ES­CORT COSSIE

With a whop­ping 577bhp and 558lb.ft cou­pled to a se­ri­ously sorted chas­sis, Mark Hudd’s track-ready Es­cort Cossie is ev­ery bit as lairy as the eye-pop­ping colour sug­gests…

Fast Ford - - Contents - Words JAMIE / Pho­tos DAVY LEWIS

Crazy 577bhp and 558lb.ft Cossie is ready for ac­tion.

Reg­u­lar read­ers of Fast Ford will have seen this car be­fore. Sev­eral times in fact; once when it fea­tured back in 2011 as a Time At­tack racer, and more re­cently as we cov­ered the re­build to its cur­rent guise in the Project Cars sec­tion. That’s be­cause the Es­cort now be­longs to long-stand­ing friend of the mag, and se­rial fea­ture car owner, Mark Hudd. So, when we learnt of Mark’s plans we opened the doors to the prover­bial

Fast Ford garage and wel­comed him with open arms. And, now, we’re pleased to say, all Mark’s hard work has paid off and this mean – and very green – Es­cort Cossie is ready to take to the track.

But for any of you who may have missed the progress up­dates on the build, let’s re­cap. Start­ing at the very be­gin­ning, this car was quite fa­mous in its pre­vi­ous form as a Time At­tack racer be­long­ing to Dave Jack­son. It was then de-com­mis­sioned from rac­ing and used as a track toy for a num­ber of years, be­fore its cur­rent cus­to­dian spot­ted an ad­vert for it on eBay. “It was ba­si­cally just a rolling shell at the time,” re­calls Mark, “it had the sus­pen­sion in place, but lacked the en­gine, gear­box, wiring, seats, and loads of other lit­tle bits.”

So, what piqued Mark’s in­ter­est in it then? What would a man with some highly sought-af­ter fast Fords al­ready in his garage want with a half-dis­man­tled Es­cort Cossie ex-race car? “I fan­cied an­other track toy,” Mark ex­plains, “orig­i­nally, I bought a widearch Mk6 Fi­esta for the job. It han­dled re­ally well, I must ad­mit, but the tur­bocharged Du­ratec en­gine and weak trans­mis­sion did limit the po­ten­tial power some­what…

and I re­ally wanted some­thing with around 500-600bhp.”

As we’ve al­ready men­tioned, Mark has a hoard of cool fast Fords in his col­lec­tion, and most of them are pow­ered by the leg­endary YB en­gine. And that means he has spares. As any Cossie owner will tes­tify, find­ing re­place­ment parts for the leg­endary pow­er­plant is fast be­com­ing a dif­fi­cult and ar­du­ous task, so if you’ve got no fewer than five Cossie-pow­ered cars in your col­lec­tion, you tend to bag as many spare parts as you can at ev­ery given op­por­tu­nity. “I knew I had enough parts knock­ing around to build an­other en­gine, and hav­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing with so many (not just my own cars, but in my day job as a me­chanic too) the idea of buy­ing the EsCos shell and build­ing it up started to make a lot of sense,” Mark re­mem­bers.

So, a deal was done, and Mark soon had the Es­cort back at his work­shop where he be­gan to strip ev­ery­thing back in readi­ness for a new paintjob. “Peo­ple re­mem­ber the car from its Time At­tack days, so I wanted to give it a fresh start. I wanted it to look to­tally dif­fer­ent to be­fore,” he ex­plains. And the Acid Green from the Porsche cat­a­logue has cer­tainly done the trick. “I wanted a colour that hadn’t been done be­fore, some­thing that would stand out on track, and I also wanted some­thing that would work well with the car’s car­bon fi­bre bits too. I was ran­domly look­ing at colours of cars on

“I’ve fit­ted some cus­tom-spec cams to try some­thing dif­fer­ent. They cer­tainly work... it made 577bhp and 558lb.ft. on the dyno!”

the in­ter­net one evening and stum­bled across a 911 Turbo in this colour and won­dered if it would work on the Es­cort,” laughs Mark.

There’s only one way to find out and that’s to try it. So, the stripped shell was rubbed down and read­ied for Mark’s mate and fel­low Cossie fan, Dave Pritchard, to ap­ply its eye-pop­ping new colour. “At first I thought it might be too much,” Mark con­fesses, “but with the car­bon roof un­masked, and the car­bon spoiler, vents, head­lights, and split­ters all fit­ted, it all comes to­gether quite well. In fact, I thought the colour choice would up­set some of the purists and half ex­pected to get crit­i­cised for it, but to my sur­prise I haven’t heard any­one com­plain about the colour yet.”

With the car painted, the re­build soon be­gan. And if there’s one thing Mark isn’t, it’s slug­gish and lethar­gic when it comes to build­ing cars. He wanted to com­plete the build in a mat­ter of weeks, not years. And given that the car made its first pub­lic de­but in June 2018 af­ter he brought it and the end of Novem­ber 2017, it’s fair to say Mark’s achieved his goal.

“Thank­fully, it was all pretty plain sail­ing,” he smirks, “the colour change was time­con­sum­ing but not too tax­ing, and the rest of the car pretty much bolted back to­gether with­out any fuss.” When you’ve tin­kered with as many fast Fords as Mark has, you kind of get a feel for the pit­falls and hangups, and are able to avoid un­nec­es­sary de­lays with a bit of care­ful plan­ning.

The lack of en­gine and gear­box did re­quire a lit­tle more ef­fort though. Us­ing spare YB parts he’d amassed over the years, Mark was able to build him­self a for­mi­da­ble pow­er­plant ideal for track work; 200

block with long-studs, forged pis­tons and con-rods from Cosworth, Hart in­let, and a mighty Borg Warner EFR 76/70 twin scroll turbo. “I was aim­ing for 600bhp, but I also wanted to make it as torquey as pos­si­ble,” ex­plains Mark, “so I’ve fit­ted some cus­tom­spec cams to try some­thing dif­fer­ent. They cer­tainly work – af­ter Mark Shead at MA De­vel­op­ments fin­ished map­ping ev­ery­thing it made 577bhp and 558lb.ft. on the dyno!” Mark’s more than happy to sac­ri­fice a few bhp at the top end of his 600bhp tar­get to achieve such im­mense torque fig­ures – that should re­ally help pull the car out of the cor­ners when on track.

To make sure he can use all of that torque, though, Mark needed to en­sure the trans­mis­sion was up to the task. With suit­ably beefy Quaife diffs front and rear al­ready in place, Mark man­aged to buy a MT75 ‘box from a road car for just £100. “It needed a com­plete re­build, but I was go­ing to send it to Pete at DPE for one of his full gear kits any­way, so I only re­ally needed the cas­ing,” re­calls Mark.

The fin­ish­ing touches to the in­te­rior saw the bucket seats, flocked dash, and com­pre­hen­sive fuel sys­tem in­stalled, while the ex­te­rior re­ceived some cus­tom sign­writ­ing in car­bon ef­fect vinyl to keep with the theme, in­clud­ing, of course, the logo! And then the EsCos was ready to hit the track.

You may re­mem­ber the car was un­veiled for the first time at RS Combe re­cently, and Mark was hop­ing to get to en­joy some

“I wanted a colour that hadn’t been done be­fore, some­thing that would stand out on track and would work with the car­bon fi­bre bits too”

time on his home track, but as one of the or­gan­is­ers of the event he was far too busy run­ning around mak­ing sure things ran smoothly to find any time for any on-track jol­lies.

How­ever, with Ford Fair just a few weeks later, Mark wouldn’t need to wait long to get the car out on track. “I took it out in the Fastest Fords ses­sions at Ford Fair – along­side some of the most track-fo­cussed and race-hard­ened cars and driv­ers at the en­tire show… and I’d never driven the car or even been on the Sil­ver­stone cir­cuit be­fore,” laughs Mark, “my in­ex­pe­ri­ence showed as I span it with cold tyres on the first lap (which some­one kindly caught on cam­era for all to see!), but af­ter that I gath­ered it all up and the car went re­ally well.”

There are a few things still to dial in and Mark still needs to get more fa­mil­iar with the car, but it’s show­ing great prom­ise. Keep an eye out for this bright green mon­ster at a race track near you; it’ll be go­ing so fast it’ll be a blur, but thanks to that lurid colour you’ll still be able to spot it a mile off!

Huge AP Rac­ing six pots with 380mm discs are per­fect for track use

Mark took the car on track for the first time at Ford Fair re­cently

The cabin is sur­pris­ingly civilised for an ex-race car, but still very func­tional

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