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…
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