRC Tour de Corse G. Chasseuil C. Baron #12 [UNKNOWN] 5:24:33

Ford Escort (Mk1) Retirements

This is an unofficial Car Model Retirements list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego Reason
Ret. 1985 WRC Rally Argentina G. Trelles R. Ivetich #99 [UNKNOWN] SS9 differential
Ret. 1984 WRC Rally Argentina G. Trelles R. Ivetich #10 [UNKNOWN] SS2 gearbox
Ret. 1984 WRC Rally Argentina F. West G. Assadourian #9 [UNKNOWN] SS6 crash
Ret. 1983 WRC Rally of Finland . Palmroos I. Riipinen #92 [UNKNOWN] SS1 ?
Ret. 1982 WRC Rallye do Brazil L. Etchegoyen . UNKNOWN #7 [UNKNOWN] SS7 stuck in mud
Ret. 1982 WRC Rallye do Brazil F. West G. Assadourian #6 [UNKNOWN] SS7 stuck in mud
Ret. 1979 WRC Rally New Zealand P. Davidson . UNKNOWN #18 [UNKNOWN] SS29 crash
Ret. 1979 WRC Rally New Zealand T. Teesdale G. Smith #15 [UNKNOWN] SS16 halfshaft
Ret. 1976 WRC Acropolis Rally K. Billows M. Holmes #18 [UNKNOWN] SS6 ?
Ret. 1976 WRC Acropolis Rally . "Iavaris" C. Stefanis #22 [UNKNOWN] SS8 ?
Ret. 1976 WRC Rallye de Portugal K. Billows M. Holmes #10 [UNKNOWN] SS99 transmission
Ret. 1976 WRC Rally of Great Britain A. Beauchef . UNKNOWN #114 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1976 WRC Rally of Great Britain J. Buffum . "Vicky" #55 [UNKNOWN] SS99 clutch
Ret. 1975 WRC Rally of Great Britain N. Rockey D. Tucker #33 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1975 WRC Rally of Finland J. Kynsilehto M. Holmes #22 [UNKNOWN] SS22 crash
Ret. 1975 WRC Rally of Finland A. Vatanen G. Phillips #11 [UNKNOWN] SS6 crash
Ret. 1975 WRC Acropolis Rally K. Billows . UNKNOWN #30 [UNKNOWN] SS0 engine
Ret. 1974 WRC Rally of Great Britain P. Airikkala H. Haaksiala #24 [UNKNOWN] SS99 engine
Ret. 1974 WRC Rally of Great Britain H. Mikkola J. Davenport #10 [UNKNOWN] SS99 suspension
Ret. 1974 WRC Rally of Great Britain M. Alen P. White #15 [UNKNOWN] SS99 water pump
Ret. 1974 WRC Rally of Great Britain R. Brookes J. Brown #38 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1974 WRC Rally of Great Britain T. Fowkes B. Harris #31 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1974 WRC Rally of Great Britain G. Beever S. France #101 [UNKNOWN] SS66 disqualified - used pace notes
Ret. 1974 WRC USA Press on Regardless Rally J. Buffum R. Edwards #14 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1974 WRC USA Press on Regardless Rally K. Billows J. Campbell #19 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1974 WRC Rideau Lakes Rally J. Buffum R. Edwards #111 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1974 WRC Rallye San Remo J. Rae H. Liddon #49 [UNKNOWN] SS99 disqualified
Ret. 1973 WRC Rally of Great Britain J. Robinson . UNKNOWN #68 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1973 WRC Rally of Great Britain G. Beever S. France #101 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1973 WRC Rally of Great Britain H. Mikkola J. Davenport #6 [UNKNOWN] SS99 crash
Ret. 1973 WRC Rally of Great Britain R. Brookes J. Brown #48 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1973 WRC Rally of Great Britain A. Cowan J. Syer #20 [UNKNOWN] SS99 driveshaft
Ret. 1973 WRC Rally of Great Britain V. Preston Jnr. P. White #33 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1973 WRC Acropolis Rally W. Sparrow H. Liddon #16 [UNKNOWN] SS99 radiator
Ret. 1973 WRC Rally of Finland P. Falkner M. Peters #25 [UNKNOWN] SS31 ?
Ret. 1973 WRC Safari Rally H. Mikkola J. Davenport #4 [UNKNOWN] SS99 steering
Ret. 1973 WRC Safari Rally T. Mäkinen H. Liddon #16 [UNKNOWN] SS99 crash
Ret. 1973 WRC Safari Rally R. Clark J. Porter #2 [UNKNOWN] SS99 electrics
Ret. 1973 WRC Safari Rally P. Shiyukah K. Gatende #29 [UNKNOWN] SS99 crash
Ret. 1973 WRC Rallye de Portugal T. Fowkes P. O'Gorman #30 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1973 WRC Tour de Corse J. Gamet W. Huret #16 [UNKNOWN] SS99 suspension