POWr Multi Slider

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The era of Ford Escort's: From Hot Wheels Ford Anglia to the Matchbox RS Cosworth



With the new Hot Wheels 1970 Ford Escort RS1600 gaining wide appreciation mostly due to it's appearance in the Fast and Furious 6 movie, this is not the first time the Escort name has been done in diecast:  Over the decades the Escort, though in Euro-spec, has been replicated for almost each generation, including the predecessor the Ford Anglia that it replaced.  The Escort has even seen its share of the times by going to Front-wheel drive in the 1980's, then return to rear-wheel drive in the RS Cosworth in the 1990's.  While there's plenty to show (and one of them, the original Hot Wheels 1980 Ford Escort XR4i, is not shown here), here's a few of the models from different manufacturers over the course of several generations.



Click Here for Photo Gallery


First, the predecessor was the Anglia line that was a popular compact Ford vehicle for Europe and Austraila for two decades, and this fourth-generation version was the last introduced in 1959.  The styling adopted the U.S. car lines with a hint of Studebaker Starliner at the front.  The front has round headlights just above the fenders, like the 1957 Thunderbird, with an arched grille flanked by signal lights.  While at the rear it sports jet-like taillights from the '57 Thunderbird, but not all was smooth here as the roof area was still square to acommidate four people in comfort and a respectable trunk.  The interior features seating for four with a dashboard layout that has gauges behind the steering wheel and radio controls in the center.  The base shows off some driveline details with the most focus being on the rear footwell recesses.  The powertrain is a 997 CID I-4 that produces less than 100 hp. through a 4-speed manual to the rear wheels, and acceleration was sluggish at best.  Only two variants were made of this Hot Wheels casting: the blue one for the Harry Potter movies promo and this flat gray 2005 version with racing decals and 10-spoke wheels.  Despite the quirky looks, this is one highly-desirable casting; heck if I can remember this was the only version that I saw back then!



Click Here for Photo Gallery


By the 1980's the land was changing and more automakers were adapting to Front-wheel drive platforms from Rear-wheel drive models, and the Escort was one of them.  The new platform goes on a body that has the same aero look as the Ford Sierra, with flush-mounted headlights and grille.  The rear has a typical boxy look with stacked taillights (incorrect: the 2-door sedan had horizontal taillights).  This Maisto version looks bloated and homely, but at least it has an interior even though there leaves much to be desired (especially the dashboard) in details.  This red with white 16i racing graphics gives this casting a sporty look, though other variations were less impressive (there was a multi-colored police car offered one if you need an example).  The interior was a typical Euro-car layout with simple control layout, while the engine was a 1.6L I-4 that produced 100 (est.) hp through a 4-speed manual and to the front wheels for the first time.  As Ford touted the Escort a 'world car', the US version finally arrived in the 1980's, with a different look than the Euro Escort!





Click Here for Photo Gallery


In the 1990's the aero look was starting to mature (just like the US car line) with the next-generation featuring a longer front hood and a shorter rear hatchback.  This Majorette version looks great a yellow race livery, featuring clear headlights with smaller grille and metal front bumper.  The sides feature opening doors to the interior, while the rear has a rear spoiler, ESCORT carved into the decklid, metal bumper, and taillights that look similar to the 1996 3-series hatchback (Ford was first).  Like the Maisto the interior wasn't much to look at, though it has seats and a dashboard.  Kudos goes toward the metal base with working suspension.  The powertrain is a 1.6L ZETEC I-4 that produces 104 hp. through a 5-speed manual.






Click Here for Photo Gallery


Of course, for something more extreme then look at the 1994 Ford Escort RS Cosworth.  While it looks like a 3-door Escort hatchback on the outside, underneath it is a different platform, using the defunct Ford Sierra platform.  This means Rear wheel drive returns for the first time since the 1970's!  The engine uses a 2.0L DOHC Cosworth  turbo I-4 that produces 217 hp. to the rear wheels by a 5-speed manual.  This Matchbox version was the best while it lasted, with the first version in the Rally Racing white with blue wave graphics, sponsor logo's, and a blue interior.  The front has the same Escort headlights and grille, but with a revised lower front bumper, wider fender flares, and hood vents.  At the rear is the famed whale tail rear spoiler (a separate plastic piece) with the typical Escort rear end and a rear bumper that is part of the white plastic base, but seems unnoticeable here.  The gold SuperFast wheels, not a bright point in the Tyco-era Matchbox, look great here, and has a suspension that gives functionality while not making the car too bouncy.  The base shows off the excellent drivetrain and exhaust pattern, while the interior shows off the recaro front seats and nice dashboard layout.  It's hard to tell if it has a rear seat thanks to the frosted rear side windows (odd, but neat).  This casting seen several variations, looked good with the later 5-spoke wheels, and then disappeared after 2001, but only this racing decal for the 1994 first release is the best by far!


Click Here for Photo Gallery


After 2000 the Focus took over the torch for the Ford compact car line, including the performance versions, but while the Escort line looks less impressive in the last few generations, no one can doubt the success of the Escort's performance and rally heritage that still continues today on the Ford Focus.

No comments:

Post a Comment