Elliott - Escort Mk1
looks like a Mk1 Escort resto with classic Mexico stripes. But take
glance under the bonnet and you'll find it's not so original...
Garath Charlton Photos: Jon Hill
we react when something stops us doing the thing we love speaks volumes
for anyones character, tenacity and drive. We could be talking
the credit crunch hitting your project plans hard, arc-eye stopping
you from finishing off that full roll cage or blistered palms preventing...
well, you get the idea.
an accident on the oval circuits led to a neck injury and doctors
ruling out his life-long love of competitive racing, Peter Elliott
shrugged it off and, rather than leave behind the world of barking
sidedraughts and sideways glory, took his love of classic Fords straight
to the streets. My mum and dad always had Escorts, which is
why my roots are with Mk1s, says Peter, of his love affair.
Ive had plenty, a lime green Mk1 was the last one I built,
and there was a red Mk1 Mexico which caught fire, so I cut out the
engine bay and fitted a 2.8 V6 just for something a bit different.
alternative is the key, and its Peters latest Mk1 that were
here to see and with good reason its a stunner. I
was going to build a Mk2 as I was finding a Mk1 so difficult to get
hold of, but I was asking around one day when I heard of an old Mk1
in a barn turns out if hadnt been on the road since 1989!
he laughs. It was a right mess: sills on top of sills, top plate
on top plate, arches on top of each other; a real mess. I put it on
a roll-over jig at the house and got to work...
original intention was to put a few grand into it and do it up,
but it snowballed and I decided to do it exactly as I wanted.
Basically, this was to be a once in a lifetime build, and Peter
was determined to get it right. This meant a lot of hard work,
seven-day working weeks and saving before Peter had the money
up front to pay for all the bits needed for his dream build. The
main idea was for me to build a car I could use, says Peter,
something I could give a good thrashing and represent what
I stand for. I thought Id do it once and do it well. And
I always wanted the Vauxhall engine, basically because I know
everything about them.
Of The Vaux
engine in question is, of course, an absolute screamer, tuned
to within an inch of its life to provide a dyno-proven 249 bhp
and monster 204 lb.ft of torque. Based on a John Cleland championship-winning
grasstrack engine, the 2-litre lump has an Ultra-lite all-steel
bottom end, heavily-worked, big-valve QED Coscast type head with
hydraulic lifters, Anthony Hawkins-spec pick-up hot rod cams,
heady 12.3:1 compression ratio and a pair of Weber 45 DCOES. A
glorious custom-built for the engine Simpson manifold hangs off
the side which Peters begrudgingly had to heat-wrap, and
feeds into a stainless-steel exhaust. Which means the XE sounds
awesome even on tickover.
rev range of the cams is 4000-9000, says Peter. The
limiters set to 9 and its been there! We played around
with the cam timing a fair bit so theyre coming in at about
3500, as it just wasnt driveable as it was, especially with
the on-off, triple-plate sintered clutch. I never thought it would
be as smooth as it is, I couldnt believe it really for the
the best part of 250 bhp and a brutal power delivery Peters ensured
every tiniest component and upgrade is done to the highest quality and
built to sustain prolonged abuse, while avoiding the rattly race-car-for-the-road
feel. Mike Halliwell did all the one-off components like the steering
column with phosphorus bronze bushes, the con-rods, crank, gearstick conversion,
machining the rocker cover and any brackets, he says. And
Eugene Farrell did most of the fabrication work; without his help theres
no way it would be this good. Sounds like a lengthy list of one-off
parts, and thats not the half of it...
first: the twin-cam up front is mated, via an Ultra-lite steel
flywheel, to a Tran-X four-speed straight-cut box using an alloy
bellhousing, through a heavy duty RecoProp 4-inch propshaft to
a five-linked strengthened English axle complete with Panhard
rod. Fully adjustable TCAs and compression struts are used, along
with eccentric top mounts to mount the Koni 2.25-inch coilovers,
and a 2.25-ratio quick rack fitted with custom-made lowered steering
arms. I went to Rally Design for the crossmember with lowered
rack mounts, says Peter. Ive also had to bend
arms to accommodate bump steer as I wanted the car to run so low.
Theres a 2.4-ratio quick-rack, but since the racks
been lowered and the arms adjusted its about half a turn
from lock to lock! Youve got to really know the car or itll
just spin out.
had to make the pedal box too, as the starter motor had been in
the way Ive had to move the clutch pedal across for the
steering column to pass where it needed to then the gearsticks
been made as Ive pulled the steering and pedal box back
and didnt want to be reaching
for the gears.
all about weight distribution, and the race-bred touches dont
end there: how about the removable footwell panel which means
the gearbox can be accessed and removed in no more than 20 minutes?
Or the work-of-art historic-rallying-spec
roll cage? Peters not been afraid to build his car his way,
without worrying about winning scene points or earning
plaudits on forums. Everythings been meticulously planned
to ensure ease of maintenance and reliability in the future
make no mistake, Peter gives it plenty of beans, but hasnt
cut corners on quality of finish.
cut out all the spring brackets now its five-linked,
seam-welded the whole car, and gusseted and triangulated the engine
bay, says Peter.
All the diff tunnels been cut out and the firewall made
by Eugene. And whats that, a Mk1 Escort without Mexico wings?
I just dont like them, smiles Peter. I actually
took the brand new ones off the car and sold them to make a bit of money
back. I wanted the look to be completely symmetrical, and Ive
ended up making wings out of two pairs welding them up and extending
the lip by 20 mm. Its all stitch-welded in and completely flush.
a refreshingly self-orientated take on building a Mk1 Escort during
times when everyones got an opinion on how someone else should
build their car. What do we think? That its one of the best new
Escorts in a long time. just goes to show what can be achieved if you
put your mind to it and dont give up...
1972 1300 Sport shell, remade wings with 20 mm greater lip, new
sills, repair sections, gearbox and transmission tunnels, CDS and
T45 historic-spec roll cage seam welded and tied into suspension,
bumpers rechromed and straightened, gusseted and triangulated engine
bay, custom transmission and diff tunnels, 960 kg.
Vauxhall 2-litre XE, big-valve Coscast head, 12.3:1 compression
ratio, Kent KCD 1042/1045 pick-up cams, vernier pulleys, Ultra-lite
steel crank, rods and forged pistons, twin Weber 45 DCOEs, Facet
Red Top race pump, MBE fully mappable ignition, alloy big-winged
baffled sump, Simpson stainless exhaust manifold and system, Ultra-lite
steel flywheel, Ford Courier alloy radiator, Kenlowe electric fan,
custom alloy expansion tank and breather tank, Mocal 12-row oil
cooler, Vectra alternator and crank pulley, 249 bhp at 6950 rpm,
204 lb.ft of torque at 6050 rpm.
Tran-X four-speed straight-cut gearbox, SBD alloy bellhousing, Triple-plate
sintered clutch with
modified cable operation, Reco-Prop 4-inch large flange race propshaft,
Tran-X plate type LSD, 3.89:1 final drive ratio.
Koni 2.25 inch coilovers all round, 250 lb springs at front and
180 lb rear, eccentric fully adjustable roller bearing top mounts,
fully adjustable TCAs and compression struts, five-linked with Panhard
Capri 2.8i vented discs and callipers at front, Mk2 Fiesta disc
and calliper conversion at rear, braided lines throughout.
Wheels And Tyres
Laser-cut, polished and powdercoated 6Jx13 inch Laser four-spokes,
Group N Prodrive steering wheel, original six-clock dash, dashtop,
plumbed-in fire extinguisher system, OMP bucket seats, TRS harnesses.
Kits & Components | Duratec
Kits & Components | Hayabusa
Kits & Components | MBE
Press Coverage | Customer
|Home | Price
List | Site
Map | Contact
|Events | Press
Coverage | Meet
the Staff | Frequently
Asked Questions | Distributors, Dealers & Links | Sponsorship | Terms
Motorsport Ltd, Unit 15, Red Lion Business Park, Red Lion Road, Surbiton,
Surrey. KT6 7QD. Tel: 0208 391 0121.
Contact Details | Follow us on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter