Thursday, 1 June 2017

Wooding Group 2 Escort RS1600

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Arguably the coolest car at Goodwood's 75th Members' Meeting wasn't even supposed to be there. Despite not appearing in the programme and not venturing out onto the track, this sublime little Mk1 Escort was making a proper show of itself in the Group A paddock, surrounded by Sierra RS500s and causing a scene with its revvy, shouty BDG.
The '72 RS1600 wears the period Texaco colours of Hamburg's Wooding race team. The outfit campaigned the DRM in 1971 and '72, running Alan Mann-style torsion bar setups and roaring twin-cam motors, although the team disbanded in 1973 and the cars went on to new lives elsewhere. This particular one passed through various hands; documentation from 1983 shows it still in Wooding livery with Robert Pucher as the owner; he sold it to Alfa Romeo racer and Ferrari dealer Fritz Neuser, who passed it on to German Ford collector Helmut Stein in the early 1990s. Stein owned it until 2013 - in his tenure it had enjoyed a hillclimbing career, with modifications to the floor, tunnel and bulkhead, but importantly it retained its unique torsion beam arrangement and was a prime candidate for restoration to historic Group 2 specs.

Simon Hadfield Motorsport spent two years on the resto, during which time it received new (correct) floorpans and bulkhead, an Alan Mann-style 6-point rollcage, FIA-friendly seat and harness and a plumbed-in extinguisher system. And the engine... oh, that's something else. An alloy-blocked 2.0-litre twin-cam Cosworth BDG built by Craig Beck Racing, it runs Lucas mechanical fuel-injection and produces an astounding 279bhp at a frankly silly 8,750rpm.
Shakedown tests saw it running quicker than the more powerful Group 2 Capri RS2600, which speaks volumes for the Wooding chassis setup. I can't wait to see this gorgeous little Escort out and about on the classic racing scene...

Spotted at 75MM - more pics here.

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