Calvin’s Ford Escort MK2 ‘2.1 litre’ (1978)


The Ford Escort needs no introduction. Ford’s behemoth “every man car” sold over 4 million units throughout its 33 year lifespan. Once a throwaway car that hit the scrap heap once rust had taken hold, classic Ford Escorts have now become exceptionally valuable with people paying over £100,000 for some of the RS models.

The MK2 Escort was released in 1975 and featured a more boxy, angular appearance than its predecessor. The car was codenamed “Brenda” during production (Ford had a habit of giving their cars codenames that sounded like your mother-in-law).

The Escort MK2 came in a range of body styles including 2-door coupe, 4-door saloon, Estate car, and panel van. Like most Fords of the 70’s they were offered up with a range of engine sizes (from 1.0 litre up to 2.0 litre) and featured a live axle and leaf spring set up at the rear, and MacPherson struts up front.

The Owner: Calvin, Age 50, Lives in Cumbria, UK
The Owner: Calvin, Age 50, Lives in Cumbria, UK

Dream Car: A Ford RS200, because that would be a lot of fun!

It’s the 2-door coupe that everyone wants to get their hands on now. Ford had already honed the MK1 Escort for competition on the racetrack and rally stages (the London to Mexico rally win being one of their most famous at the time) and they made no secret of having motorsport capabilities high up on the agenda when it came to the design of the MK2.

MK2 Escorts are still hugely competitive in rallying today (even when pitted against far more modern machinery). Ford produced a car that was lightweight, had sublime balance and manoeuvrability, and could be modified in a myriad of ways. The lack of supply and relatively low survival rate of good 2-door donor cars (to be turned into rally machines) has now helped drive values of 4-door cars up too!

You only have to glance at the pictures to see that Calvin’s Escort has been hugely modified. It’s now sporting a frenzied 2.1 litre pinto with a ported head, custom cam AND breathing through a pair of side-draught Weber twin DCOE carbs. For many MK2 Escort fans THIS is the kind of car they envision when they take a rusty old Escort home to rebuild. We love it, every bit of it! Read the interview below to find out what Calvin’s done to this car…

Please note – photo credit on some of these pictures goes to Adrian Brannan

5 from 1 vote

Ford Escort MK2 ‘2.1 litre’ (1978)

Calvin's MK2 Escort is a proper "hooner". Fitted with a highly-tuned 2.1 litre pinto, and a limited-slip differential it was practically born to go sideways! (see video at bottom of page)
Model Year 1978
Model Escort MK2
Make Ford
Keywords classic british, fast ford, ford, Lowered, Modified, restomod


  • 185 spec 2.1 pinto with a redline racing big valve ported head and custom cam twin 45 webber DCOE's!
  • 5-speed "type 9" gearbox fitted, also uprated with straight-cut gears!
  • Tran-X limited-slip differential unit in the rear axle!
  • Willwood 4 pot brake calliper conversion up front!
  • Gaz adjustable coilover front struts, Gaz adjustable rear shocks, and single de-cambered rear leaf springs.
  • Front spoiler, rear spoiler, rear window louvres and new badges at rear and on the wings.
  • The car has been repainted in metallic blue, and sits on 7×13 Minilite wheels, wrapped in 175/50/13 tyres.
  • Freshly re-trimmed RS2000 fishnet Recaro interior new carpets custom dial and switch pods up to date stereo, black headlining and sun-visors and more inside!
  • Omex Rev limiter, strut brace, battery re-located in boot electric fuel pump and regulator.

Interview with the owner

  • When did you first purchase the car Calvin?
    3 years ago.
  • What made you go for a MK2 Escort?
    I grew up with them and learned to drive in them and they are a lot of fun to drive.
  • What's it like to drive?
    Very good! It drives well, it is fast enough, handles well is VERY tail happy.
  • Ok let's waste no time here, and talk modifications, because the car is jammed packed with them, what have you done to the car?
    Well… there's a bit of a list here. But in terms of upgrades and modifications I've done work to the engine, the gearbox, the axle, brakes, suspension and tyres. It's also had a respray and sits on a custom set of wheels.
  • Let's start with the powerplant then, what's been changed there?
    185 spec 2.1 pinto with a redline racing big valve ported head and custom cam, and twin 45 Webber DCOE's!
  • What about the gearbox?
    I have a 5-speed type 9 box in it but also have an uprated straight cut type 9 ready to fit!
  • And you mentioned some axle upgrades?
    Yeah, I've fitted a Tran-X limited slip diff in the back. It's an old Ford so…
  • Brakes and suspension next, what magic have you worked there?
    The front brakes have been upgraded to Willwood 4 pots.
    In terms of suspension, it's a set of Gaz adjustable coilover front struts, and Gaz adjustable rear shocks. It's also got single de-cambered rear leaf springs!
  • What have you done with the paint bodywork?
    So I had the car repainted in metallic blue. I've then added a Mexico style front spoiler, a rear spoiler, rear window louvres, and some new badges at the rear and on the wings.
  • What have you done with the wheels & tyres?
    It sits on 7J x 13inch Minilites, wrapped in 175/50/13 tyres.
  • What have you done with the interior?
    It's been freshly re-trimmed RS2000 with fishnet Recaro interior.
    It's had new carpets, custom dial and switch pods, up to date stereo, black headlining and sun-visors.
    I've also fitted all new seatbelts including retrofitting rear belts (because they didn't have any originally!)
  • What other mods have you done?
    An "Omex" rev limiter, a strut brace, the battery has been relocated to the boot, it's had an electric fuel pump and regulator too.
  • Is the car a "keeper" or will you sell it one day?
    Never say never!
Owner: Calvin
Model: Escort MK2
Make: Ford
Keywords: classic british, fast ford, ford, Lowered, Modified, restomod

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  1. 5 stars
    What a beauty!

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