Ads on Test - Ford Escort Mexico

Mike Renaut evaluates a 1973 Escort Mexico MkI restored to a high standard with the original engine and a Custom Pack interior

Price £35,950

This rebuilt Escort Mexico is the real thing, with paperwork showing it’s been verified by the Ford AVO Owners Club. Its restoration included the heavy-duty bodyshell being resprayed to a high standard; the colour is believed to be Sebring Red. Apparently a number of new panels were used – all have been fitted perfectly because the panel gaps are uniform and the doors close exceptionally well. The bodywork seems straight and unmarked, as does the trim. Bumpers and door handles appear as new and the glass looks clear and free from scratches.

The interior boasts the optional Ford Custom Pack interior. It’s largely black vinyl with the reclining front seats having grey ribbed cloth faces and headrests. The rear seat is trimmed to match. Unmarked wooden trim pieces are fitted to dashboard, glove box and instrument fascia, a small extendable map-reading light mounts on the passenger side and the RS steering wheel is in excellent condition.

A compact and functional Sharp RNSS cassette player with MW/LW radio is fitted in the RS centre console, with period speakers mounted in the rear. If we had to find fault, the parcel shelf has some minor damage to the vents and the passenger door card has a tiny hole. Otherwise, the interior is excellent. The black cloth headlining is unmarked, as is the carpet.

The 1600 engine is original to the car. The sound at idle when warm suggests the engine internals may not be completely standard; the vendor speculates that a high-lift camshaft may have been fitted, but there is no paperwork to confirm this. The engine bay appears largely standard, one exception being a Lumenition electronic ignition module. It all looks clean and shiny and no leaks were discovered.

The boot floor is painted to the same high standard as the outside, its metal ripple- and corrosion-free. The underside is coated in the body colour and is as clean as the top. Bilstein front struts and Spax rear dampers are fitted. The exhaust appears to be mild steel. Nangkang 185/60 R13 80H tyres in excellent condition mount on 6J Superlite alloy wheels; the spare is an apparently unused 165/70 R13.

Recent invoices include a new Weber twin-choke carburettor fitted in 2018. The brake master cylinder was also rebuilt then.

On the road the Escort feels light and sporty; acceleration is decent with no hesitation once the pedal is pushed. A light clutch and tight four-speed gearbox make it a pleasure to drive. The steering feels precise, the brakes feel fine and there’s no whining or knocking noises. All instruments function as they should and give readings that inspire confidence.

It’s not clear exactly when the car was restored, but MoT certificates from 2000 state 93,000 miles, while the five-digit odometer reading at the time of our testing was an indicated 5272 miles. The car will be supplied with new 12-month MoT. 
This appears to be an especially good example of a genuine Mexico that hasn’t been over-restored. This is one of four cars for sale tested in the latest issue, part of 23 pages of buying tips and advice, including Quentin Willson’s Smart Buys, Ads on Test, Buying Guide and Price Guide Quarterly in the June issue of Classic Cars.

Engine 1599cc 4-cyl ohv Power 87bhp @ 5500rpm Torque 92lb ft @ 4000rpm Performance 0-60mph 10.7sec Top Speed 99mph Fuel Consumption 26mpg Length 3978mm Width 1575mm