The Ford Escort Mexico was introduced in November 1970 and was so named because of Ford Motor Company’s victory in the World Cup Rally, which started in London on April 19, 1970, and finished some 16,000 miles later in Mexico.
Originally, Ford intended to use Escorts with the Twin-Cam or BDA engine, but after some local reconnaissance, it was decided that high speeds and large power outputs were less important than reliability and ease of servicing, and therefore the Kent pushrod engine was used in the Escort shell. It seems likely that Ford already had plans to produce a high-performance Escort to fit in the range between the 1300GT and the Twin-Cam/RS1600, but their victory in Mexico provided an ideal platform to launch such a model.
The engineers at the newly formed AVO (Advanced Vehicles Operations) quickly developed the Mexico, marrying the Type 49 bodyshell, as used in the Twin Cam and RS1600, with the 1,600-cc Kent crossflow engine and 2000E gearbox. So, effectively, the Mexico was basically a re-engined Twin-Cam/RS1600. The Mexico became AVO’s most successful and numerous of the Rally Sport Escorts, and had a number of advantages on the road, in that it had excellent performance, was easy to maintain, relatively easy to insure, and above all, it was great to drive, something which is still true today.