Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Monte Carlo Escort

The mkII Escort is one of SuckSqueezeBangBlow's favourite cars and, as mentioned many times before, won more rallies at world, national and international level than any other car ever, including 17 WRC victories between 1975 and 1981.

One unusual and little-known variant is the Monte Carlo-spec Escort, built in 1978 to campaign in '79. There were three cars built to this spec at Boreham, with super-lightweight hand-fabricated shells. The cars had a much longer and wider track than other competition Escorts, with revised rear axle location and front suspension pick-up points. It's rumoured that the arches were made deliberately huge to try to disguise this fact, with drivers instructed to park away from other Group 4 Escorts in the paddock!
The engines were highly-tuned BDAs with Kugelfischer fuel injection, producing 272bhp, and were chassis-mounted to allow them to sit lower and further back in the body. The cars also featured huge AP Racing brakes, unique ultra-thin window glass and arches substantial enough to allow 10" wide wheels at the front and a faintly ludicrous 13" wide at the rear.

Campaigned by Bjørn Waldergård, Hannu Mikkola and Russell Brooks, they weren't so much rulebreakers as imaginative interpretations of the book. They are extremely sought after today, with Brooks' car currently being offered at an eye-watering £98,500. If that's stretching the budget a bit, Montescort can build you an Escort to full Monte Carlo spec. But at 350+ man-hours per car, it's not going to be cheap...

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