Cars for the masses

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The Independent Online
The land for the Halewood site was bought in 1959 when Ford was refused permission to expand its Dagenham plant in Essex.

The plant finally opened in March 1963 with an Anglia being the first car coming off the production line.

It was the Anglia that the Escort replaced in 1968.

The first Escort was a 1.1 litre model, taking as long as 22.3 seconds to go from 0 to 62mph and with a top speed of 79mph.

There have so far been six generations of Escort.

Only in 1990, 1991 and 1996, when it was pipped by the Ford Fiesta, has the Escort failed to top the British best-selling car charts in the last decade.

Total world sales of the car since its 1968 launch have reached nearly 18 million.

An Escort which once belonged the Princess of Wales was later bought by the late business tycoon Robert Maxwell.

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