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