1971 Ford Escort MkI 1.3 XL
Twin Cam lookalike; export spec LHD car with reinforced body shell; from long term storage; ideal basis for a Historic race car
This great looking Ford Escort MkI two-door dates from July 1971, according to the V5C, and is a LHD model that was apparently imported from the Czech Republic about 10 years ago. We are told that it was originally a 1.3 XL model but someone has clearly done it up to like a Twin Cam, although the mods are only cosmetic (wide steel wheels, quarter bumpers, Twin Cam badges) and it still has a 1.3 engine under the bonnet.
Being an export spec car, we are told that it benefits from a reinforced body shell including inner wing strengthening plates, tramp bar type axle bars and a stone guard under the boot floor. The outer panels all look to be in good shape, as does the paintwork, but it is hard to gauge the condition of the underside as it is covered in underseal. The under-bonnet area is a little untidy and looks to have had some plates welded in over the years.
Starting easily and running nicely as we moved it around for the photos, it has a working handbrake but no foot brakes as the master cylinder needs attention. In storage for the last few years, it is a nice project for someone and would make a great basis for a historic race car.
Launched in 1968 to replace the Anglia, the Escort soon became Britain’s best-selling car, with over 2 million sold by 1974.
With a distinctive ‘dogbone’ front grille and swept ‘Coke bottle’ flanks, the Escort perfectly captured the clean 60s look and was widely admired. Mechanically it was conventional but effective, with rear-wheel drive, precise rack-and-pinion steering, MacPherson strut front suspension and a simple live rear axle mounted on leaf springs.
It was initially available only as a two-door saloon with either a 1.1 or 1.3-litre Kent Crossflow engine. Most were very basic inside but a top of the range model was introduced in 1973, the 1300E, which had ‘Executive’ trimmings such as additional dash instruments, wooden dash and door cappings, a three-spoke steering wheel, additional sound proofing, side stripes, full-width bumpers and slightly flared arches.
Under the bonnet the Sports version of the Kent 1300 used a Weber carb to develop 72bhp. The car wasn’t heavy and was able to achieve a highly respectable 93mph and managed the 0 – 60mph dash in just over 13 seconds. And all this for £1,182!
Blessed with excellent handling characteristics, the MkI Escort was a natural competition car, something Ford had banked on from the outset, the Lotus-powered Twin Cam being launched just as the standard models hit the showrooms. The hot new Escort immediately excelled on the international race and rally circuits, winning countless events and securing Ford the coveted World Rally Championship manufacturer’s trophy in its first year of production, a feat which it also repeated the following year.
Externally there was very little difference between the Twin Cam and its tamer sister, the Escort GT, but the reinforced body shell had wider wheel arches, quarter bumpers, uprated suspension and front disc brakes as standard. It was powered by basically the same 1.6-litre Lotus-derived engine as the Lotus Cortina with 110bhp and a top speed of 115mph. Just 1,200 examples were made before production ended in 1970 to make way for the BDA-engined RS1600.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email [email protected]
Reg No: BHH185J
Chassis Number: GCATLL27278
Engine Number: LL27278
Engine Size: 1263
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