Your eyes do not de­ceive you: this isn’t trick pho­tog­ra­phy, it re­ally is two iden­ti­cal Mk1 Es­corts, with iden­ti­cal specs, and iden­ti­cal abil­ity to go all smoky and side­ways at a mo­ment’s no­tice…

Classic Ford - - CONTENTS - Words Daniel Be­vis Pho­tos Paddy McGrath

What’s bet­ter than a big-power track-ready Es­cort from Swe­den? An iden­ti­cal pair of them, of course!

“Why am I into cars? Well, it’s my dad’s fault.” That’s some­thing we hear time and time again in our line of work; whether it was a case of the old man pick­ing the per­son in ques­tion up from school in a droop­snoot Es­cort, or the child­hood home be­ing peren­ni­ally scat­tered with bits of Cortina en­gine, it’s those fledg­ling, for­ma­tive years that so of­ten in­form a life­time of au­to­mo­tive ob­ses­sion. And in the case of the two broth­ers be­hind this spook­ily-iden­ti­cal pair of Mk1 Es­corts - Martin and Michael Lex­man - it’s all thanks to the fact that their dad used to race in ral­ly­cross. “The en­thu­si­asm all came from grow­ing up around mo­tor­sport,” Martin con­firms. “My brother and I ended up rac­ing in ral­ly­cross too, and then we de­cided to build these cars.”

That’s right, you can stop rub­bing your eyes. We haven’t been mon­key­ing around with Pho­to­shop — there gen­uinely are two neari­den­ti­cal Es­corts here. You may also have no­ticed, how­ever, that there’s only one spec box… that’s be­cause, when we say ‘near-iden­ti­cal’, they’re pretty much as close as it’s pos­si­ble to get to be­ing zy­got­i­cally-split womb-bud­dies: the en­gine in­ter­nals are of iden­ti­cal spec, the sus­pen­sion’s the same, the brakes are the same… hell, even the size and spac­ing of the vents in the bootlids is the same. It’s gen­uinely sur­real. In­deed, it’s only the fact that the broth­ers de­cide to oc­ca­sion­ally swap a pair of quar­ter bumpers on and off one of the cars that stops you blink­ing in dis­be­lief and try­ing to fig­ure out if some­one’s dropped a colos­sal mir­ror into the Gate­bil pad­dock. The dif­fer­ences be­tween the two can be counted on your fin­gers, and you’ll still have plenty of dig­its to spare: the han­dles of their hy­draulic hand­brakes are dif­fer­ent, one of them has smoked rear in­di­ca­tor lenses and, er, that’s ba­si­cally it.

Pure chance

Con­trary to what you might ex­pect, how­ever, the Lex­man broth­ers didn’t plan to build such a head-scram­bling pair from the out­set — it was more a prod­uct of cir­cum­stance and evo­lu­tion. “A lot of it hap­pened by chance, re­ally,” Martin ad­mits. “We’d started to build the first car,

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