The MKI came with the 1100cc and 1300cc Ohv engines from the Anglia,had 4-speed g/boxes and were pleasant, well handling little cars. Tough and reliable they may not have been revolutionary but were well received.Very soon Ford announced the Twin Cam, which had the same 1600cc engine as the Lotus Cortina. This engine was based on the 1500cc cast-iron block that featured on the base Cortina model. It's main difference was in the cylinder head and camshaft drive. The head was made of aluminium with valves (only 8, despite being a twin) that were operated directly from the cam lobes by inverted bucket tappets and was of a crossflow design. That means that the intake, i.e carburation, was on one side of the engine and the exhaust on the other. It had part-sherical combustion chamber, integrally cast inlet manifold and two side-draught twin weber 40DCOE carbs.It gave around 105bhp and 108lbft of torque, though that may be optimistic, anyway it made for a car capable of about 113mph. All the same it made for a sweet, free-revving engine and a great debut 'fast Escort'.
All TC's, in fact, all 'fast Escorts' were based on the 3-dr bodyshell,usually the slightly strenghtened 'Type 49' body shell with flared front wheel arches, although the TC was the only one that ever had the rectangular headlights. Inside there was little difference except the adoption of the 1300GT dash with 6-dials,which meant the inclusion of an ammeter and oil pressure guage. All three featured front quarter bumpers.In 1970 ,they replaced it with the RS1600. The only real difference with this car was the engine.Featuring another twin cam engine but this time the 16-valve Cosworth BDA (Belt Driven - Series A), the Lotus engine had chain driven cams. Once again based on a production Ford engine block, initially the cast iron and taller 1599cc 'Kent' rather than the 1499cc of the TC. The head was two-piece and made of aluminium. The first piece being the main head which comprised the main casting,combustion chambers ,spark plugs, valves and springs while the second part was the cam carrier.The main reason for the use of the 1599cc block, which incidentily was often quoted at 1601cc so it could enter competion in the 1600-2000cc class, was for motorsport and because it could be bored out to that size.With twin side-draught Weber 40DCOE's and a fabricated 4-1 exhaust manifold it produced around 120bhp and 112lbft.Apart from RS1600 badging,the exterior and interior appointments were similar to the TC.1970 also saw the launch of the much more basic Mexico, to cash in on Ford's success in the London to Mexico rally it featured a basic 1599cc ohv Kent engine in standard form and produced around 86bhp. Complete with bold side stripes it was a good entry level 'fast Escort'.
The last of the fast MKI's was the RS2000 of 1973. Whereas the TC and RS16 were fast but at times tempramental cars and the Mexico lacked the pace of the others, the RS2 had the performance to keep up with these two but was more refined and also featured a basically standard Ford engine, the 1993cc SOHC 'Pinto' engine. With a twin choke Weber carb, instead of a brace of 40's it was easier to maintain.More nicely appointed than the others with a plush interior it was much more the slick motorway cruiser than the frenzied race-bred machine of the TC, RS16 ilk.Each car was fitted with a 4-speed, all syncromesh g/box with a slick remote g/change but there was two different types used in the MKI.The TC/RS16/Mexico used the '2000E' while the RS2 used the later 'Type E'. There are a differences in the ratios also on the 2000E reverse was right and back whereas the Type 9 was to the left and forward. All Escorts used the same hypoid bevel rear axle althougfh there were two different final drive ratios - 3.77:1 on the TC/RS16/Mexico and the more relaxed 3.54:1 on the RS2's.Brakes, positive if not spectacular were of the disc/drum arrangement with vaccum servo assistance, 9.62" front discs and 9 x 1.75" drums. This goes for all Escorts, I's and II's.The suspension was the same throughout the range being macpherson struts upfront and leaf springs/live rear axle at the rear.Mostly they came with 5.5" x 13" steel wheels although you could have optional 4-spoke RS style alloys at 6" x 13 inches.The bodyshape stayed the same throughout the MKI's life although there were some minor changes to the floorpans in 1973, mostly relocation of suspension mountings in line with the forthcoming MKII.The MKI was replaced in Jan 1975 with the more modern looking MKII.