When Adam sold his Cayman in late 2018, he knew he had to replace it with something special. Trawling through the classifieds he happened across a Sierra Beige base spec 1.3L Ford Escort that was advertised minus its engine and gearbox. However, the MK2 had already been fettled by well-known retro Ford tuner, Ben Szanto, and had previously ran a Harris Performance pinto on throttle bodies. Knowing the quality of the rolling shell, Adam purchased the car and set about making it his own.
“How do you try and improve upon a car put together by Ben Szanto,” Adam remarks, “Well, easy, you just hand it back to Ben to build again.” The dilemma of choosing a powertrain didn’t last long, especially when an opportunity that was too good to miss came Adams way. A big spec, Smith and Jones alloy block Cosworth YB had popped up for sale, the perfect powerplant for the little beige MK2.
With Mr Szantos approval, the job of slotting it in began and with it, a hell of a lot of work for Ben to try and get the engine in the bay as neat and tidy as possible. “A lot of people will be aware of how messy YB installs can sometimes look, but what Ben has achieved here is mind blowing. It’s got to be the tidiest YB install in a MK2 Escort I’ve ever seen,” Adam says.
Inside the alloy YB lump, a fine selection of choice components work together to create an output capable of 450HP. Underneath the Smith and Jones billet cam cover lies a standard Cosworth head with a AB07 inlet cam and Quaife pulleys. A Turbo Technics T34 forces air into the engine and everything is managed by an Autronic ECU.
The power is connected to the road via a T5 gearbox, AP racing paddle clutch and a Gripper differential. When things get hairy, Adam lifts off the loud peddle and slows the Escort through AP racing brakes on all four corners.
The styling is kept as minimal and period correct as possible but the lairy engine is only complimented by an equally lairy stance. The Escort squats over a set of 3-piece Image Racing wheels and inside the original brown leather interior remains, aside from the cage, custom dash and extended shifter.
This is an Escort built to be rowdy and I can only imagine how much of a handful it is to drive. I want to say a big thank-you to Adam and Daz for letting me shoot both Escorts.