Ford Escort Mk1 + Mk2 - Reader's Rides

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ford escorts 1 Mk2 (left) and Mk1 (right) ford escorts 1
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Two generations of Ford Escort prove you can have a heap of fun on the track without spending an absolute fortune

Two generations of Escort prove you can have a heap of fun on the track without spending an absolute fortune

These gems are owned by Ian Price (Mk2) and Craig Wildridge (Mk1).

Ian: Mine started life as a 1.6 road car. It’s now got a two-litre Duratec Cosworth in it, It’s a crate motor straight from Cosworth in the UK, fully dry-sumped and ready to go. We’ve got 224 horsepower at the rear wheels and I’m running it in improved production, under two litres.

I built the car with Craig and Matt Wildridge, from the ground up. Matt does the bodywork, while Matt and I do the engineering. I found it as a rotting going concern, so we did a lot of bodywork on it and took about six months to get it to the point where we could get it scrutineered and signed off by CAMS as a fully-fledged race car.

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Currently it has a type 9 Ford Sierra gearbox in it, with a heavy-duty gearset, but I’m about to change it to a Hollinger. It will still be a five-speed.

Craig: This is a 1976 Mk1, which started life as a 1300 road car. Between me and my son I’ve got a handful of Escorts. My first car was a mini, and my second was a Capri. But a Mk1 Escort was our wedding car – it was nothing special at the time.

I’ve been racing since the 1980s, starting with a Cortina. I did move to a Capri with a V8 but decided that was totally unaffordable and changed to Escorts in improved production under two litres. The popular cars are the front-wheel-drives, but I just can’t do it! It has to be rear-wheel-drive and chrome bumper.

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The engine is an HE Duratech, out of the Ford Focus. We just turned it and put it the ‘right’ way round, with an RX7 close-ratio gearbox, a 1:1 five-speed. The throttle bodies are 45mm, but we’re looking at going a little larger. It’s making 197hp at the wheels at the moment, which is not enough. In our category, 230-ish is the benchmark.

I can keep up with the more powerful cars (which are heavier), but you can only do that so long before it starts sliding around. It’s good to drive them semi out of control!

 

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