RE: Ford Escort 1600 GT (Mk1) | Spotted

RE: Ford Escort 1600 GT (Mk1) | Spotted

Wednesday 23rd November

Ford Escort 1600 GT (Mk1) | Spotted

John loves a Mk1 Ford Escort, so guess how happy he is about a 1600 GT...


Where does the Ford Escort 1600 GT sit in the pantheon of great Escorts? I ask that as genuine question. I’m familiar with the Twin Cam, RS1600 and RS2000, but the 1600 GT is not one I remember seeing before. Which makes this all the more appealing, because I might learn something from those with more knowledge. But it’s a Mk1 Ford Escort, and even if it were a boggo-spec I’d still be happy as a pig in the proverbial. I love a Mk1 Escort, so this 1600 GT jumped out at me like a mischievous child from behind a pillar. When saw it while scrolling through the PH classifieds this morning, I was compelled to write about it.

There’s something effortlessly pretty about the Mk1 Escort, don’t you think? I saw this even as a kid. My mate’s mum had a metallic purple Mk1 and I marvelled – salivated even – over it back then, in much the same way I did at the jar of cola bottles in my local newsagent. Which is apt, I suppose, bearing in mind the Mk1 Escort’s sexy, Coke bottle hips.

It's not just its haunches, though. The whole design is harmonious. It has barely a straight line anywhere on its pressings; instead, its collection of soft curves creates beauty, but also presence. There’s a substantialness to it, thanks to those rounded sides and protruding arches that give it three-dimensional depth. And more than a little swagger – certainly more than a compact, affordable, family saloon had any right to have.

There’s a ‘get out my way’ quality to the front end, too. Those two, big, round headlights for eyes, joined together by the narrowed ‘dog bone’ grille rather mimics an aggressive stare. Yet it somehow it manages to be friendly and loveable, too. It’s a loveable rogue, if you will, and the fact that it seems to encapsulate these mixed emotions is a sure-fire sign of an interesting design. Or my inability to read body language, perhaps?

Half a century ago, the all-new Escort was hardly a technical tour de force; but it wasn’t without merit in that department as it took the fight to the arch-rival Vauxhall and its Viva HB. It had rack and pinion steering, MacPherson struts and disc braking up front, plus a range of Kent engines in a variety of sizes and outputs. It was quite the antidote to the ageing and angular Anglia it superseded, although rumour has it the Anglia name almost survived until Escort was decided upon.

Anglia was a well-known and loved brand here in the UK, but because the Escort was from the newly merged Ford of Europe and the first passenger car it spawned (the Transit was its first vehicle), the Latin name for England may have seemed like rubbing salt into some German wounds. So they named it after an adult magazine instead.

As you know, the Escort was a huge hit. Just six years after launch, Ford had rolled the two-millionth Escort off the production line, which, until then, was the sort of build numbers only heard of Stateside. Us Brits loved it, and it’s said 60 per cent of those two-million Escorts had been made here.

And what of this 1600 GT, then? Its technical brief is remarkably similar to the Twin Cam, with its twin-cam, crossflow head and two twin-choke carbs. Was this just a re-branded Twin Cam for the Australian market? It appears the 1600 GT was good for 105hp, which is a tidy amount when you have a good deal less than a tonne to move, as demonstrated by a very handy 0-60mph time of around 10 seconds. From what I can tell, the 1600 GT also came with the 2000E’s gearbox but, again, I’m happy to hear more details on that.

Whatever the specifics, this one looks splendid. Apparently it’s had a new shell at some point, so if you’re searching for originality it might not be for you, but in terms of condition it appears to be a zinger. Presented in fabulous shade of metallic blue, with a matching blue vinyl seats, veneered dash, dished three-spoke wheel and, best of all, the sextet of instruments, I’d be in my happy place sat looking at it from within or without. And absolutely beaming if I was driving it, of course.


SPECIFICATION | FORD ESCORT 1600 GT (Mk1) 

Engine: 1,558cc, four cylinder, naturally aspirated
Transmission: four-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 106@5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 100@4,000rpm
CO2: N/A
MPG: N/A
Recorded mileage: 3,000
Year registered: 1971
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £26,950

Author
Discussion

Augustus Windsock

Original Poster:

2,955 posts

139 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
Gold medal again?
Had a Mexico of this flavour and it definitely did it have 105bhp…?

Augustus Windsock

Original Poster:

2,955 posts

139 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
Weren’t the 1.6 engines rated around 86bhp??

Twinair

324 posts

126 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
Mine was very similar - I had a 1300XL. Same colour, steelies with trims, interior clocks were the same. I could only have dreamt of a 1600…!! I was very happy with my friends in that car. Not a performance car - by the standards of today. But good fun.

Johnny5hoods

417 posts

103 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
I love the way Mk1 Escorts look, especially if modified with bubble arches, quarter bumpers and lowered a little. Surely, one of the most easily improvable cars ever made. Beggars belief why Ford didn't just offer them in that spec.

Sadly, they weren't rust proofed any better than anything else of the time.

My Dad had a 1970 red 1100 from new. He told me it had a failed piston at 8000 miles, well within warranty. Dealer tried to wriggle until he threatened to go to solicitor. Two more pistons failed shortly after warranty, and he had to have the engine rebuilt. He said it was extremely poorly built. Rust began appearing in small areas at around a year old. He sold it at 5 years and 75K, and it was mechanically spent and rust was coming out everywhere.

Incredibly, he went back for more, and bought a new '75 Mk2 1300. I said, why??!? He said there was nothing else available at the time for similar money that was any better. Hmmm. That had its engine rebuilt at 50K and was rusty when sold at 7 years old. Then he bought a second hand Mk1 Cavalier which was obviously better! How, or why, Ford stayed at the top of the sales charts for so long is truly one of life's mysteries.

Draxindustries1

1,320 posts

7 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
This is a 1600GT for the Australian market, they were never available in the UK. If the article is correct by stating this particular car is fitted with a 1558cc twin cam then its the wrong engine for this model as these were fitted with the 86hp 1600cc Kent crossflow as fitted to the Mk2 Cortina, early Mk1 Capris and the Escort Mexico. These were fitted with the strengthened type 49 shell and this one being re shelled has likely a std shell although it does have the correct Mexico flared arches.


Yet again, mad money for a very basic mass produced old Ford. I have a few old Ford's I'm just realistic as to what they are/were...

cerb4.5lee

24,943 posts

164 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
I've always preferred the way the Mk2 looks, but I think that is because it was the Mk2's that I always saw when I was growing up though. It is always nice to see an old car in great condition I reckon, and I bet these are a lot of fun to drive.

jeremyc

21,110 posts

268 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
This has been discussed at length elsewhere here. It's also been sold twice this year already at live auction and then online auction.

And it's not a twin cam: it's a 1.6 crossflow as fitted to the Escort Mexico (this is effectively a Mexico in all but name).

https://www.carandclassic.com/auctions/1971-ford-e...

https://www.historics.co.uk/buying/auctions/2022-0...


J4CKO

37,992 posts

184 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
This sounds a suspiciously similar spec to a Mexico, they were 86 bhp as well, what else did the Mexico get or was it basically a cosmetically enhanced 1600GT ?

Its weird as it seems every MK 1/2 Escort is now some kind of RS model, whether it stated out as one or not, can see why but its nice to see a fairly original non RS sportier one.

My first car had this engine, Capri 1600 GT, think the Escorts were a bit quicker being lighter but seemed to go well enough and had enough grunt to have me flailing at the wheel on occasion. Its weird as back then you could get 1330, 1300 GT, 1600, 1600 GT, 2000 GT (V4) four cylinder models and the power output went from 57, 64, 72, 82, 93 so a total of 36 bhp covering five engine options !

Then in other markets you could get 1.5 and 1.7 V4's

sideways man

1,148 posts

121 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
Even with just 86 bhp they’re nippy enough, and as the rear end has very limited traction it’s plenty of fun. My dad put a 1.6 gt motor in ours; with its low 1.1 diff it did go well but maxed out at 90 mph… apparently biggrin:

cerb4.5lee

24,943 posts

164 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
sideways man said:
Even with just 86 bhp they’re nippy enough, and as the rear end has very limited traction it’s plenty of fun. My dad put a 1.6 gt motor in ours; with its low 1.1 diff it did go well but maxed out at 90 mph… apparently biggrin:
I always feel like I've missed out not having a go in a Mk1/Mk2. My Dad had a Mk3 XR3 and I had a Mk3 1.3L...but they were both wrong wheel drive though! RWD is where the proper fun is at I reckon. driving

J4CKO

37,992 posts

184 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
cerb4.5lee said:
sideways man said:
Even with just 86 bhp they’re nippy enough, and as the rear end has very limited traction it’s plenty of fun. My dad put a 1.6 gt motor in ours; with its low 1.1 diff it did go well but maxed out at 90 mph… apparently biggrin:
I always feel like I've missed out not having a go in a Mk1/Mk2. My Dad had a Mk3 XR3 and I had a Mk3 1.3L...but they were both wrong wheel drive though! RWD is where the proper fun is at I reckon. driving
The impression now is that every RWD Escort was some RS drift monster driven by Wannabe Hannu Mikolas, there were old Escorts with extra lamps on and various other mods but by and large nothing like the perfectly turned out examples now, in the eighties they were old sheds by and large.


The typical ones I remember were generally driven by old blokes, fag in the corner of their mouth. The caretaker at my primary school had one, all roll ups and creosote. My grandad had one before his Chevette phase, then a Fiesta MK2 and culminating with a Metro 1.1.

Or old ladies in a 1.6 Ghia in Beige going to church.

They were usually terminally rusty, my mates mum had a yellow Mk2 basic sort of one, it got rusty, his dad patched it up, it got rustier, more patching until she then got somethign else but for some reason it lived on the path turning from yellow to green with brown patches. There were clumps of it around it, big clods of filler that had fallen off with rust attached, we used to play in it but the floors got a bit unsafe. Never seen a car rust so viciously. It eventuually got towed away leaving a sort of Turin Shroud imprint of rust, oil spots, moss, Isopon P38 and Signal yellow flakes.

Dont really remember seeing that many Mexico/RS2000 types, except on telly.

Edited by J4CKO on Wednesday 23 November 09:50


Edited by J4CKO on Wednesday 23 November 09:51

Darnoc95

71 posts

14 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
Back in the day my dad had a Mk 1 1.3l 4 door which for its time 1973 was nippyish.
Much later in 1985 he bought a Mk 1 2 door 1300GT which he paid about £250.00 for, kept it for a few months & flipped it for £40.00 profit. Doh! wish he'd kept it now

Callum43

272 posts

36 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
I think it was 1969 when I sold a much modified Mini Cooper 1275s for an Escort Twin Cam . I got how good it was . Even better with a few mods . Same goes for the Lotus Cortina . However I cannot for the life of me see how other more ordinary models in the range have this huge appeal and attract such prices as , after all , they were low tech basic transport . I have to assume the majority are right and it’s me .

Firebobby

187 posts

23 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
I served my time at a Ford main dealer and as stated Ford didn't sell a 1600gt in the UK. The Mexico was the 1st 1600cc escort (accepting the earlier twin cam, which were 105bhp) rated at 86bhp. IIRC 0-60 was around 10.5-11 secs. They did feel quicker and handled really well in a tail wagging sort of way! The "711m" block being the best, and widely used by Ford, Lotus, TVR, Morgan etc. Unusual firing order though 1324 as opposed to 1342 most manufacturers used? I have one in my "freeman 23" boat. 50 years old this year and still going strong. To be fair it is only rated at 35bhp!!

cerb4.5lee

24,943 posts

164 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
J4CKO said:
cerb4.5lee said:
sideways man said:
Even with just 86 bhp they’re nippy enough, and as the rear end has very limited traction it’s plenty of fun. My dad put a 1.6 gt motor in ours; with its low 1.1 diff it did go well but maxed out at 90 mph… apparently biggrin:
I always feel like I've missed out not having a go in a Mk1/Mk2. My Dad had a Mk3 XR3 and I had a Mk3 1.3L...but they were both wrong wheel drive though! RWD is where the proper fun is at I reckon. driving
The impression now is that every RWD Escort was some RS drift monster driven by Wannabe Hannu Mikolas, there were old Escorts with extra lamps on and various other mods but by and large nothing like the perfectly turned out examples now, in the eighties they were old sheds by and large.


The typical ones I remember were generally driven by old blokes, fag in the corner of their mouth. The caretaker at my primary school had one, all roll ups and creosote. My grandad had one before his Chevette phase, then a Fiesta MK2 and culminating with a Metro 1.1.

Or old ladies in a 1.6 Ghia in Beige going to church.

They were usually terminally rusty, my mates mum had a yellow Mk2 basic sort of one, it got rusty, his dad patched it up, it got rustier, more patching until she then got somethign else but for some reason it lived on the path turning from yellow to green with brown patches. There were clumps of it around it, big clods of filler that had fallen off with rust attached, we used to play in it but the floors got a bit unsafe. Never seen a car rust so viciously. It eventuually got towed away leaving a sort of Turin Shroud imprint of rust, oil spots, moss, Isopon P38 and Signal yellow flakes.

Dont really remember seeing that many Mexico/RS2000 types, except on telly.

Edited by J4CKO on Wednesday 23 November 09:50


Edited by J4CKO on Wednesday 23 November 09:51
There certainly is that perception around them that they were like the ultimate driving machine, but as you say the reality couldn't be more different. I remember seeing the odd Harrier/RS2000 knocking about, and my babysitter had a brown 1.3L from memory, but they were all Mk2's though.

sjabrown

1,759 posts

144 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
I do like a Mk1 or Mk2 but this one doesn't seem quite the right thing.

Have to say even the base models can be fun - I've a Mk2 1100L in beige in the garage. Even though it's only 40-something bhp it's good fun to drive hard as it's so light. Grippy in the dry, easy to slide in the wet.

Glosphil

3,887 posts

218 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
Mk1 Escort introduced with front disc brakes?
My 1968 Escort 1100L certainly had drum brakes all round.

My first car with disc brakes (but no servo) was an H reg Avenger 1500GL.

OldSkoolRS

5,192 posts

163 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
Nice to see a tidy looking, if non original example with the re-shell.

I actually prefer the Mk1 shape, even as an owner of a Mk2 RS2000 myself. Something prettier about them and the 6 clock dash that the 1300E and other models like this and the Mexico/RS models had. Of course they rust badly; my first Mk2 was only 7 years old at the time yet pieces literally dropped off it when I drove off. I swapped the engine for a Cortina 1600 crossflow and left the original 1300 gearbox and diff in the car. Acceleration felt brisk compared to the 1300 engine, but low gearing meant it ran out of revs.

My mate had a metallic purple 1300E at the same time and I thought it was great. Probably rotten as a pear underneath, but it got us from place to place with a grin on our faces.

Silvanus

2,589 posts

7 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
God, wish I'd bought some average old Fords back in the day and stuck them in a container. I come from a Ford family and they've had hundreds between them, some were amazing, some were terrible. This sits in the middle somewhere.

Is it worth the money? Its worth what people will pay for it, so probably yes. Are there more fun/interesting cars for the same sort of cash? Yes, lots.

jon66

278 posts

128 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
Took me a while to register that this was the same car as was sold a couple of weeks ago on Car & Classic.

Definitely one that would require some proper checking out before parting with any hard cash as the original car that the body plates relate to was (as far as I'm aware) a genuine Sunset Red Mexico and was recorded as such with the Ford AVO Owners Club.

However....what is here now is most definitely not that particular car (even if it does contain some of the mechanicals from the Mexico) and the body/chassis plates don't appear to be the originals either. All this talk of 1600GT's/Australian Market/Re-shell etc just muddies the water even further as to exactly what the origins are of it as presented now.

Would still make someone a nice enough Mk1 Escort to go and have some fun with...at a certain price-point.