While the Mustang is probably the most iconic Ford vehicle of all time, in certain parts of the world, the Escort is what comes to people’s minds when you mention the Blue Oval.
This year marks 50 years since the iconic Ford Escort nameplate was introduced. The MK1 Escort was successful both in the showroom and on the track, giving it a well-earned place in European automotive folklore. In fact, the MK1 Escort is one of the most successful rally cars of all time and is still a relatively common sight in amateur rallies today.
Rallying wasn’t the Escort’s only racing strong suit. Alan Mann Racing also fielded a red and gold liveried Escort in the British and European Touring Car Championships. The now familiar racing Escort, which was powered by Cosworth’s Formula 2 twin-cam engine, helped take Frank Gardner to the BTCC championship in 1968.
The MK2 Escort was successful in motorsports as well, with the Escort RS 1800 taking 20 World Rally Championship victories between 1975 and 1981.
Thanks to the MK1 and MK2, the Escort is Ford’s most successful racing nameplate – even if the GT40 and Mustang are more well known. The scrappy little rear-wheel drive runabout powered the automaker to numerous victories and more importantly, helped spark an entire generation’s enthusiasm for cars and motorsport.
Join us in celebrating the lovable Escort’s 50th anniversary by watching Ford’s short 7-minute documentary on the car embedded above.