In 1968 ford produced the mk1 escort as a replacement for the Anglia. It had conventional rear wheel drive and a four-speed manual gearbox. The suspension consisted of a simple live axle mounted on leaf springs, but with rack-and-pinion steering.
The mk1 Escort was sold as a 2-door saloon, but a 3-door estate and a van were later available. In 1969 the 4-door saloon appeared.
Underneath the bonnet was the Kent Crossflow engine the Escort featured initially only petrol engines - in 1.1 L, and 1.3 L editions. A 950 cc engine was also available in some export markets, but few were ever sold. There was a 1300gt performance version, with a tuned 1.3L Kent (ohv) engine sporting a Weber carburetor and uprated suspension. There was also a higher performance for rallies and racing - the Escort Twin Cam, which featured a 1.6L engine with a Lotus made 8-valve twin camshaft head.
In 1975 the mk2 appeared Unlike the first Escort (which was solely a British effort), the second generation was developed along with Ford of Germany. it used the same mechanicals as the Mk I,
the Mk 2 had a successful rallying career, an in the late 1970s was Ford's most successful period in Rallying. The Mk 2 Escort continued its predecessor's unbeaten run on the RAC Rally, winning every year from 1975-9 and winning a variety of other events around the world as well.
In the 1979 World Rally Championship, Björn Waldegård took the drivers' title, Hannu Mikkola was runner-up and Ari Vatanen finished the year in 5th place, all driving Escort RS1800's. These drivers' successes throughout the year gave Ford the Manufacturers' title, the only time the company had achieved this until the 2006 season, when Marcus Grönholm and Mikko Hirvonen won title for Ford in Ford Focus RS.
The mk3 escort was launched in September 1980 an was intended to be a hi-tech, high-efficiency design which would compete with the Volkswagen Golf, The Mk 3 was a radical departure from the two previous models, the biggest changes being the body, In order to compete with Volkswagen's Golf GTI, a hot hatch version of the Mk III was created from the outset - the XR3. Fuel injection finally arrived in 1983 (creating the XR3i), along with the racetrack-influenced RS1600i. The final performance update arrived adoption of front wheel drive, and the new hatchback in the form of the turbocharged RS Turbo model in 1985.
In 1986 the Escort Mk3 received a facelift in early 1986. Codenamed within Ford as Erika–86, and sometimes referred to as the "Mk IV" (although it was not officially the fourth generation), it was instantly recognisable as an updated version of the previous model.
with a smooth Scorpio style nose and the "straked" rear lamp clusters smoothed over. New features included an optional mechanical anti‐lock braking system (standard on RS Turbo models) and the option of a heated windshield – features which were at the time unheard of on a car of this size and price.
The fifth generation Escort arrived in September 1990 with an all-new bodyshell and a simplified torsion beam rear suspension, in 1991 when the all new Zetec 16-valve engines were launched bringing improved driveability, while also marking the return of the XR3i which was available with 2 versions of the 1.8 litre Zetec engine. The 150 bhp (112 kW) RS2000 also appeared in 1991 with a 16v version of the Sierra's I4 2.0 litre engine.
1992 saw the launch of the Escort RS Cosworth it used a turbocharged version of the 2.0 L Cosworth 16-valve engine as well as having four-wheel drive. Its most memorable feature was its outrageous "whale-tail" tailgate spoiler. The Cosworth ceased production in 1996 with 2,500 road-going examples sold.
Stung by the criticism of the original Mk.5, Ford facelifted the Escort in September 1992, giving the revised cars a new grille, bonnet and, in the Escort hatch's case, a new rear end. The Facelifted Mk5 Escort is sometimes referred to in error as the Mk6, with the Mk6 in turn wrongly being called the Mk7 - which never existed. UK based enthusiasts generally agree that the model be referred to as the Mk5b
The Escort was thoroughly revised in January 1995, although it was still based on the previous model. This version had new front lights, bonnet, front wings, front and rear bumpers, wing mirrors and door handles. The interior of both cars was hugely revised too, featuring an all new dashboard arrangement of competitive quality. However, the underlying car was now five years old and most of its rivals were either new or to be imminently replaced. The last 'standard' model to be introduced in 1997 was the GTi - the only GTi badged Ford to ever be sold in Europe. This used the same existing 115ps (85 kW) 1.8 Zetec-E engine found in other cars in the range, but included a bodykit borrowed from the now cancelled RS2000 model, part-leather seats plus the standard fitment of ABS. The GTi was available in both three- and five-door variants.