Clas­sic col­lec­tors may be snap­ping up fast Fords for a big fu­ture pay­day, but Paul Davis has taken a dif­fer­ent ap­proach, restor­ing and mod­i­fy­ing his Es­cort Cossie to use right here and now…

Fast Ford - - Contents - Words and pho­tos JON CASS

Squeaky clean EsCos boasts over 450bhp!

Cast your minds back over a decade ago if you can and a mod­i­fied Es­cort Cos­worth wasn’t an un­usual sight. Yet to­day, with val­ues con­tin­u­ing to rise at an un­be­liev­able pace, you’re lucky if you see one at all. And most likely, that’ll be a stan­dard or con­cours-con­di­tion car on its an­nual trip to re­ceive an up­dated val­u­a­tion. In­cred­i­bly, Paul Davis not only owns this rare mod­i­fied ex­am­ple, he also likes to drive it reg­u­larly too, cov­er­ing more miles than many would in their daily driv­ers!

It’s not been an easy road for Paul to get his Cos­worth to the stage it’s at now, in fact a se­ri­ous amount of time, money and ef­fort has gone into the whole project, though none of it may have hap­pened if it hadn’t been for one of his friends. “The Es­cort Cos­worth has al­ways been one of my dream cars, es­pe­cially when I was younger, but for some rea­son I for­got about them as I grew older,” Paul smiles, “it was only around four years ago when my friend men­tioned he

was look­ing for one, that the de­sire to own one my­self re­turned.” This de­ci­sion was con­firmed af­ter driv­ing the Cos­worth his friend sub­se­quently bought and Paul set out look­ing for his own ex­am­ple.

“I’d had fast and mod­i­fied cars and bikes all my life and at the time drove a Suzuki Hayabusa-pow­ered RWD 1972 Mini I’d built my­self two years pre­vi­ously, which I used on a week­end,” Paul adds, “al­though that was a fun car, you could never for­get what you were driv­ing, and long jour­neys could be hard work.” An Es­cort Cos­worth would be an ideal re­place­ment man­ag­ing to re­tain that fun fac­tor, but dare we say it, also con­tain­ing more re­fine­ment and prac­ti­cal­ity than a bike-engined Mini! The hunt was on!

Paul did what most peo­ple do when look­ing for a spe­cific type of car and be­gan search­ing through the clas­si­fieds on the in­ter­net, “the very next day I set off to Swansea, some 250 miles away, to view what sounded like the ideal can­di­date,” Paul re­calls, “it turned out to be a com­plete shed, noth­ing like ad­ver­tised and needed loads of weld­ing and other work. It was a to­tal waste of time.” Un­de­terred by his rust-filled Welsh en­counter, Paul was back on the in­ter­net that same night and spot­ted an­other for sale, but this time it was even fur­ther away in Ire­land. “I was more cau­tious this time and phoned the ven­dor ask­ing de­tailed ques­tions about the car, “Paul re­calls, “it all sounded promis­ing, so I booked a flight over to Ire­land the next day.”

Luck­ily the flight proved to have been worth­while and Paul spent a full four hours in­spect­ing the car on a ramp just to make sure this was the right one. “I couldn’t fault the car, my only worry was it had been stood for some time,” Paul points out, “be­fore I knew it I’d trans­ferred my pay­ment to the ven­dor and was driv­ing back to the docks in an Es­cort Cos­worth!” The trip be­gan smoothly, but there would be an­other 230 mo­tor­way miles back in Eng­land be­fore Paul reached his home from Southamp­ton docks. “With only 50 miles to go, smoke be­gan to pour out of the ex­haust and the en­gine tem­per­a­ture started to rise, it

“By the time I’d fin­ished, less than 24 hours af­ter driv­ing the car away in Ire­land, there was just a bare shell sat in my garage and loads of parts!”

was pretty ob­vi­ous the head gas­ket had blown.”

Now, most peo­ple in this sit­u­a­tion would be might­ily an­gry and wor­ried, but Paul knew there was a risk driv­ing the Es­cort such a great dis­tance af­ter it had been stood for the best part of a decade, “I wasn’t sur­prised, the gas­ket must have just cor­roded away over time and it al­most made it home,” he laughs.

The very next day (you’ll have spot­ted by now this man wastes no time at all!) the Es­cort was sat in Paul’s garage with the head re­moved, “within a few hours I’d re­moved the head gas­ket, then I thought I may as well just take the whole en­gine out so I can clean up the bay prop­erly,” Paul re­mem­bers, “once the en­gine was out, I de­cided I’d prob­a­bly need to tidy up the un­der­side of the car to match the en­gine bay, so be­gan re­mov­ing the sus­pen­sion and brakes.

“By the time I’d fin­ished, less than 24 hours af­ter driv­ing the car away in Ire­land, there was just a bare shell sat in my garage and loads of parts!” Paul’s friend, who’d in­spired this very pur­chase came around that night to take a look at the new ac­qui­si­tion and un­sur­pris­ingly was quite shocked, “he couldn’t be­lieve what I’d done so soon af­ter buy­ing the car!” Paul laughs.

The bare shell and doors were soon despatched to W Black­ley’s bodyshop, a com­pany Paul has known for some time, to be re­sprayed in Ra­di­ant Red. All parts from the un­der­side due to be reused were then sent for blast­ing and pow­der coat­ing. “I then got in con­tact with Matt Lewis Mo­tor­sport and be­gan order­ing lots of parts,” he smiles.

Be­gin­ning from the ground up to make the car mov­able, Paul opted for Avo coilovers and poly­bushes all round to re­place the stan­dard sus­pen­sion then turned his at­ten­tion to the brakes. “I knew I’d be go­ing for more power than stan­dard, so at the front there are now AP Rac­ing 8-pot calipers with 362mm grooved discs, and I’ve fit­ted a caliper spac­ing bracket at the rear to al­low for 325mm discs, fed by stain­less braided hoses,” he in­forms us.

Paul had al­ready made a head start when it came to the en­gine, as he’d be­gan the re­build even while the shell was in for paint! At first glance the ar­ray of un­der­bon­net chrome by Auto Spe­cial­ists could have you think­ing there’s pos­si­bly just a stan­dard Cos­worth en­gine hid­ing un­der­neath, but far from it, this is a pretty look­ing bay that has the punch to back up those at­trac­tive looks.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to tun­ing Cos­worth YB en­gines, as we all know and there are so many op­tions avail­able de­pend­ing on how far you want to take things. As Paul was keen to use his car on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, he’s in­creased the power sig­nif­i­cantly, but not gone so silly as to make it un­drive­able on the road.

Wiseco forged and pock­eted pis­tons, a New­man BD14 in­let cam, New­man dou­ble valve springs, ARP con-rod bolts, head

studs and nuts, Fer­rea stain­less valves with bronze guides and new lifters all fea­ture in Paul’s re­build, along with a sen­si­bly up­rated Vic­tor Reinz multi-lay­ered WRC-style steel head gas­ket. A Turbo Tech­nics T36 hy­brid turbo, Evo­lu­tion chip, and Siemens 750cc in­jec­tors help to bring the power out­put up to a very us­able 450bhp with 440lb. ft torque, all set up on the rolling road by Mo­tor­sport De­vel­op­ments.

An Airtec ra­di­a­tor and Airtec RS500 in­ter­cooler along with the oblig­a­tory Samco hoses help to keep things cool un­der the bon­net, while Paul has also added a Bai­ley chrome oil breather tank into the mix too.

Know­ing a stan­dard clutch would prob­a­bly strug­gle with the ex­tra 200-odd horses, in its place is now a Helix 6-pad­dle clutch and TTV Rac­ing light­weight 240mm fly­wheel. “I had the orig­i­nal gear­box re­built with a he­li­cal gear kit and re­fit­ted by Bara Mo­tor­sports,” Paul adds, “it now has a quick­shift fit­ted and Quaife up­rated front and rear lim­ited slip dif­fer­en­tials, so it holds the road very well!”

With the en­gine and driv­e­train now sorted, Paul could get to work re­fit­ting the orig­i­nal in­te­rior, glass and trim which had stood the test of time well. The only new ad­di­tion to the in­te­rior is a pair of sub­tle Au­toMeter gauges lo­cated in the A pil­lar.

We’ve seen Es­cort Cos­worths wear­ing a vast se­lec­tion of wheels over the decades, but Paul’s choice of 18in Com­po­mo­tive TH2 al­loys suits the con­cours qual­ity and mo­tor­sport ap­pear­ance of this car per­fectly, the only down­side be­ing you can’t see those huge up­rated brakes!

It took a to­tal of 11 months from that ferry trip from Ire­land to mak­ing its first show ap­pear­ance for this Es­cort, which is an al­most un­think­able feat con­sid­er­ing this guy works full time too. As we said, Paul doesn’t mess around!

Un­sur­pris­ingly, this car has picked up a host of tro­phies from var­i­ous shows it has at­tended, and it still gets driven when­ever Paul has the chance. He shows no sign of slow­ing down ei­ther; he’s al­ready started on the next project, a three-door Sierra Cos­worth that’s part way through a sim­i­lar re­build and restora­tion. We can imag­ine that one will cre­ate quite an im­pact on the show scene when it’s com­pleted too!



A-pil­lar gauges are the only al­ter­ations to the fac­tory-spec in­te­rior... ...even the orig­i­nal (and now rare!) Hex-pat­tern cloth Re­caros re­main

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