Market Finds: Here’s A Classic Ford Rally Car That’s Been Made Faster Than Ever

Here’s A Classic Ford Rally Car That’s Been Made Faster Than Ever

By Andrew Golseth
April 25, 2016
7 comments

Photography Courtesy of Cool & Vintage

When I think classic sport coupes, the first cars that come to mind are the Datsun 510, BMW 2002, and Alfa Giulia Sprint. They’re the tossable compacts that I grew up lusting after: one from Japan, one from Germany, and one from Italy—just about all the regions covered. Admittedly, I’ve always known about the early Ford Escort models, but I seem to unfairly forget about them, and I think most of our cliqué in North America has, too.

I’m not sure why, because they’re popular in Europe…and scanning the images of this Mk1 1974 Ford Escort RS2000 certainly makes me feel foolish for not taking more notice, sooner.

Being a Ford, it’s the perfect “American” counterpart to the aforementioned vintage metal, and in race trim it is every bit as cool—though, it’s really a European Ford. The blister arches, wide Minilite wheels, and lowered ride height are typical characteristics of similar racers of the era, and they look right at home on this Mk1. The bumpers were removed, the entire greenhouse received Plexiglass windows, and a fiberglass hood and trunk were installed to keep things brisk.

Like a healthy lifestyle, a diet is nothing without exercise, so Julian Godfrey Engineering was tasked with chiseling an engine on par with the Escort’s tough looks. The result is a 2.0-liter 2000-cc inline-four producing a healthy 103 hp-per-liter! To rein in all the ponies, a ZF five-speed manual transmission with an AP Racing clutch was chosen to send power through the LSD equipped Atlas rear axle with floating half shafts. With all that power on tap, it’s reassuring to know Monte Carlo AP brakes with front-to-rear adjustability were installed, in addition to a hydraulic handbrake.

For safety, a full roll cage, pair of fixed Sparco bucket seats, trunk-mounted fuel cell, quick disconnect wheel, and an automatic fire-suppression system were installed. Additional strut braces keep the light chassis stout, while adjustable Bilstein coilovers add enough range to dial in optimal ride height and dampening settings.

With an alleged £135,000 (nearly $200,000) in restoration costs, it’s evident this Ford racer is a serious no-expense-spared build. With just hours of drive time since completion, this might just be the most turn-key race-ready Mk1 Escort currently on the market. It’s not inexpensive, but we imagine you’ll forget about the cost once you’re behind the wheel…drifting sideways with a grin on your face!

Specifications

~206 horsepower, 2.0-liter 2000 cc inline four-cylinder, five-speed manual SZ transmission, Bilstein coilover conversion, Monte Carlo front and rear disc brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5 in.

Valuation

Dealer: Cool & Vintage
Asking Price: P.O.R.

 

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Fernando Souto
Fernando Souto
5 years ago

When I was 18 my father took me to look at one of these escorts for my first car.
We met the owner in an open lot were he started it up. The thing came to life with grumbling roar and the guy asked me if I wanted to drive it. It seemed that at that moment my father and I had the same thought…I’m gonna die in this thing! My father turned to the guy and said it’s just too much car for him at the moment.

Todd Cox
Todd Cox
6 years ago

Gorgeous car! I’ve been coveting one for about 3 years now when they first appeared on my radar. I love when a mass production car is gorgeous and so capable; better yet that so many have great memories on them because they were so attainable.

If I had the coin, this would bee mine. Too bad Guitar Slinger doesn’t understand cars or auto enthusiasts. If he did, he might understand what this site was all about. Thanks again, Petrolicious for another awesome article and pictorial.

De Dion
De Dion
6 years ago

£135k is just ridiculous. There is just no way you can put that much money on a simple car like this. It’s not even the much rarer RS1600.

Ae Neuman
Ae Neuman
6 years ago

love the car !
£135k is very reasonable.
it would make a great companion to an alfaholics 105

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago

In all honesty there’s so many things blatantly wrong with this car [ including the absurd and ludicrous restoration costs quoted ] it’d take me half the day and at least ten posts just to cover it all … so rather than even try I’ll borrow a quote with a minor twist from ” Deliverance ”

‘ It aint right ‘

But in answer to the question regarding why the Escort Mk1 and Mk2’s never caught on here that one’s simple . The car was never exported here and Rallying was [ and still is ] barely on anyone’s radar in the US . But for those of us who’ve followed rallying since the 60’s the Escort is legendary . Which is to say Mr Golseth … sometimes it really is good to be old(er) 😉

JB21
JB21
6 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

Absolutely correct. The same with Lotus/Ford Cortina, Mk1/2 Escorts are the Ford that pretty much no Americans ever paid any attention to because they didn’t know. Oh, till one of the Fast and Furious movies, of course, that was one of the best car-casting.

Martin Philippo
Martin Philippo
6 years ago

oh boy…..