The remarkable Mexico - superbly restored.
To be sold by Silverstone Auctions at ‘The NEC Classic Car Show’ on Saturday 10th November 2018 at the NEC, near Birmingham (B40 1NT). For more information please contact classic car specialist Joe Watts 00 44 (0) 7779 082707.
Lot number: 318 - Estimate (£): 38,000 - 44,000
(+buyer's premium of 15% including VAT @ 20%)
- The successful marriage of the Twin Cam bodyshell with the 1600cc Kent 'crossflow' engine and 2000E gearbox
- Full nut & bolt restoration including bare metal respray by Ford guru Tony Collins at 'Classic Car Restorations' in Canterbury
- Coming from a Ford enthusiast's small private collection and well-known to the AVO Club
- Original/genuine Type-49 shell superbly finished in Daytona Yellow
The Ford Escort Mexico was introduced in November 1970 and was so named because of the Ford Motor Company's success in the World Cup Rally, when Hanna had driven the winning car, and Escorts prepared by Boreham dominated the results sheet with 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 8th respectively. This rally started in London on 19th April 1970 and finished some 16,000 miles later in Mexico. Originally Ford intended to use Escorts with the Twin Cam or BDA engine, but after reconnaissance work, it was decided that high speeds and high power were less important than reliability and ease of servicing, and therefore the 1598cc ‘Kent' pushrod engine was used in the Escort shell. This engine is one of the strongest Ford ever made.
It seems likely that Ford already had plans to produce a high-performance Escort to fit in the range between the 1300GT and the Twin Cam/RS1600, and their victory in Mexico provided an ideal platform to launch such a model. The engineers at the newly formed AVO (Advanced Vehicles Operations) quickly developed the 'Mexico', marrying the stronger Type 49 body-shell (as used in the more expensive Twin Cam and RS1600), which aided the car’s sporty, rear-wheel-drive character, with the reliable and responsive Kent 'crossflow' engine and 2000E gearbox. So, effectively, the Mexico was basically a re-engined Twin Cam/RS1600 and the model was built from 1970 to 1974 at the AVO plant. Over the years there were some tiny detail changes and the 'Mexico' badge is only found on the wings of cars with pin-stripes, or no stripes at all, whereas on the cars with stripes all the way down the sides and across the roof, a '1600GT' badge is displayed on the front wings. All cars have the Mexico badge on the boot lid. The battery was located in the boot until September 1972, then moved to the engine compartment.
The Mexico was the most successful and numerous of the 'Rally Sport Escorts,' and was an instant sales hit, with buyers loving its wide-wheeled stance, bold graphics, and rally-inspired DNA. 10,352 examples were built according to the figures from Ford, although in reality, the real figure is likely lower. It had a number of advantages on the road, in that it had decent performance, was easy to maintain, relatively easy to insure, and above all, it was great fun to drive, something which is still true today. There is a real sense of occasion as you settle down behind the wheel, and a sharp throttle response, precise controls, and raspy engine note only add to the drama.
The Ford Escort Mexico presented here was first registered on the 23rd February 1973. The car is a real survivor, retaining its original shell, and was still being used regularly up until 2014. When our Ford-fanatic vendor acquired the car he decided that it was the ideal candidate for a complete restoration. The work was entrusted to Tony Collins of ‘Classic Car Restorations’ in Kent and, after many hours of specialist work, the car was transformed into one of the best Mk1 Escorts we have ever offered. The bodywork and mechanicals have been given the best possible treatment, whilst the interior has also benefitted from expert attention from ‘Kent Car Upholstery’. The engine was fully re-built and tuned by specialists ‘Bailey & Liddle’ of Faversham (including an A2 cam, steel rocker posts, an HD oil pump, unleaded valves etc.). The restoration was lengthy and exacting and was completed only recently. The car is now simply superb, having not been used since the work was finished, and looks fabulous in its original colour of Daytona Yellow, a very fetching hue for a Mk1. A lack of storage space and not enough time to enjoy this great car have dictated that our vendor - who has owned numerous classic Fast Fords over the years - has decided to sell it, hoping a similar devotee will get to drive and show it properly, which it richly deserves.
Nobody can have failed to notice the swell of interest in Classic Fords, particularly the quick ones, and it doesn't look like abating any time soon. This Mexico must surely be one of the best examples available, it's absolutely ready to go and would be an asset to any enthusiast of these era-defining, characterful, sporting Fords.
Registration: NEU 99L
Chassis Number: BFATNJ00402
Engine Number: NJ00402
Number of cylinders: 4
Year of Manufacture: 1973
RHD/LHD: Right Hand Drive
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