There still a fair number of Mk1 Escorts out there, but buy with both eyes wide open. Rust is the Escort’s biggest enemy. Plus, if it’s a performance version, inspect closely for accident damage and/or bodged repairs. Fortunately, the Mk1 is well served by specialists. If you are not worried about period originality, you can upgrade using a more modern Ford engines (Zetec/Duratec/YB).
However, Escorts are no longer a budget buy. In fact, they haven’t been for quite some time. Expect to pay handsomely, even for a ‘poverty spec’ example. And, should you desire the genuine item, beware. Some unscrupulous sellers have ‘faked’ Twin Cams, RS1600s and the like, and buyers have been caught out. Seek advice from the AVO and RSOC Owners Clubs.