Although the launch of the Escort Mark I was not announced until January 1968, Ford UK came well prepared.

Production for the Anglia's replacement had been started more than two months earlier under great secrecy.

This meant that when the release of the new Escort went public, the cars were readily available. and in large numbers.

This forward thinking was yet another example of the sound policy so typical of Ford' UK in the Fifties- close attention to promoting an image of quick and efficient customer service.

This was yet another example of Ford UK's overall management policy that pushed the company gradually to the top of UK car manufacturers while their competitors looked on in dismay.

For the next thirty years, the Ford Escort remained as the backbone of the company's sales.

The Escort Mark I was the first British Ford to be classed as truly European, engineered in conjunction with Ford-Germany, and assembled at Halewood, Liverpool for the UK and Saar Louis in Germany for the European market.

Along with the latest Cortina Mk II, the Escort was the first Ford to use the legendary Kent crossflow engine. Apart from this, everything about the Escort was new — new platform, new all-synchromesh gearbox and new axle.

The Escort Mark I was also the first Ford road car to use rack-and-pinion steering.

Available with a wide choice of engines from the starter level, 1098cc and a more powerful 1298cc or even the 1298cc GT-tune, the 72bhp GT matched to closer-ratio gears and disc brakes on the front wheels, the Escort Mark I was available initially only with 4-speed manual transmission as standard on all engine configurations.

Automatic gearboxes later became available as an option on the 1100s and 1300.

The Escort first was available as a two-door saloon with rectangular headlamps on Supers and GTs, the other cars having circular lamps.

Three-door estate cars were added within months; these all had front-wheel disc brakes.

The Escort Mk I two-door, was designed to be the ideal start level car for everyone, but especially small families and fleet users.


With three engine tunes, three different body shells, and several trim levels, there was a car to suit every taste and budget.

Never designed to be a classic, the Escort Mark I went on to become another million sellers for Ford UK, while specialized versions such as the Twin Cam Escort became increasingly desirable collectors' cars.


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