Flying the Ford Escort Rally Flag - Nick Lenthall

By: Dave Carey, Unique Cars magazine

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Ford Mark 2 Escort rear 1611 Ford Escort Mk2 Ford Mark 2 Escort rear 1611
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One of our blokes in Adelaide is limbering up for the upcoming Adelaide Motorsport Festival, which starts this Friday.

Flying the Ford Escort Rally Flag - Nick Lenthall
Nick's Escort gets used the way its makers intended - nice to see.

Unique Cars magazine's own Nick Lenthall is again putting his skills and metal on the line in the Classic Adelaide Rally, being run this week in conjunction with the Adelaide Motorsport Festival.

We caught up with Nick during a quick road test on a windy Adelaide Hills road, his Escort buzzing past our daily-driver blimpmobile like an angry, Pinto-powered wasp.

"We're just sorting a couple of things out," Nick explains of his impromptu shakedown, "Then I'll give it a wash and it's ready for scrutineering.

"In theory, the Escort was ready to race when he purchased it back in 2002, The idea was to do some cheap motorsport with my son, but every time we went near it, something fell off!"

The tired ex-gravel rally car had later been converted to Super Sedan specs. "It had a dirty great big wing on the back; I tested it at Mallala, took off the wing and picked up a second!" Nick laughs.

Once he'd committed to competing in the 2006 Classic Adelaide, Nick wisely decided to pull down the Escort and rebuild it from the ground up.

The Pinto OHC engine was worked over, with a pair of big 48mm sidedraught Webers plonked on the side and a straight-cut, close-ratio, five-speed Sierra box installed behind. Underneath, a five-link rear with LSD, single-leaf springs, Bilstein shocks and four-wheel discs brakes keep the hectic Escort in check when flying around the backroads.

This year's Rally is the tenth tarmac event Nick has shared with the Escort and the sixth he's done with co-driver, former Australian Rally Championship driver Rick Powell. Clearly the old Escort is in good hands and we look forward to it buzzing past again; this time on a closed stage and on full noise!



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