1973 Ford EscortMK I RS 1600 GR II Usine
Year of manufacture1973
- First in the 1000 Lakes Rally
- Genuine works car
- Very rare and highly competitive
- ex-Timo Mäkinen/Ford Motor Company
The Escort really established Ford's image in rallying, winning world championship events from 1968. The team, based at Boreham airfield, was still in its infancy, as in 1970 this engine was replaced by a 16-valve Cosworth BDA (Belt Drive, A type), homologated for Groups II and IV up to 2 litres and producing up to 240 bhp. From 1972-74, Ford won the RAC Rally three times in a row, with Timo Mäkinen claiming victory in 1973, and took both the driver's and manufacturer's titles in the 1979 WRC with Bjorn Waldegård. In 1981, Ari Vatanen won his only title as World Rally Champion at the wheel of a Ford Escort RS 1800.
The car presented here, YEV 207L, was entered by the Colt Racing Team in the Arctic Rally at the start of 1973 and then in several rounds of the new World Rally Championship. But it was in August, in the 1000 Lakes Rally in Finland, assigned to Mäkinen and Henry Liddon, that it really won its spurs, taking first place overall ahead of a horde of flying Finns, who were well used to these slippery, tricky special stages. The same team continued to rally it in 1974, before selling it just after the RAC Rally in November, as the new Mark II model was around the corner, to the famous driver Roger Clark from the Simpson Rally Team. They also rallied it with another distinguished Finnish driver, Pentti Airikkala, the specialist in left-foot braking! In 1975, it retired to an Irish museum for a well-deserved rest, staying there until 1993, when a British enthusiast acquired it and had it recommissioned by Historic RallySport Ltd in 2004. Invoices confirm that the Cosworth engine, brakes, Weber 48 carburettors etc. were completely rebuilt. The seller has advised us that it was fitted with a 1998 cc aluminium engine block during its time in competition (John Wilcox no. 5176), fitted with a dry sump and external oil pump. The sump was installed in the boot, along with the fuel pumps (with anti-backflow valves) around the space for the spare wheels, and the batteries. The Lucas electronic ignition is still fitted, together with the centrally-located fuel tank and twin brake servos in place of the rear seat. The five-speed ZF gearbox is mated to the correct Atlas live rear axle with a Watts linkage. The suspension uses leaf springs at the rear and combined adjustable spring/shock absorber units at the front. The four ventilated disc brakes have four-piston aluminium callipers, with a separate calliper for the hydraulic handbrake. The magnesium Minilite wheels were replaced during the restoration. The dashboard is complete and totally original, as is the steering wheel. YEV 207L features in the Ford Motor Sport video "The story of the Mk 1 Escort", in the magazine Motor Sport dated February 1998 and in the Italian monthly Grace, Classic & Sport Cars from May 1998. In 2005, it was chosen for display on the WRC stand in Finland for the 1000 Lakes Rally. It comes with its FIA form (2-litre, H1 period) and a copy of its original homologation form. A dyno chart indicates a power output of 225 bhp at 5800 rpm.
Works Ford Escorts very rarely come up for sale: these extremely competitive machines are highly sought after for historic motorsport events such as the Tour Auto or Monte-Carlo Historique.
For more information and photos: https://www.artcurial.com/fr/lot-1973-ford-escort-mk-i-rs-1600-gr-ii-usine-3980-104