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For the American version, see Ford Escort (North America).
Ford Escort (Europe)
Ford Escort RS2000 MkI.jpg
MK1 RS2000 Escort
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1968–2002
Assembly Halewood Body & Assembly, England
Predecessor Ford Anglia
Successor Ford Focus
Class Small family car
Body style(s) 2-door saloon (1968–1980, 1990–1992 - Brazil)
4-door saloon (1969–1980, 1993–2000)
3-door hatchback (1980–2000)
5-door hatchback (1980–2000)
3-door estate (1968–1990)
5-door estate (1983–2000)
2-door convertible (1983–2000)
2-Door panel van (1968–2000)
Engine(s) 0.9 L, 1.1 L, 1.3 L, 1.6 L Ford Kent (Mark I, Mark II)
1.6 L Lotus-Ford Twin Cam (Mark I)
1.6 L, 1.8 L Cosworth BDA (Mark I, Mark II)
1.6 L, 2.0 L Pinto (Mark I, Mark II)
1.1 L, 1.3 L, 1.4 L, 1.6 L Ford CVH (Mark III, Mark IV)
1.1 L, 1.3 L Ford Valencia (Mark III & Mark IV)
1.6 L, 1.8 L Ford Zetec (Mark IV)
Related Ford Capri
Ford Orion

Ford Escort (NOH 460R) at Kirkby Stephen CCV 2014

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 (see Ford Escort (North America)).

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)

Ford Escort Mark I

1971 Escort Mark I saloon

1971 Escort Mark I estate
Production Jan 1968–Nov 1974
Assembly Halewood Body & Assembly, England
Saarlouis, Germany
Nazareth, Israel
Homebush, Australia
New Zealand
Taiwan (Ford Lio Ho, CKD)[1]
Genk, Belgium[2]
Body style(s) 2-door saloon
4-door saloon
3-door estate
2-door panel van

939 cc Straight-4 OHV
1,098 cc Straight-4 OHV
1,298 cc Straight-4 OHV (1300 & GT),
1,558 cc Straight-4 (Twin Cam)
1,994 cc Straight-4 (RS2000)

1100 cc Straight-4 OHV
Wheelbase 94.5 in (2,400 mm)
Length 159.25 in (4,045 mm) (saloon)
160.8 in (4,084 mm) (estate)
Width 61.8 in (1,570 mm)
Height 58.5 in (1,486 mm)
Curb weight 1,690 lb (767 kg)
Fuel capacity 9 imp gal (41 L/11 US gal)

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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[3] At the beginning of 1970, continental European production transferred to a new plant on the edge of Saarlouis, West Germany. The MkI was also built in Israel between 1969 and 1975.

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, less than six years after the car's UK introduction, Ford announced the completion of the two millionth Ford Escort, a milestone hitherto unmatched by any Ford model outside the USA.[5] It was also stated that 60% of the two million Escorts had been built in Britain.[5]

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.[6] The estate featured the same engine options as the saloon, but it also included a larger, 7+12-inch-diameter (190 mm) clutch, stiffer rear springs and in most configurations slightly larger brake drums or discs than the saloon.[6] A panel van appeared in April 1968 and the 4-door saloon 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, so the Escort featured initially 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.

Hannu Mikkola's 1970 World Cup Rally -winning Escort.

Roger Clark's 1972 RAC Rally -winning Escort RS1600.

There was, in the early days of the Escort, a higher performance version for rallies and racing — the Escort Twin Cam, 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.[7] 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.[citation needed]

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.


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.[8] 1,100 cc and 1,300 cc engines were offered, as was the 1,558 cc twin cam unit.[8], the last being offered only in the Escort Twin Cam model, which was renamed to Escort GT 1600 in late 1971.[9] 67,146 examples of the Mk I were built in Australia,[8] with local sourcing bringing the Australian content of the vehicles to 85%.[10] In 1976 a model similar to the upcoming Mark II was released and is known as a NEW ESCORT. It is distinct from the Mark II in the following outward ways, the petrol tank is mounted on the drivers side rear quarter panel was opposed to being mounted on under the rear number plate in the Mark II. The Mark II grill carries a traditional blue oval Ford badge whereas the New Escort has FORD in block lettering. The New Escort has a two piece tail shaft and the indicators are mounted on the opposite side to most Australian built cars.

Ford Escort Mark II (1975–1980)

Ford Escort Mark II


Ford-Escort-Mk2 Back.JPG
Production 1974–1980
Assembly Halewood Body & Assembly, England
Saarlouis, Germany
Cork, Ireland
Homebush, New South Wales, Australia
Wiri, New Zealand
Body style(s) 2-door saloon
4-door saloon
3-door estate
2-door panel van
Engine(s) 1.1L OHV "Ford Kent engine" Straight-4
1.3 L OHV "Kent" Straight-4
1.6 L OHV "Kent" Straight-4
1.8 L DOHC "Cosworth BDA" Straight-4 (RS1800)
2.0 L OHC "Pinto" Straight-4 (RS2000 and Australia)
Wheelbase 94.5 in (2,400 mm)[11]
Length 156.5 in (3,975 mm) (saloon)[11]
163 in (4,140 mm) (estate)
Width 61.8 in (1,570 mm)
Height 55.65 in (1,414 mm)
Curb weight 1,940 lb (880 kg) approx
Fuel capacity 9 imp gal (41 L/11 US gal)[11]

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.[citation needed] "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.[citation needed]

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.


A Mark II rally car at a stage rally time control — note the extended wheel arches.

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').[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

Escort RS1800 driven at the Race Retro 2008 by Alan Watkins

The late 1970s were a very successful period in rallying for Ford.[citation needed] The Mark II Escort continued its predecessor's unbeaten run on the RAC Rally, winning every year from 1975–79 and winning a variety of other events around the world as well.[citation needed] 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 World Rally Championship season, 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.

A white 2-door Ford Escort Mk. II with a 1.6 L OHV "Kent" Straight-4.

1978 Escort RS2000 at the 2005 Clonroche Vintage Rally.

Mark II Escort RS2000 taking part in a road rally — always a popular rally car in entry-level classes.

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[12] and introduced in Germany in August 1975,[13] being reportedly produced in both countries.[12] It provided a claimed 110 bhp[13] 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[13] 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.



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.

For 1979 two interesting Australian Escort variants appeared. One was the Sundowner Van, which was offered as a lifestyle vehicle, complete with dome rear side windows, body stripes and the Sport pack option in 1.6 and 2.0 forms. The other was the Australian RS2000, which - complete with its slant-nose - was sold in both 2-door and – unique to Australia – 4-door forms, as a regular production model in both manual and automatic. A total of 2,400 RS2000 were made.

While offered in many models on the Australian market, the Escort, like the Cortina was never popular on the Australian market, due to the competing Japanese imports, and the preference of Australian drivers for large 6cyl and V8 vehicles.

Production ceased in late 1980, the range being replaced by the 1981 Ford Laser hatchback and Meteor 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 not viable. The Escort estate, however, remained on sale in New Zealand until 2000.

Ford Escort Mark III (1980–1986)

Ford Escort Mark III
Ford Escort front 20071017.jpg
Ford Escort rear 20071017.jpg
Manufacturer Ford
Production 1980–1986
Assembly Halewood Body & Assembly, England
Almussafes, Valencia, Spain[14]
Saarlouis, Germany[15]
Class "C" Class
Body style(s) 3-door hatchback
5-door hatchback
3-door estate
5-door estate
2-door Cabriolet
3-door panel van
Platform Ford 'Erika' platform
Engine(s) 1117cc OHV "Valencia" Straight-4
1117cc OHC "CVH" Straight-4
1296cc OHC "CVH" Straight-4
1596cc OHC "CVH" Straight-4
Transmission(s) Ford BC4 4-speed manual
Ford BC5 5-speed manual
Ford ATX 3-speed automatic

Escort Mark III 5-door hatchback 1980–1986

Escort Mark III 3-door estate 1980–1986

Escort Mark III RS1600i (sporting version)

Escort Mark III Cabriolet 1983–1986

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.[citation needed] The North American Escort introduced at this time was a derivative. The two vehicles were intended to share component designs, but separate engineering organisations and government regulations made this impractical.[citation needed]

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.[16]

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.[citation needed]

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 rather underpowered 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.

Ford Escort Mark IV (1986–1990)

Ford Escort Mark IV
Ford Escort MK4 front 20081215.jpg
Ford Escort MK4 rear 20081215.jpg
Manufacturer Ford
Production 1986–1990
Assembly Halewood Body & Assembly, England
Almussafes, Valencia, Spain[14]
Saarlouis, Germany[15]
General Pacheco, Argentina
Class "C" Class
Body style(s) 3-door hatchback
5-door hatchback
3-door estate
5-door estate
2-door Cabriolet
3-door panel van
Platform Ford 'Erika' platform
Engine(s) 1117cc OHV "Valencia" Straight-4
1296cc OHV "Valencia" Straight-4
1118cc OHV "HCS" Straight-4
1297cc OHV "HCS" Straight-4
1392cc OHC "CVH" Straight-4
1596cc OHC "CVH" Straight-4
Transmission(s) Ford BC4 4-speed manual
Ford BC5 5-speed manual
Ford ATX 3-speed automatic
Ford CTX CVT automatic

1986 Mark IV Escort XR3i

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 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. Also, the Mark IV model was made until 1992.

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.[clarification needed] 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, Spain.

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.

Ford Escort Mark V (1990–1992)

Ford Escort Mark V
Ford Escort front 20080205.jpg
Ford Escort rear 20080205.jpg
Manufacturer Ford
Production 1990–1992
Assembly Halewood Body & Assembly, England
Almussafes, Valencian, Spain[14]
Saarlouis, Germany[15]
Class Hatchback
Body style(s) 3-door hatchback
5-door hatchback
5-door estate
2-door Cabriolet
3-door panel van
Engine(s) 1297cc OHV "HCS" Straight-4
1388cc OHC "CVH" Straight-4
1596cc OHC "CVH" Straight-4
1796cc OHC "Zeta" Straight-4
Transmission(s) Ford BC4 4-speed manual
Ford BC5 5-speed manual
Ford MTX-75 5-speed manual
Ford ATX 3-speed automatic
Ford CTX CVT automatic

The Escort MkV 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, and were starting to show their age in terms of refinement especially compared to Rover's state of the art K-Series engine launched in 1989.[citation needed]

Despite being eagerly awaited, the new Escort and Orion ranges were subject to considerable criticism from the media and motoring public alike.[citation needed] Its uninspiring internal and external styling and its disappointing handling were the main reasons for this bad press.[citation needed] Some owners were also disappointed by the levels of quality.[citation needed] Corrosion was also a problem, with the car being prone to rust around both rear wheel arches, rear chassis rails, sills and fuel filler cap surround.[citation needed]

Despite this, the Escort remained hugely popular with buyers, coming second in the British car sales charts in 1990 and 1991, before topping the charts in 1992.[citation needed] The Orion was less popular, failing to feature in the top 10 best selling cars in Britain after 1990.[citation needed]

Matters improved in 1991 when the all new Zetec 16-valve engines were launched bringing improved driveability, while also marking the return of the XR3i which was available with 2 versions of the 1.8 L Zetec engine. The 150 PS (110 kW) RS2000 also appeared in 1991 with a 16v version of the Sierra's I4 2.0 L engine and also improved ride and handling meaning a Mark V Escort finally delivered on the road. Specification, 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 even air conditioning.

In 1991, Ford also introduced an advertisement for their Mark V model whose music was shrouded in secrecy. To this day, Ford has never revealed the identity of either the artist or title behind the 30-second commercial. The song contained the words "Ask for the impossible and I will show you how you can trust in me", although no songwriter has ever come forward to announce that they penned the piece.

1992 saw the launch of the Escort RS Cosworth. Intended to replace the Sapphire RS Cosworth as Ford's stalwart rally challenger, it used the turbocharged 2.0 L Cosworth 16-valve engine, generated some 227 PS (167 kW) and was capable of 225 km/h (140 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. These 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 really an Escort at all, being based from a Sierra floorpan and mechanics, 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.


  • 1.3 L (1297 cc) HCS 60 PS (44 kW/59 bhp)
  • 1.4 L CFi (1392 cc) CVH 71 PS (52 kW/70 bhp)
  • 1.4 L EFi (1392 cc) CVH 75 PS (55 kW/74 bhp)
  • 1.6 L G/H (1597 cc) CVH 90 PS (66 kW/89 bhp)
  • 1.6 L EFi (1597 cc) CVH 105 PS (77 kW/104 bhp)
  • 1.6 L EFi (1598 cc) Zetec 90 PS (66 kW/89 bhp)
  • 1.8 L EFi (1796 cc) Zetec 105 PS (77 kW/104 bhp)
  • 1.8 L EFi (1796 cc) Zetec 115 PS (85 kW/113 bhp)
  • 1.8 L EFi (1796 cc) Zetec 130 PS (96 kW/128 bhp)
  • 1.8 L D (1753 cc) Endura D 60 PS (44 kW/59 bhp)
  • 1.8 L TD (1753 cc) Endura D 75 PS (55 kW/74 bhp)
  • 1.8 L TD (1753 cc) Endura D 90 PS (66 kW/89 bhp)
  • 2.0 L EFi (1998 cc) I4 150 PS (110 kW/148 bhp)
  • 2.0 L (1993 cc) Cosworth YBT 227 PS (167 kW/224 bhp)

Ford Escort Mark Vb (1992–1995)

Ford Escort Mark Vb

1994 Ford Escort.JPG

Ford Escort Mark Vb ghia rear.jpg
Manufacturer Ford
Production 1992–1995
Assembly Saarlouis, Germany
Halewood Body & Assembly, England
Bursa, Turkey
Class Hatchback
Engine(s) 1297cc OHV "HCS" Straight-4
1388cc OHC "CVH" Straight-4
1596cc OHC "CVH" Straight-4
1598cc OHC "Zeta" Straight-4
1796cc OHC "Zeta" Straight-4
Transmission(s) Ford BC4 4-speed manual
Ford Ford BC5 5-speed manual
Ford CTX CVT Automatic

Stung by the criticism of the original Mark V, Ford facelifted the Escort and Orion in September 1992, giving the revised cars a new grille, bonnet and, in the Escort hatch'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 1993, the Orion name was quietly dropped, the saloon taking on the Escort badge. The crash structure was also improved, featuring side impact bars, improved crumple zones and later on, airbags. Though it appears airbags became standard much earlier in the UK, as there are L-reg cars with at least a driver's airbag present. These revisions made the Escort and Orion much better cars and they were competitive against rivals, if still not the best in class.

The facelifted Mark V Escort is sometimes referred to in error as the Mark VI, with the Mark VI in turn wrongly being called the Mark VII, which never in fact existed.

Ford Escort Mark VI (1995–2000)

Ford Escort Mark VI
Ford Escort front 20070523.jpg
Manufacturer Ford
Also called Ford Escort Classic (D 11/1998-7/2000)
Ford EuroEscort (RA)
Production 1995–2000
Assembly Bursa, Turkey
Halewood Body & Assembly, England
Saarlouis, Germany
General Pacheco, Argentina
Ford Union, Obchuk, Belarus (1997−2000)[17][18]
Chennai, India[19][20]
Hasanpaşa, İstanbul, Turkey
Class Hatchback

5-door variant

Escort Mark VI RS2000

The Escort was thoroughly revised in January 1995, although it was still based on the previous model. This version had new front lights, bonnet, front wings, front and rear bumpers, wing mirrors, door handles and 4 different front radiator grilles (slats, honeycombe, circles and chrome). The interior of the car was hugely revised too, featuring an all new dashboard arrangement of competitive quality. However, the underlying car was now five years old and most of its rivals were either new or to be imminently replaced.

The two entry level engines were revised - the 1.3 L received the latest version of the Kent/Valencia family - the Endura-E from the recently launched Mk IV Fiesta and Ka, whilst the 1.4L CVH was replaced by the updated CVH-PTE unit. There were no changes to either the venerable 1.8 diesel or the 1.6/1.8 Zetec units at the top end of the range.

Dynamically, the handling and ride were also much improved with revised suspension set up from that on the previous Mark V / Vb models. The sporty "Si" model had slightly stiffer suspension than the LX and Ghia variants, although the Si was otherwise the same as the LX with some additional standard, mainly cosmetic, enhancements such as front and rear spoilers (which were also available as options on the LX), sports seats and white-faced dashboard instruments.

The RS2000 models ceased production in June 1996, and were the last Escorts ever to wear the famous RS badge. The RS badge did not resurface until the Focus RS arrived in 2002. A new Ghia X model was introduced around 1996, which included air conditioning and a 6 CD autochanger as standard. Although the equipment of the Ghia below it was reduced, it was now more affordable.

The last "standard" model to be introduced in 1997 was the GTi — the only GTi-badged Ford to ever be sold in Europe. This used the same existing 115 PS (85 kW) 1.8 L Zetec-E engine found in other cars in the range, but included a body kit borrowed from the now cancelled RS2000 model, part-leather seats plus the standard fitment of ABS. The GTi was available in 3- and 5-door hatchback and estate bodystyles.[21]

In 1998, Ford announced an all-new car, the Focus, which replaced the Escort and superseded the "Escort" name that had been in use for 30 years. The Escort range was cut down to just "Flight" and "Finesse" editions, and sold for a further two years in parallel with the Focus. All engines except the 1.6 L petrol and 1.8 L turbo diesel were dropped, as were the three-door hatchback, four-door saloon and cabriolet bodystyles (except in mainland Europe, New Zealand, South Africa and South America).

The Flight cost £10,380 and offered electric front windows, a three speed fan and a cassette player. For an additional £1,000 the Finesse added alloy wheels, air conditioning, a CD player, fog lamps and metallic paint. The more competitive prices managed to keep European Escort sales going until the last one rolled off the Halewood assembly line in July 2000, though stocks lasted into 2001 and several Y-registered (purchased from 1 March to 31 August 2001) examples were sold. However, the Focus became Britain's best-selling car within the first year of sales while the Escort dropped out of the top ten best sellers list.[citation needed]

The van variant remained in production until 2002 when the new Transit Connect model was introduced. The Escort hatchback and estate were produced in Argentina until 2004, having been sold alongside its successor (the Focus) during the final stages of production. Escort-based light vans had been offered since 1968, although the market sector, always larger in the UK than in continental Europe, dated back beyond the 1950s when successive Ford Anglias had been available with a van variant. After the demise of the Escort, Ford would be represented in this niche by the Turkish assembled Ford Transit Connect.

In Chile, to avoid confusion with the US-market Escort which was being sold alongside it, this generation was sold as the "EuroEscort" for several years.


  • 1.3 L CFi (1299 cc) Endura-E 60 PS (44 kW/59 bhp)
  • 1.3 L CFi/H (1299  cc) Endura-E 60 PS (44 kW/59 bhp)
  • 1.4 L CFi (1393 cc) CVH-PTE 71 PS (52 kW/70 bhp)
  • 1.4 L EFi (1393 cc) CVH-PTE 75 PS (55 kW/74 bhp)
  • 1.6 L CFi (1597 cc) Zetec 90 PS (66 kW/89 bhp)
  • 1.6 L EFi (1597 cc) Zetec 95 PS (70 kW/94 bhp)
  • 1.8 L D (1753 cc) Endura D 60 PS (44 kW/59 bhp)
  • 1.8 L DT (1753 cc) Endura D 75 PS (55 kW/74 bhp)/66 kW (89 hp)
  • 1.8 L EFi (1796 cc) Zetec 115 PS (85 kW/113 bhp)/96 kW (129 hp)
  • 2.0 L EFi (1998 cc) I4 150 PS (110 kW/148 bhp)


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.[22]

The MK3 model (1980–1990), was the most common type of car on British roads in December 1989, with almost 1,500,000 examples registered.[23]


Three Ford Escorts at a UK vehicle rally

These cars now have a cult following with collectors as a modern classic especially the more 'exotic' models. A number of early examples are now about that have been restored to concourse condition will others have been modified by 'car cruisers'

List known examples here


Add your escort photos here.

References / sources

  1. "Facilities | Ford Motor Company Newsroom". Retrieved on 2010-07-27.
  2. "Facilities | Ford Motor Company Newsroom". Retrieved on 2010-07-27.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Show in Brussels", Autocar 128 (nbr 3754): pages 44–47. date 25 January 1968.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Autocar1968" defined multiple times with different content
  4. (2008) Auto Motor und Sport Heft 18 Seite 162. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "News: Ford's two millionth Escort", Autocar 141 (nbr 4053): Page 28. 22 June 1974. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Escort estate", Motor: page 26–27. 6 April 1968. 
  7. Ford Motor Company - Press Release - Ford heads Marathon rally to Sydney[dead link]
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Ford Escort Production Numbers And Identification Guide Retrieved on 28 January 2010
  9. Glass’s Price Guide, June 1973, page 46
  10. Darwin, Norm (1986). The History of Ford in Australia, 184. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 "Autotest: Ford Escort RS1800", Autocar 143 (nbr 4107): pages 33–37. date 26 July 1975. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "New Escorts..RS 2000 Revived: Sporting version of new Escort with 2-litre ohc engine and 112 mph maximum speed, developed by FAVO. In production later this year", Autocar 142 (nbr 4089): page 68. date 8 March 1975. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 "Nasenkorrektur: New von Ford: Escort RS 2000 mit 110 PS (nose correction: New Ford Escort RS 2000 with 110 bhp)", Auto Motor u. Sport Heft 17 1975: Seite 11. date 16 August 1975. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 "Facilities | Ford Motor Company Newsroom". Retrieved on 2010-07-27.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 "Facilities | Ford Motor Company Newsroom". Retrieved on 2010-07-27.
  16. "Previous winners". Car of the year. Retrieved on 2010-09-18.
  17. "Hell on wheels?(Ford opening assembly plant in Belarus)(Brief Article) - The Economist (US)". Retrieved on 2010-07-27.
  18. "Ford To Halt Assembly In Belarus July Due To Low Demand | Autoparts Report | Find Articles at BNET". (2000-06-02). Archived from the original on 2012-06-29. Retrieved on 2010-07-27.
  19. "Facilities | Ford Motor Company Newsroom". Retrieved on 2010-07-27.
  20. "Ford Escort,Ford Escort 1.8,Ford Escort Diesel Car,Ford Escort Car,Ford Escort Review". Retrieved on 2010-07-27.
  22. "icLiverpool - Recession-proof wise-buys revealed". (2009-03-17). Retrieved on 2010-03-28.
  23. "Car theft in England and Wales: the Home Office car theft index" (PDF). Retrieved on 2010-12-04.

External links

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Ford Escort (Europe) at the Open Directory Project

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