TESTING THE WATER IN AUSTRALIA
Our feature car is an Australian-market version. Ford Australia was a bit hesitant to pit the Escort against Holden’s Torana and Leyland’s TC Marina and Mini Coopers, so the twin- cam version wasn’t introduced into Australia until March 1970, although Escort assembly was already in full swing. Despite some assembly quality issues, the little revver developed a strong following and soon proved its durability. Built at Ford Australia’s Homebush plant in Sydney, the Escort used fully imported drivetrains. The Australian version also received better trim, along with additional wood trim in the interior, and there was a greater range of colours, accounting for the eye-catching factory hue of our example. Camshaft covers were machined in Australia to counter oil leaks, and a GS pack was available. As with many of these cars, racing and rallying affected not only the engines but also complete cars, and, according to Ford AVO Owners Club records, today there are only 330 surviving genuine Lotus Twin Cam cars worldwide out of the original 1263 Twin Cams built. Motoring writers of the day criticized the minor assembly quality shortcomings, but generally they praised the Escort’s handling, and braking, while its performance on dirt was regularly described as being exceptional — as one commentator put it: “unbelievable”, with “control way above standard — sheer fun to drive”.