• Ford Escort Mexico

    Ford Escort Mexico

    The Ford Escort Mexico was
    introduced to the world in November 1970 and was so named because of Ford Motor
    Company's victory in the World Cup Rally.

    Attachment 1271

    This rally started in London on
    19th April 1970 and finished some 16,000 miles later in Mexico. Originally Ford
    intended to use Escorts with the Twin Cam
    or BDA engine, but after reconnaissance
    work it was decided that high speeds and high power were less important than
    reliability and ease of servicing; therefore the Kent pushrod engine was used in
    the escort shell - and engine that was once praised by Stuart Turner for
    "Bombproof Reliability !"

    The specification of these cars was a big wing
    version of the heavy duty "Type 49" bodshell with an extensive roll cage built
    in. The engine was the familiar 1600cc Kent crossflow unit but bored out to
    1834cc to give about 140 bHP. This was then transferred to the road via a ZF
    five speed gearbox and a 4.4:1 Atlas axle. In all Ford entered a team of 7 cars
    and finished this gruelling event in 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 8th place with Hannu
    Mikkola and Gunnar Palm taking the overall honours. Currently only two of these
    cars are still known to exist, FEV 1H (Mikkola's car) is on display in the Ford
    Heritage Centre at Dagenham and FTW 48H (the car that finished 8th driven by
    Sobieslaw Zasada) is currently undergoing restoration in private hands.

    It seems likely that Ford already had plans to produce a high
    performance Escort to fit in the range between the 1300GT and the Twin Cam and
    RS1600, but their victory in Mexico provided an ideal platform
    to launch such a model. The engineers at the newly formed A.V.O (Advanced
    Vehicles Operations) quickly developed the Mexico, its specification being the
    Type 49 bodyshell as used in the Twin Cam and RS1600 with the 1600cc Kent
    crossflow engine and 2000E gearbox. Hence the Mexico was basically as re-engined
    Twin Cam/RS1600.

    Production of the Mexico lasted until the closure of the AVO
    factory at Avely, Essex in January 1975. Significant changes occurred to the
    model during those years, firstly in 1972 the battery was relocated from the
    boot to the engine bay location as seen in all o the mainstream Escorts. Later,
    in 1973 the entire Escort range had a revised rear suspension layout to prepare
    the model for the transition to the Mk2 which was to be introduced in
    1975.

    The mexico rapidly became the ideal competition car for the clubman in
    the race and rally fields. A one make series for Race and rally drivers became
    very popular (and highly competitive) when introduced in 1971. The Escort Mexico
    Challenge provided many of the champions of today with the opportunity to
    develop their driving skills while having cars of similar performance to their
    competitors. Notable ex-Mexico Challenge racers being Gerry Marshall and Andy
    Rouse and in the Rally cars Russell Brookes and Tony Pond.

    The Mexico was
    AVO's most successfull and numerous of the Rally Sport Escorts, it provided the
    motorist with many advantages in that it had good performance, was easy to
    maintain, relatively easy to insure and above all it was FUN TO DRIVE, something
    which is still very true today.