All of this is managed by a MaxxECU Mini and monitored via an AiM MXP Strada digital dash.
The real party trick is the discreet red, green, blue and black buttons located within the factory ashtray. In order, they control anti-lag, high/low boost and virtual fuel tank trip with the black button being the first stage of three-stage launch control (the other two stages being the clutch switch and vehicle speed).
Naturally, the original factory driveline wouldn’t hold much hope against the YB’s significant torque increase, so Eric has followed the path of using something a little bit different to make everything work. The gearbox is a 6-speed manual from a Mazda RX-8, using a Ford Sierra clutch with Mazda slave and master cylinders. It’s bolted to the engine with an RX-8 adapter plate, while the prop is a carbon fibre RX-8 item.
The aforementioned narrowed English axle has been strengthened with bars and fitted with a 3J plate differential turning a pair of two-piece driveshafts.
Bilstein coilovers with aluminium eccentric top mounts, GRP4 Fabrication steering arms and tension struts, and a 2.4 quick rack along with 10mm extra width aluminium hubs and extendable rose-jointed TCAs are the front-end highlights.
Meanwhile, the rear of the car features Bilstein dampers, Powerflex bushings, one-inch lowering blocks, two-inch de-cambered leaf springs and rose-jointed anti-tramp bars at 45-degrees.
The Mk2 has absolutely been built for driving. Having only completed the car a few weeks before our shoot, Eric’s first trip took him around the famous Ring of Kerry and a collection of some of Ireland’s most famous rally stages.
With Eric’s intention to use the car as often as possible, there’s also been the clever installation of a Bluetooth amplifier powering two hidden speakers which connects to his phone for long journeys.
Further to this, Eric has chosen a pair of Peugeot 106 GTI front seats both for their support and comfort. The traditional choice of Recaro ‘Fishnets’ sat too high for his taste.
All in all, it’s a pretty well balanced interior. There’s still some carpeting to be done, but Eric reckons that would keep the car off the road for the rest of the summer at the upholsterers, so it’s a detail that can wait until the winter.
Disguised behind the Minilite wheels are 4-piston Wilwood Dynalite calipers which are plenty capable of reliably hauling the Escort’s paltry 900-odd kilograms (1,984lbs) of weight to a stop.
A fuel cell with remote filler, fuel pumps and a full-sized spare wheel are located in the boot, along with the filler neck for the relocated washer bottle.
What we have here then is a Mk2 which both conforms to the Mk2 ethos, but in a roundabout sort of way. It’s a subtle enough looking street car, but possesses a level of performance that would humble most other cars on the road here.
I can’t imagine a time where there won’t be love the for the Mk2 in Ireland, such is its icon status. Even mid-shoot, there was a constant stream of polite comments and inquiries from passersby.
Some of this is likely due to the car’s disarming exterior, which might suggest it is one sort of thing, while in reality, it’s the complete opposite.
As Eric performed a contemporary interpretation of the Irish Goodbye and headed for home, I was left to re-evaluate everything I thought made a Mk2, a Mk2. I just hope more people realise that even for a car with such a well-proven recipe, you can always add a little bit more spice to the mix.
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The Ford Escort on Speedhunters
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