The Ford Escort is the people's champion of the classic car world. It joins a number of other Ford models which have emerged over the years as affordable family vehicles and yet still manages to accrue a cult following which grants it respect beyond its lowly statuses.
The Ford Escort was first introduced in Europe back in 1968 and would remain in production for the next 32 years.
The Escort arrived at quite an opportune moment, because the UK market was crying out for a small, cheap car which could offer reliability and affordability in no short measure.
Ford had begun to make its Cortina a little less than attainable for its original target audience, while the likes of the Morris 1100 was starting to look rather long in the tooth, so the Escort was able to capture major public attention and end up becoming a best seller.
It took only six years for two million Escorts to roll out of the factory, almost two thirds of which had been made on UK soil.
By 1975 the Mark I Escort was in need of an update, so the boxier Mark II hit the market. While under the skin many of the components remained the same, it still attracted big sales for Ford.
The Mark III Escort arrive in 1980 and was even more angular, a trend continued by the Mark IV in 1986.
It would not be until 1990 that the Escort range received a few more curves with the arrival of the Mark V. However, 1995's Mark VI was the most modern and rounded-out Escort yet.
The Escort range may have won plaudits because of its ability to provide cost effective family practicality, but it also ended up being a very successful model on the rallying circuit. The Mark I Escort Twin Cam was one of the earliest examples of this, taking a 1.5 litre engine originally built for the Lotus Cortina and putting it to good use on the mud and gravel.
The 1970 London to Mexico World Cup Rally is recognised as being the event which helped to establish the Escort as a world class competitive racer, thanks to the victory attained by driver Hannu Mikkola.
Subsequent iterations of the Escort would also fare very well on the track, with RS-badged performance models intended for the consumer market allowing everyday drivers to celebrate this rallying heritage.
The Escort did become a bit of a boy racer's car as a result of its performance-oriented models and the XR3, originally designed to take on VW's Golf GTI in the emergent hot hatch market, was seen as a bit of a lout-mobile.
However, the Escort has since been able to rebuild its reputation and remains a much cherished model amongst classic car enthusiasts, with owners clubs and events operating up and down the UK.
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