Mk1 Escort at Brands Hatch 1968

by admin on April 14, 2010

As well as being the most successful rally car of all time, the Mk1 Escort made a pretty decent track car. The silver & maroon broadspeed Mk1 Escorts had a tiny 1300cc crossflow engine, but were engineered to rev to an indecent 9,000rpm.  Not bad for the dark ages !

Thanks to Adam from Bobcat Hire Perth for spotting this short snippet of the Broadspeed Mk1 Escort in action.


Mk1 Escort Rally Preparation – Rear Suspension

by admin on September 4, 2009

Mk1 Escort rally preparation – rear suspension

The major goal for the rear suspension of any race or rally car, is to prevent sideways movement in the rear axle and to get the rear axle moving only in an up & down direction.

The standard MK1 Escort rear axle has a fair amount of movement because of the rubber mountings and the 45 degree angle of the rear dampers which allows the axle to move horizontally front to back when cornering.

The simplest solution on the standard axle set up, is to remove the rubber mountings on the cross brace where the dampers are joined to the body. On the early MK1 Escorts, the rear dampers are bolted to a cross brace, which is bolted to the shell. In between the cross brace and the shell are 2 rubber bushes.

These should be removed & replaced with a metal sleeve. Braze a metal washer over the original holes to positively locate the original bolt and use a short metal sleeve to cover the extended thread of the exposed floor mounted studs.

If retaining the 45 degree damper set up, the cross member should be strengthened by boxing in the open side of the cross member, reinforcing by double skinning , or welding in fillets of steel to honeycomb the cross member.

The two rubber isopacks that locate the springs to the axle also need to be removed to prevent sideways axle movement. By undoing the u-bolts and jacking up the axle, the rubber can be removed. A 3/16” washer will need to be brazed on to the spring saddle plate so that it can mount to the centre bolt of the spring. When reassembling, the u-bolt thread may be too short, in which case, replace them with shorter u-bolts. On re-assembly, use double nuts for added insurance.

Anti-tramp bars are the next major improvement. These are available as kits and comprise 4 radius arms with bushes and mounts that weld to the axle and body shell. Once in place these prevent forward and backward movement of the axle.

All works MK1 Escorts had turret kits installed, to enable dampers to be mounted vertically at 90 degrees to the axle. These are still available and while quite tricky to install, are well worth the effort. The turret s are essentially conical tubes that are welded into the inner wheel arch and allow the damper top to protrude into the rear parcel shelf inside the car.

The standard shock absorber mounting was on the spring hanger but the AVO cars had the damper fitted to the rear of the axle itself. The works rally cars had the dampers fitted directly on top of the axle, keeping the dampers up & out of the way of rocks etc, but this required precise location of the turrets directly above the damper mount.

Works 5 link rear suspension was utilized on the later 200+ BHP cars, which was made up of the 4 link suspension, slipper springs and adjustable panhard rod connecting the axle to the bodyshell across the back of the axle. All are still available, but definitely worth getting expert help when installing as extensive modifications are required to fit & align this set up.



Some of my favorite Mk1 Escort Rally videos on Youtube

August 18, 2009

There are some great youtube videos featuring the Mk1 Escort. I found this one found this one from the Severn Valley historic challenge 2009. Awesome Audio of Escorts in thier natural environment !  No cheesey audio – just Pinto’s & Webers   Here’s an HD version of the MK1 Escorts in action – well ok, [...]

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Mk1 Escort Rally Preparation – Front Suspension & Handling

August 17, 2009

MK1 Escort Rally Preparation – Front Suspension & Handling       For serious rough stage rallying, suspension is probably the most crucial thing to get right. Luckily these days there are plenty of options and aftermarket products to allow for adjustments to ride height, camber etc. For optimum handling a set of matched springs and shock absorbers [...]

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Mk1 Escort Rally Preparation – Body Shell

August 16, 2009

The MK1 Escort has been used for rallying since it’s release in 1968.  Now featuring prominently in classic, historic and clubman competitions, the MK1 Escort is still an effective and cheap way to go rallying. Unless you are building a factory replica, or have stumbled upon a forgotten works car in a farmer’s barn here [...]

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Mk1 Escort – A brief history

August 7, 2009

Launched in 1968 the MK1 escort was competitive straight out of the box. Due mainly to the extensive testing around the Bagshot Tracks as a prototype in 1967. Although released with a kent cross-flow engine, it wasn’t long before the famous Lotus twin cam motor was sucessfully transplanted and homologated and placed in the safe [...]

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