Kenny’s Ford Escort MK2 ‘Turbo’ (1980)

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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.

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!

Kenny’s MK2 Escort is a turbo-charged rally-spec brute. You don’t have to look far past the surface to see this (the forest arches and 8 inch wide wheels are a bit of a giveaway). However take a trip underneath the bonnet and you’ll see this car isn’t just a tuned up fast-road spec Escort. Featuring a 2.0 pinto with Cosworth pistons, a carburettor from a Lotus Esprit Turbo, and most importantly a Garrett turbo strapped on the side, to say this car is a bit of a handful is an understatement. Read the interview with Kenny below to find out more…

Please note: Photo credit on some of these pictures goes to Ade Brannan, and Jack Silverman.

Ford Escort MK2 “Turbo” (1980)

Kenny's MK2 Escort is no slouch thanks to a huge turbo bolted on the side of the engine. With its forest arches, wide wheels, and a limited slip diff, it's more at home on the rally stage than the road.
Model Year 1980
Model Escort MK2
Make Ford
Keywords 70’s, 80’s, classic british, classic car, classic ford, fast ford, ford, Modified, rally car, Turbo

Modifications

  • The engine is a 2.0 litre pinto, with Mhale pistons and Cosworth rods. The bores have also been lined.
  • The motor gulps air via Twin 45DHLA carbs (from a Lotus Esprit turbo), and this is mated with a Garret T04E turbo with external tail waste-gate and boost controller.
  • It's had a few… In fact it's chewed through a few MT75 gearboxes and Type-9's so the car is currently undergoing a more sustainable upgrade.
  • A "Tran-X" NXG plated limited-slip differential has been installed in the rear axle.
  • Wilwood 4 pot brake callipers installed, and suspension upgrades include coilovers, anti-tramp bars and a panhard rod.
  • The car is flared with forest arches, which have been seamlessly mounted to bodywork.
  • It sits on 13 x 8 Minilight wheels with AR-1 tyres.
  • Full MK2 escort RS2000 custom interior with black Recaro fishnets.

Interview with the owner

  • When did you first purchase the car?
    Around 16 years ago!
  • What made you go for a MK2 Escort then?
    I bought it at the age of 16 after having been brought up in a Ford household.
  • What's it like to drive?
    Plenty of fun and not for the faint hearted. It does surprise a lot of people actually!
  • We'll come on to modifications soon, but firstly, has the car been restored / rebuilt?
    Yes, the car has undergone a full nut and bolt restoration.
    We do all the work in-house from the shell preparation, engine building through to painting.
  • Ok, modifications, that's what we're all here for – what have you done to it?
    It's had mods done to the following:
    – Engine
    – Gearbox
    – Axle / Drivetrain
    – Brakes
    – Suspension
    – Bodywork
    – Wheels & Tyres
    – Interior
  • What have you done to the engine?
    The engine is a 2.0 pinto, with Mhale pistons and Cosworth rods.
    It's also had lined bores, Cometic head gasket and ARP bolts.
    In terms of fuel delivery it's got a pair of "Twin 45DHLA" carbs from a Lotus Esprit Turbo.
    Finally it's got a Garrett T04e turbo with external tail waste-gate and boost controller!
  • What have you done to the gearbox?
    Well it's gone through a few MT75 gearboxes and type-9's so it's currently undergoing a more sustainable upgrade!
  • What have you done to the axle / drivetrain?
    Tran-X NXG plated limited-slip differential.
  • What have you done to the brakes?
    Wilwood 4-pot brake calliper conversion.
  • What have you done to the suspension?
    Coilovers, anti-tramp bars and a panhard rod, but I've got more plans here.
  • What have you done to the bodywork?
    In terms of body work it's had flared forest arches fitted, and these have been seamlessly mounted to the bodywork.
  • What have you done with the wheels & tyres?
    It sits on 13 x 8 Minilight wheels, with AR-1 tyres.
  • What have you done with the interior?
    Full MK2 Escort RS2000 custom interior with black Recaro fishnets.
  • Do you plan to do any further modifications to it?
    Yes, as mentioned earlier it has a habit of eating gearboxes, so it's currently undergoing an upgrade to the gearbox and full competition interior and a 4-link rear end.
  • Is the car a "keeper" or will you sell it one day?
    I'll take it to my grave!
  • Ok final question – ignoring cost, and assuming you couldn’t go and sell it for profit… what’s your dream car and why?
    A Ford RS200… a rally icon and probably incredible to drive.
Owner: Kenny
Model: Escort MK2
Make: Ford
Keywords: 70’s, 80’s, classic british, classic car, classic ford, fast ford, ford, Modified, rally car, Turbo

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