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Lot 44: Ford Escort RS 1600

Car, H&H Sales Limited (13 March 2010)

The object was to build the `Ultimate Escort' to win one of the world's toughest rallies. The East African Safari has been running since 1953 and, in Classic form for cars built before 1975, is as gruelling as ever for crews and cars. The November 2007 event offered a 3000-mile, nine-day adventure on mainly dirt roads, heading north-west from Mombasa, stopping in Nairobi, before looping back down through Tanzania, circumnavigating Lake Manyara and passing under the Ngorongoro Crater and Mount Kilimanjaro. The final leg took survivors towards the Indian Ocean via traditional Safari routes in Mkomazi and the notoriously twisty sections in the Usumbara Mountains before a finish back in Mombasa on the Kenyan coast. 1200 miles of the route was super-competitive with more than 150 stage miles a day being timed to the second. The Classic allows no four-wheel drive or turbocharged machinery, making it a happy hunting ground for such hairy-chested fare as the Porsche 911 and Datsun 240Z �- or, of course, the Ford Motor Company's most successful rally car, the Escort. As well as thousands of wins all over the world that continue to this day, the Escort has a special resonance with the Safari: Hannu Mikkola and Gunnar Palm were first all-International crew to win the event, in 1971. with an RS1600.

Determined to take the win, the client approached the world-renowned Historic Motorsport in Daventry to have these two very special cars hand made - David Sutton's outfit is the only privateer team ever to win the World Rally Championship, and has been building Escorts for 40 years. Like its sister, `WRV 207K' took over 870 hours to build, starting with a specially strengthened bodyshell by Gartrac to withstand Safari stage surfaces at speed, and was test-driven and further developed by Bjorn Waldegard in both Wales and Kenya. The suspension lifts WRC technology, using Proflex `Jumbo' front struts with roller top mounts and remote gas reservoirs; at the rear, and additional to the leaf springs, are coil springs around Proflex dampers, also remote canister type - all permitted by the 2007 Safari regs. Front suspension is completed with tension struts and drop link anti-roll bar with adjustable TCAs. Brakes are AP Racing callipers operating on ventilated discs with cockpit-adjustable bias and hydraulic handbrake. 15in diameter Minilites provide greater ground clearance and permit the latest WRC Pirellis to be used. Beneath the car, there is a sump-guard, while Kevlar anti-scuff floor guards with an impact-absorbing synthetic layer save chassis rails and underside from flying gravel. A roo-bar protects the PIAA lights and there are two more mini-spots on the tops of the wings.

The dry-sumped 1.8-litre BDA engine has been overhauled with new pistons and, according to a dynamometer print-out from Field Motorsport, produces 252bhp on twin Weber 45DCOEs, supplied by twin electric pumps from a 120-litre fuel tank. A large capacity radiator with two fans takes care of cooling. The ZF race gearbox has been refurbished and run in. It has a disc-braked Gartrac fully floating, twin taper rear axle with strengthened heavy-duty tubes, a 5.3:1 final drive and ZF limited-slip differential. The very fully equipped, though utterly functional interior is a feast for any rally Escort enthusiast. Sparco/ Recaro seats have six-point harnesses, and there are twin Coralba trip meters. The crew is cooled by dust-filtered air via a WRC-style scoop on the roof, and Perspex rear side windows open for speedy access to spares, tools and first aid kit, located where a rear seat would normally be. It also has unique door mirrors with built-in cold-air vents for extra cooling. These two very special Fords got the job done, finishing first and sixth. Victors Bjorn Waldegard and his son Matthias in `WPU 242L' headed a quartet of Porsches, with team-mates Stig Blomqvist and Ana Goni in `WRV 207K' finishing right behind them. The winning car was sold at auction soon after the rally, fetching nearly �90,000, or about two-thirds of its build cost. This is its identical twin.

Paperwork for this two-of-a-kind weapons-grade rallycar includes V5C registration document, RAC Roll Bar Certificate, Premier Fuel Tank Certificate and Classic Safari 2007 DVD recording `WPU 242L' in action plus interviews with Blomqvist and winning driver Waldegard. As presented at Stoneleigh, `WRV 207K' is not only likely to be compliant with future Classic Safari regulations, but should be fully capable of withstanding the rigours of any long-distance Marathon event. It could also be driven in the Open Category of special stage events in the UK or at hillclimbs and sprints in the various classes that cater for classics and rally cars. Depending on the competition discipline envisaged, any changes to the current specification that may be required could be carried out for a purchaser by the vendor who would also be prepared to arrange on-event service and management if required.

Lot Details
Auction Car
H&H Sales Limited, Stoneleigh Park
Lot Number44
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£77000
Condition rating0
Registration numberWRV207K
Chassis numberBFATLJ92424
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)1800
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors