No you’re not seeing double!! This is a genuine MK1 Escort Mexico with four doors and (at the time of writing this article) it is owned by Harry Sterling from the UK. Back in the seventies Ford built six Mexico’s like this, four of which went to Jersey to be used as Police cars. Another went to the North of England and the other was kept by the Ford Motor Company for their own use. This particular car was built in December 1971 at the Ford AVO factory and was one of the cars exported to Jersey to be used as a Police car.
Harry Sterling bought the car in June 1975 from Blackmill Car Sales in South Wales, not knowing how unusual it was, or of its history. The owner of the garage had been using it since buying it in Leicester the previous year. Around September 1975, while attempting to buy a clutch from the local RS dealership in Cardiff, it became clear that the car was no ordinary Mexico.In fact telephone calls were made to London to establish the fact that it was a genuine 4 door Mexico. It was at this time that Harry was told that there had been six built, four going to the Jersey Police and one to a garage owner in the North of England.
Harry continued to use the car as his every day vehicle, his business being a heating engineer. In 1977 he bought an Escort estate car for business use and the Mex was used by his eldest son John, until the Summer of 1979 when the car was taken off the road for restoration work. In its time with the Sterlings its mileage had gone from around 28000 to 84000, a new clutch was fitted, the engine received an overhaul, new rings and bearings etc, a new Weber carb fitted and Bilstein World Cup suspension fitted all round.
In 1979, new outer front wings and front panel were fitted and the shell was stripped and professionally resprayed in the original Ermine White. Over the next ten years the car was slowly rebuilt. The work took such a long time due to the heavy work commitments of Harry’s sons, and the participation in club rallying of his youngest son David. However, in June 1990, the car was MOT’d for the first time in ten years and Harry began to show it at both national and local shows.
Many people who visit the shows will recognise him in his police helmet and flashing police light on top of the car! In 1991, after its restoration, Harry took the car on a return journey to the Jersey AVO show and managed to find a Police Sergeant who remembered the cars and in particular the heavy clutches!
Our thanks to Jon Sterling (Harry’s son) for submitting this interesting article.
It would appear that this Mexico has changed hands since this original article was written and we were pleased to catch up with the current owner, Daniel Sell, at AVO Day 2013. Daniel has continued to preserve the car and has carried out some sympathetic light restoration and added a pinstripe. Thanks for showing us around the car Daniel and here are some pictures of the car taken on the day.