Escort Mexico Mk1 - OYL 553L 
This is the story of my Escort Mexico so far after being restored on channel 4's hit programme "For the Love of Cars" 
Initially I was intending to sell the car on for profit but then decided to keep her as I was having too much fun driving it and showing it. 
She gets lots of invites to TV shows, car shows and obviously gets recognised in the streets. 
Take a look at the history of this now famous little Escort after being shut in a shed for twenty years and NO she's not for sale! 
The Escort was the right car at the right moment for Ford's Competition Department in Boreham, Essex. Famously, one morning in spring 1967, mechanic Bill Meade saw an Escort prototype on test and remarked to boss Henry Taylor, "Blimey one of those things would go like hell with a Lotus twin-cam in it". That remark led to the Escort twin-cam’s creation and the winning began in 1968. However, when it came to considering Ford's entries for the 1970 London to Mexico World Cup Rally, Ford driver Roger Clark suggested using the rally-proven heavy-duty Type 49 bodyshell, and replacing the powerful but troublesome Lotus engine with a simple reliable Cortina 1600GT unit, correctly reasoning that the 16,000 mile rally was more about endurance than out and out speed. 
Hannu Mikkola and Gunnar Palm won the event in FEV 1H, the world’s most famous Escort, and Ford capitalised by launching the Escort Mexico road car six months later. Built at their new Advanced Vehicle Operations Centre in Essex, the Mexico was effectively, like FEV 1H, an RS1600 but with the complex and expensive engine replaced by a 1600 Kent Crossflow. 
OYL 553L is a genuine AVO built Mexico and retains its original Type 49 bodyshell. From 1990 until rescued by Ant Anstead and his team from Evanta, it was stored in a garage in the South East, partially stripped and prepared for restoration. With help from Escort expert Chris Martin at Classic and Retro, Evanta have restored it to a very high standard in its original Sebring Red. In the tradition of the fast Ford they chose to subtly modify it as they restored it from a bare-metal shell. 
The engine is built to 125bhp fast road specification by Ford performance legend Jeff Harris of Harris Performance Engines using a 234 cam, glorious authentic twin Weber 40 DCOE carburettors, a 105 Speed stainless manifold and exhaust, H&H electronic ignition, a super efficient ProAlloy radiator and Samco black silicone hoses. The original 3-rail gearbox was rebuilt by Klassic Transmissions. The suspension features AVO height adjustable front struts using their custom springs and dampers plus AVO rear shocks and Rally Design single leaf parabolic rear springs all fastened to the car through SuperPro polyurethane bushes. Wilwood vented front discs using forged 4-pot callipers and Goodridge hoses ensure the braking performance lives up to the rest of the car. It's finished off by genuine Revolution 4-spoke alloy wheels running the soft Nankang tyres so beloved of Escort enthusiasts, which give the car a superb stance when allied to a subtle lowering of the ride height. The interior has been completely re-trimmed by Aldridge Trimming. 
Because of their high attrition rate in motor sport, genuine Type-49 AVO built Escort Mexicos are rare. This car's subtle modifications make it every Ford fan’s fantasy Escort Mexico made real, but crucially it retains the original car’s character. No expense has been spared on this build in order to capture for TV the building of the ultimate Escort Mexico. 
Production factory: Ford AVO Aveley Essex 
Production: Nov 1970 - Jan 1975 
Production vol: 10,352 (Mexico Mk1) 
April 2014, OYL gets restored on the very first of series of 
" For the Love of Cars" on Channel 4. Click here to see series clip  
Coys auction in London and I'm lucky enough to buy the car!  
2014, OYL appears on "The One Show" 
2014, OYL appears on "Sunday Brunch'' with Ant Anstead. 
2014 NEC Classic Car Exibition, OYL on the AVO stand with the London to Mexico world rally car FTW 48H. 
2014, South Eastern Vintage & Classic Vehicle Club show at Southend sea front. Click here to join the club  
Mac Tools UK event at the new Wing above the pits at Silverstone 
Mac Tools launch a ltd edition toolbox with the OYL's livery on! 
Alex Jones, Chris Evans and Jeremy Daldry, the series producer for "For the Love of Cars"  
MotorAid, our parent company are proud to sponsor this great event every year. 
Ant Anstead from "The Love of Cars" my son Freddie and me at the Mac Tools Gala evening.  
2016 Hope Rally, OYL was part of this outstanding charity event from Mercedes Benz World to Beaulieu Museum.  
Ant & Phil at Coys auction. 
Stuart Turner, Head of AVO 
Fred's first job, Exh gaskets  
Phil & I, second series  
1st place award at the Rates Ford show. 
Last one to leave the NEC! 
Front seal getting replaced. 
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