Unique Cars - - CONTENTS -

My back­ground with Es­corts goes back to when I left school and joined a Ford dealer in the UK. I spent the first four or five years of my work­ing life learn­ing to work on the Ford cars of the day, which were Es­corts, Corti­nas and Capris. Even then the sports mod­els were ex­cit­ing to be around.

I tried other things for a while – got into Porsches and re­stored a Car­rera – but I found my­self grav­i­tat­ing back to the old Fords. I re­stored a Lo­tus Cortina about five years ago and sold that, with some re­gret.

In­evitably I went back to the old MkI Es­cort, which I learned to drive in and passed my test in. Not a twin-cam ver­sion, of course!

Hav­ing de­cided a twin-cam was what I wanted, my god, find­ing a good one was very dif­fi­cult! I spent 18 months till I found this one through a work­shop in Mel­bourne. It was a


match­ing numbers car, which was im­por­tant to me.

Like a lot of these cars, it’s had a string of colour changes, go­ing from white to red to green and back to white again. Over that time it’s had a light restora­tion un­der the stew­ard­ship of Rob Ram­say. Then it had an­other more thor­ough make-over un­der the guid­ance of John Hodge, which took more like three to four years. The sec­ond restora­tion started as a light rub-down for a colour change and turned into a ma­jor nut and bolt job.

The body was fully in­spected and found to be in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion through­out with no sign of any rust and no pre­vi­ous ac­ci­dent dam­age or weld­ing. This was an op­por­tu­nity to re­place the ex­tended rear wheel arches with stan­dard size ver­sions.

It was then primed in grey and re-spayed in two-pack to the orig­i­nal fac­tory spec­i­fi­ca­tion colour, which is ‘ul­tra-white’ in­clud­ing the en­gine bay and boot. Mean­while the un­der body was given an anti-rust treat­ment.

Rob Roy Garage in Mel­bourne stripped and fully re­built the en­gine, and took the op­por­tu­nity to get the pre­sen­ta­tion back to orig­i­nal. This was also a good time to get the gear­box stripped and re­built, and the prop­shaft re­fur­bished and bal­anced, while the diff was re­newed, as a lim­ited-slip set-up.

An elec­tronic ig­ni­tion was in­stalled in the in­ter­ests of re­li­a­bil­ity and low-main­te­nace.

The ra­di­a­tor was re­fur­bished and the hoses re­placed. Of course the twin We­ber 40DCOE car­bu­ret­tors were com­pletely re­con­di­tioned, while all the lines and hoses were re­placed.

New front struts and rear shock ab­sorbers were fit­ted, the rear springs re­con­di­tioned and all the sus­pen­sion bushes re­placed.

Add in a new steer­ing rack, track con­trol arms and steer­ing bushes to make sure it goes where you point it. The orig­i­nal Twin Cam steer­ing wheel was also re­fur­bished at that stage.

The ex­haust sys­tem is one area that has strayed a lit­tle from orig­i­nal. It’s a com­plete stain­less set-up.

Of course the brakes were fully re­built us­ing new parts where pos­si­ble, plus the Gir­ling servo got a work-over.

As for cos­met­ics, the bumpers were given a new coat of chrome and the orig­i­nal Ford Twin Cam 5J steel wheels were re­con­di­tioned, painted and put aside for the mo­ment.

When it came to as­sem­bling the end re­sult, there was a big list of tasks to get through. New old stock Lu­cas head­lights were fit­ted along with a fresh grille. New door win­dow glasses and wind­screen went in as well.

In­side, a new head­lin­ing and door cards were fit­ted, while over­all the trim was re­done


as per the fac­tory spec­i­fi­ca­tion for this car.

To fin­ish it off, new old stock Es­cort front wing badges and GT1600 stick­ers were sourced.

The dash is a high-spec thing for its day and that was given a com­plete work-over with fresh wiring.

Over­all the car is about 95 per cent orig­i­nal spec as it left the Home­bush Ford fac­tory in March 1972.

These things are a very dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence to driv­ing a mod­ern car – very sim­ple and light and re­spon­sive. It now looks and drives as new and is some­thing I know I can rely on. I have a 4WD as daily trans­port, but I try to get the Es­cort out ev­ery week­end and go for a run. So all that work wasn’t wasted!

TOP A full pack of gauges is a re­minder this is a pukka sports car.ABOVE A very happy owner. We’re jeal­ous!.

ABOVE This is more or less the view you’d get if you were racing against one back when they were new.

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