Back in 1973, Liverpool & Bootle Constabulary (who later became Merseyside Police) took delivery of a fleet of 27 MK1 two door Ford Escort Mexico’s. One of them, HKF 884L, is believed to be the sole survivor of this batch and is today owned by Graham Carter. Here’s his story…..
In July 2010, I was offerred HKF 884L from someone who had discovered it in a garage in Manchester, where it had stood since 1991. It was in a poor state. The engine was seized, there was little left of the interior and the body was not good. It did, however, still retain it’s calibrated speedo and zipped roof lining (to gain access to the roof electrics) both of which helped to substantiate it’s background.
Initially I turned it down but being a fan of these cars (and a retired Police Officer), naturally I was interested in its background. I contacted Merseyside Police and spoke to Tony Roach, a retired advanced driving instructor who is now a volunteer archivist for the force. He remembered the MK1 Mexico’s with much enthusiasm and confirmed that HKF 884L was one of the fleet of 27 Mexico’s that the force had bought to replace their Morris Marina’s.
The Mexico’s were urban traffic cars and, unlike the usual Ford Escort panda cars, were driven only by advanced traffic officers. Interestingly Tony’s wife, who was a Police Traffic Officer at the time, actually drove HKF 884L and this is documented in her notebook from 1973.
Anyway, based on my conversation with Tony I returned and bought the car in August 2010 and so the rebuild began. It needed numerous new panels including sills, inner front wings, front panel, rear panel, a new interior and full respray.
This was completed and the car returned to the road in June 2012. Then it was a matter of trying to calculate the measurements of the roof box and getting a copy made, together with sourcing the blue light and the 2 tone horns.
With the car now finished I’ve attended a few shows throughout 2012 and 2013. In April 2013 I returned to Liverpool to a Police Traffic Officers Reunion, where the officers who drove these cars back then were very pleased to see a survivor from those days!
I would just like to thank Tony Roach for all his help with this project and, without whom, I would probably not have gone ahead with this restoration. Tony is trying to trace a couple of unmarked Escort Mexico’s (GKA 146N and GKA 147N) which were from the old Police driving school wing. They were both green in colour and if anyone has any information it would be much appreciated.
Our thanks to Graham for providing this interesting article. If anyone would like to contact either Graham or Tony, please email us and we will forward your message on.