Ford Escort jest jednym z najbardziej utytułowanych samochodów w sporcie, a jego historię sukcesów otworzyli Brytyjczycy w 1968 roku, montując w nim silnik 1,6 l z podwójnym wałkiem rozrządu z Lotusa Cortiny. Ford Escort Twin Cam powstał jedynie w 883 sztukach, a najbardziej rozbudzały wyobraźnię te, które startowały w rally crossie, rajdach i wyścigach. Okaz wystawiony na aukcji to oryginalny Ford Escort Twin Cam, który był samochodem zapasowym ekipy Alan Mann Racing Team w serii British Touring Car Championship. Był to zespół, który w 1968 i 1969 roku sięgnął po mistrzostwo tej serii. Egzemplarz ma za sobą start w kilku wyścigach i głównie testową karierę, a dziś możemy podziwiać go po renowacji w pełne krasie. Ford posiada oryginalne nadwozie pełne oryginalnych modyfikacji teamu Alan Mann Racing oraz pakiet zawieszenia zaprojektowany przez Lena Bailey’a, twórcy podwozia i bazy Forda GT40. Samochód waży 878 kg bez kierowcy, a wyposażony jest w nowy silnik w specyfikacji wyczynowej FVA, co oznacza imponujące 240 KM osiągnięte z wolnossącej jednostki o pojemności zaledwie 1,6 l. Ta fenomenalna konstrukcja wyceniana jest na £200,000 – 250,000 czyli ok. 1 – 1,2 mln PLN. Nowy właściciel wszedł w jej posiadanie na aukcji Goodwood Members Meeting, za cenę £201,600.
The ex-Alan Mann Racing, Jackie Oliver
1968 FORD ESCORT TWIN CAM COMPETITION SALOON
£200,000 – 250,000
PLN 990,000 – 1,200,000
GOODWOOD MEMBERS' MEETING
19 Mar 2017, 14:00 GMT
The ex-Alan Mann Racing, Jackie Oliver
1968 Ford Escort Twin Cam Competition Saloon
Registration no. XOO 347F
Chassis no. BB48GP18167
*Ford-supplied works car
*Raced in period in the British Touring Car Championship
*Restored between 2011 and 2014
*New Geoff Richardson FVA engine
*Ready to race
The arrival of the Escort Twin Cam at the start of 1968 marked the second phase of Ford UK’s production-car based competitions programme that had commenced with the Lotus Cortina. The latter had used the Ford-based 1.6-litre Lotus Twin Cam engine to good effect, and combining this unit with the smaller and lighter Escort bodyshell would prove to be an inspired move. Reputedly, Ford’s Competitions Manager, Henry Taylor had seen a prototype Escort being tested and recognised its potential. A feasibility study commenced at the Competitions Department’s Boreham factory in March 1967, which proved that although the list of modifications required to install the bulky Twin Cam engine and 2000E gearbox was a lengthy one, the transplant was possible. The project duly got the 'green light' and a dedicated Twin Cam production line was set up at Ford’s Halewood plant on Merseyside where the cars were assembled by a hand picked team using the stronger export-specification Escort two-door bodyshell. Production proper got under way in the spring of 1968 after the first 25 Twin Cams had been assembled at Boreham. Group 3 homologation (500 units built) was achieved in March ’68 and Group 2 (1,000 units) in May.
Competition success had been the Twin Cam’s raison d’être and Ford’s new baby was soon delivering the goods. A pair of the Boreham-built Twin Cams dominated the televised Croft rally-cross meeting in February 1968, demonstrating its potential to an audience of millions, while the car’s first major international success was achieved that March when Ove Andersson and John Davenport finished 3rd in the San Remo Rally. The Twin Cam’s first outright win was achieved by Roger Clark in the Circuit of Ireland Rally at Easter. Despite a short works career that ended in 1971, the Escort Twin Cam won the World Rally Championship for Makes twice, in 1968 and ’69, and helped the Alan Mann Racing-entered Frank Gardner take the British Touring Car Championship in ’68. The Alan Mann cars all used Cosworth’s Formula 2 engine – the FVA – which was based on the Twin Cam cylinder block and thus eligible under the UK’s relaxed Group 5 rules.
Ford UK’s fastest production model when launched, the Escort Twin Cam and its Cosworth-engined successors would go on to be Ford’s most successful competition cars prior to the arrival of the Sierra RS Cosworth in the 1980s.
'XOO 347F' is one of the six original Escorts that Ford loaned to the Alan Mann Racing Team in 1968 to compete in the British and European Touring Car Championships. '347′ was used as the spare car in the British Championship and was driven on occasion by Jackie Oliver. Once, at Brands Hatch, Jackie finished in front of Frank Gardner who was driving the championship-winning 'XOO 349F'. Driving '347′, Oliver finished 2nd behind Roy Pierpoint’s Ford Falcon. Intriguingly, the related press cutting on file refers to Oliver’s Escort as being supercharged to run in the big class.
After the Alan Mann team had completed the 1969 British Championship season with Frank Gardner in '349′ (fitted with a Twin Cam engine), all of the remaining five cars were returned to Boreham. Don Moore ran '347′ in Shell colours for Gillian Fortesque-Thomas in UK national races in 1972 as a test mule for the new alloy block Cosworth BDA engine at 2,060cc and 260bhp. In 1973 Alec Poole purchased the Escort (now fitted with a new fuel-injected 1,800cc BDA) and shipped it to Guyana. Poole raced the car in 1974 and sold it on to Harry Watkins in ’75. In 1977 '347′ went to Trinidad and subsequently was sold to Greg Cozier, who shipped it back to the UK in 2010.
John Mitchell then bought '347′ from Greg and commenced a meticulous rebuild of the car to its original 1968 Group 5 specification. Prior to purchase and rebuild, its originality had been confirmed by Alan Mann, and after completion in June 2014, Alan’s son Henry raced the Escort at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed, winning the Pre-’82 Touring Car Class.
The bodyshell has a number of unique Alan Mann Racing modifications, and a suspension package designed by Len Bailey who penned the Ford GT40 chassis. The fragile Cosworth FVAs were all returned to Ford, so a Geoff Richardson 240bhp FVA – built from new components – is installed today together with a magnesium-cased 2000E 'Bullet' gearbox. The English (as opposed to German) rear axle is modified to accept fully floating hubs and rear discs, and has coil-over Öhlins dampers together with a unique five-bar link and torsion bar arrangement. The front suspension utilises the original McPherson strut as a sliding member and has additional inboard-mounted coil-over Öhlins dampers. In addition to the somewhat sparse original 1968 safety features, the roll cage, seat, harness, fuel cell, and fire extinguishing system all meet the current FIA regulations. The car weighs 878kg without driver. The engine has done one Goodwood Festival of Speed event, two test sessions, and three 1-hour races. Accompanying documentation consists of a V5C Registration certificate, Geoff Richardson Engineering engine specification sheet, and an Essex County Council letter confirming that 'XOO 347F' was first registered to the Ford Motor Company Ltd, Warley.
With many destroyed in active service, and most of the rest in museums or private collections, works Ford competition cars are rarely offered for sale on the open market. Presented in excellent condition, this works Escort, belonging to the factory’s famous 'XOO'-registered series of competition cars, represents a possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for collectors.