HER­ITAGE: Es­cort 8cwt van

Clas­sic Fords re­stored: Some­times you don’t know what you want un­til you see it, and when Ian Je eries stum­bled across a van in need of restora­tion, his and the Ford com­mer­cial’s fates were sealed.

Classic Ford - - CONTENTS - Words Marc Stret­ton Pho­tos Matt Woods

Re­stored to sub­lime per­fec­tion.

When Ian Jef­feries de­cided to do a bit of time trav­el­ling by restor­ing a clas­sic car, his wife, Rachel, had ideas of cruis­ing the Nor­folk coun­try­side in a mint Jaguar. Her re­al­ity has come crash­ing down, how­ever, as sum­mer Sun­days this year will mostly be spent slid­ing around on the vinyl cov­er­ings of the pas­sen­ger seat of this Mk1 Es­cort 8cwt van. To be fair to Ian, he has gone for the Deluxe model…

Another point to take in here, is that as Ian’s Mk1 van is just about the clean­est and most orig­i­nal ex­am­ple we’ve seen in many a year. It prob­a­bly isn’t too far be­hind many Jags in the fi­nan­cial stakes any­way… and far more rare and de­sir­able in our (slightly bi­ased) opin­ion, too.

Back at the yard

Ian’s story starts many years ago, hav­ing his un­cle’s scrap­yard as a child­hood play­ground. His Dad worked there too, so from the time he could walk he would be scrab­bling around and pulling bits off junk cars. A YTS scheme slav­ery ses­sion in me­chan­ics con­vinced a 17-year-old Ian that he could make much more money for him­self and from that time for­ward his main in­come has been from buy­ing and re­pair­ing mo­tor sal­vage.

“My first project was pulling the crum­pled front out of a Capri,” Ian says, “and through the years I must have dealt in hun­dreds of clas­sic Fords.”

For this rea­son, Ian’s thoughts when he de­cided to look for a clas­sic car project were to go for an Es­cort, but the van wasn’t the first ex­am­ple of the Mk1 he went for. Plan num­ber one was to re­store another rare and un­usual car, namely a base model, 940cc Cross­flow’d Ital­ian im­port four-door.

“I’d started work on the sa­loon,” he says, “when the van came up for sale and halted me in my tracks. I’ve al­ways liked the thought of a com­mer­cial, so bought the one-owner Mk1


which had pre­vi­ously been run by a heat­ing en­gi­neer­ing firm in Uck­field and then stored for many years.”

“One ma­jor bonus of stopping with the four-door,” Ian con­tin­ues, “was that as a very ba­sic ex­port model it had a very nice rubber floor mat (which was miss­ing from the van and is al­most im­pos­si­ble to find) and the right-hand seat (for pas­sen­gers in the left-hooker) was in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion. Those were pinched and tucked away be­fore the sa­loon went to a new owner!”

Al­though the van wasn’t a com­plete rot box, and had many re­deem­ing fea­tures like a rust-free roof panel — again a very rare thing — and a good chas­sis and an im­mac­u­late bon­net, Ian has had to get handy with the welder. For starters, he braced the shell, then cut out the floor­pan and tun­nel and re­placed it with one of the new com­plete floors avail­able on the mar­ket. “Hav­ing no floor at all for a while was a scary sight,” Ian ad­mits.

The sills and arches were re­placed and there was ma­jor surgery on one of the door pil­lars. Both side doors’ bot­toms were half-skinned and, while one rear door was in good con­di­tion and the other save­able, a very nice sec­ond-hand one turned up and was used in­stead. With a new rear valance and many smaller re­pair sec­tions grafted in, ground down and cleaned up, the van was ready for its all-over re­spray in orig­i­nal Er­mine White.

Right: The 1300 Cross­flow needed a full re­build af­ter Ian dis­cov­ered the pis­tons were seized in the bores.

Low diff ra­tio was swapped for a Mex­ico one to make the van eas­ier to live with when trav­el­ling to shows.

Un­der­side fin­ish is bet­ter than fac­tory.

Ian sourced new-old stock badges for the front wings.

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