But with just the right combination of grip level, control weight and feedback, and with the first-rate body control and chassis balance the Mk1 already demonstrates, this could be an incredible road car. As it is, it’s already a very special one: equally spectacular in both how it looks and how it sounds; supremely raw, evocative, analogue and absorbing in how it drives, and ready for a great deal more than just road use, if you’re so inclined.
In the right company, it’s also quite the big deal, I must admit. This may be of no interest whatsoever to its would-be owners, or it may be at the heart of the car’s appeal, but if you want to win friends and influence passers-by amid the mountains and forests of North Wales, don’t go there in a German sports car or an Italian supercar. The locals see plenty of those. No, take them a locally made rallying icon with a blood-and-thunder Cosworth engine and, even as an interloping Englishman, you’ll be welcomed like a returning king.
The Escort Mk1’s rallying CV
The Mk1 Escort gained notoriety for its rally successes, although in the main it competed before both manufacturer and driver championship points started to be awarded like they are today.
The car’s successes at the RAC Rally were mirrored by similar victories on the 1000 Lakes Rally, where Timo Mäkinen’s home advantage paid dividends. There were early successes for the car elsewhere in the 1960s, as well as Hannu Mikkola’s famous London to Mexico World Cup Rally event win, for which the Escort Mexico road car was named.