Conservative the Escort may have been, but there was something about this perky little car, with its ‘dog bone’ grille and headlight treatment and its driving dynamics, that won people’s hearts and epitomised the old cliché about the whole being more than the sum of its parts. The Escort was a balanced package that provided a particularly rewarding driving experience, and its looks quickly morphed from bland to attractive in the eyes of many beholders. And it didn’t matter whether it was the bottom-of-the-range 1100, a 1300 De Luxe or 1300GT, the Escort was a thoroughly enjoyable car to drive. Price was another appealing feature of the lesser models.
Ford had more than five years’ experience of producing performance versions of its family cars by then, with GT versions of the Anglia, Consul Capri, Corsair and Cortina, and it knew the formula worked. An Escort GT was part of the range from the beginning, and shortly afterwards came a wagon, a van and later, a four-door saloon.
Twin Cams and More Valves
The special models with big engines were a whole different and much more exciting ball game, but have always been mostly out of reach for Ms/Mr Average. The much-loved Twin Cam – featuring a Lotus-designed twin-overhead-camshaft cylinder head on a 1500cc Cortina block enlarged to 1558cc – wasn’t part of the original plan, and the 1300GT was projected to be the only performance Escort.
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