Last night I settled down to watch an automotive program on terrestrial TV that wasn’t Top Gear. From the previews I was expecting great things, and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I didn’t want it to end. Top Gear is great for laughs and watching cars that are all shiny and bursting with horsepower, and whilst this program, For The Love Of Cars had its comedy moments, its main hook was the way in which it featured the car’s historic significance with a little mechanical knowledge, all in the name of resurrecting a rare Mk 1 Ford Escort Mexico. Presenter and car fanatic, Philip Glenister (also an actor in various Brit flicks) and internationally renowned car designer Ant Anstead’s series mission is to scour the barns and lock ups of Britain for wrecks to bring to life.
Money wasn’t an object, so everything done was executed properly. The rusty barn find (just a shell with a rotten front end) set them back a whopping £8K, and after restoring it with a certain look in mind, the presenter goes on a mission and delves into the world of the Mk 1 Escort by hanging out with various owners and clubs. His initial mind’s eye finish ends up completely different thanks to some expert knowledge and advice. This is the part that made the show so great.
American’s may not know this particular Ford as it’s small in comparison with the Mustangs and other Fords produced in the US around that period. The Escort Mexico was and still is considered one of the best rally cars ever made, and if you’re a fan of the Fast & Furious franchise, you’ll know the car from the sixth instalment (pictured below).
The Escort Mk1 and Mk2 chassis is so good, four decades on and it’s still used by amateur rally drivers. Did I say amateurs? Forgive me, as Ken Block claims his Mk 2 is one of the best cars to Hoon in. Check out the video below and see just how good the Escort is.
For The Love Of Cars also featured the Harris family, a South London family thought to have started the whole ‘Boy Racer’ craze. One of the older members took on the job of hand building the barn finds Mexico’s 1800cc engine – it was fantastic witnessing the skill and care that went into it.
The whole program was pure entertainment and extremely fascinating. Of course, I was straight on eBay looking up Mk1 Mexicos… you’d need around £25,000 to secure a decent one 🙁 Oh well, a man can dream…
If you haven’t watched it yet, For The Love Of Cars is aired on Ch4 on Sunday. Next week’s episode features a gorgeous Mk1 Land Rover.