HLN909N my Escort Mexico: a jpoc car

HLN909N was my second ever car. This was another Mk1 Ford Escort but this time, a Mexico. The Mexico was a commemoration of the Escort's escapades in the World Cup Rally which finished in Mexico to mark that country's holding of the soccer world cup.

Ford set up a separate manufacturing operation, Advanced Vehicle Operations or AVO to build the competition versions of the Escort and the Mexico was one of these.

The car was basically a normal Mk1 Escort fitted with the 1600cc cross flow engine, revised suspension and a strengthened bodyshell.

Continuing the naming theme whereby BAR308F was named Barney, HLN909N should clearly have been called Helen but this was deemed an inappropriate choice and so the car was known as Micky the Mexico.

Micky was bright red and had a full length Webasto sun roof and a pair of Cibie Super Oscars up front to make him look like a real boy racers treat.

Compared to my previous car, Micky had a little more power and better handling but otherwise everything was pretty much the same and I was able to sort out most jobs on him with my own spanners. That was just as well as quite a lot seemed to go wrong. Because of this, I only kept Micky for ten months and about 8,000 miles.

One notable problem occurred one day when I was trying to engage reverse gear. Suddenly, the gear lever became very loose and it got very hard indeed to find a gear. I phoned ABP motorsport who were my favoured source of parts and expertise. I spoke to the proprietor's wife and she diagnosed the fault over the phone. A plastic bush at the bottom of the gearlever had broken up. ABP had their own non-standard fix. They brazed up a lump of metal onto the bottom of the lever and machined it to be the same as the original bush. Certainly it worked fine for me.

The final straw was when a stud holding the carb to the air filter worked loose and fell into the engine. Bang. The biggest problem that I had in fixing this was to remove the cylinder head. Once I had undone everything and reached the stage known as "Now, carefully lift the head away from the block", I discovered that I could not shift it! In the end, I jacked up the front of the car and placed a couple of stout timbers under the manifolds so that, as I lowered the jack, the weight of the car would be supported by the timbers and eventually that lifted the head!

When I had got everything back together and running again, I part exchanged Micky for my final RWD Escort, a MkII 1600 Sport. You can read about Spot the Sport soon.

There was a sad final chapter to Micky's life. The garage that took him from me shifted him on through the trade and he ended up in an auction in Shropshire. There while he was on display, it seems that somebody tried to steal the lights at the front. I had fitted anti theft nuts and so they failed but not before they had torn the wiring. Micky didn't sell and as he was being driven back, the damaged wiring caused a fire that burned out the dash and interior and sadly, that was it for Micky. He went no more after that.

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