"Ford Escort RS1600 - The Potent Mix". This was how Ford's advertising campaign announced the Escort RS1600 to the world in early 1970. A combination of Escort Twin Cam chassis and running gear allied with Ford's newly developed Cosworth sixteen-valve twin cam BDA (Belt Drive Type A) engine unit. The announcement heralded the birth of what was to become, along with its Mk11 descendant the RS1800, arguably the most successful rally car of the 1970's. The RS1600 amassed an impressive tally of victories from the forests of the RAC, with a 1972-74 hat-trick, to the 1000 Lakes with five wins, the Arctic stages of Finland, the Heatwave in New Zealand and possibly the toughest car test on earth in East Africa, the Safari which the Escort won in 1972.
XPU 216L, the Ex-Works Ford Escort RS1600 first driven by Roger Clark on the 1973 East African Safari was prepared by the Ford Boreham Competition Department in April 1973.
XPU was also driven by Tony Pond (1973 Scottish), Russell Brookes (1973 RAC), and Andrew Cowan (1974 World Cup).
A previous owner who acquired the Escort in 1991 carried out a complete restoration to full works specification, reconditioning virtually every part and only completing the work in 1998. Upon completion the owner won the HRCR Championship in 2001 and was 4th overall in the MSA British Historic Series. Unusually, for a works rally car of this era, the original works body shell, modified to Group 2 limits and strengthened by Gomm Metal Developments in period, has been retained. The 1973 shell was carefully sand-blasted and repaired with only the floors, front outer wings and front chassis rails requiring renewal. Participation in the British Historic Championship required some upgrading from the works team specification, such as a Safety Devices roll-cage.
The car is currently fitted with an alloy-blocked BDG with DA10 exhaust cams and twin 45DCOE Webers. The correct ZF 5-speed direct-top competition box is also fitted.
The 4-link thick-tube Atlas Axle has a 5.1 ratio and works half-shafts, and ZF LSD diff. Braking is taken care of by AP Racing CP 2361 calipers and vented discs at the front, CP 2363 at the rear, with twin Lockheed servos and pedal box adjustable for bias. Front alloy hubs on wedged Bilstein World Cup struts are fitted with forest-spec 260/60 spec inserts and 180lb +1in springs. At the rear are turreted Bilsteins and narrow forest slipper springs. A long-stem quick-rack provides 2.4 turns lock to lock via a Springalex deep-dish steering wheel. A Tony Law 4-bolt manifold and exhaust system has been fitted. 8 x 13ins Minilites are fitted.
A full works wiring loom has quick-release connectors and the fuse board, also quick-release, and relay pack are in the driver’s footwell. Currently fitted is a more modern constant discharge Lucas electric ignition system on quick-release mounting. The works-type twin-cowl dash with chronometric speedo and rev-counter and instruments with aircraft pea-lights are period-correct. Also fitted is the original map-light and Pye Westminster short wave radio, headlamp wipers, headlamp covers and Gomm dry sump tank.
Maintained by JD Classics since 2007.
XPU 216L’s Ford factory team rally history
1973 East Africa Safari Rally (Roger Clark) retired, mechanical.
1973 Scottish Rally (Tony Pond) 14th.
1973 RAC Rally of Great Britain (Russell Brooks) DNF.
1974 UDT World Cup Rally (Andrew Cowan) 15th
Later rally history includes:
1998 Historic Rally Car Register, overall winner.
2001 MSA British Historic Championship, 4th overall.
2007 Tour Britannia Rally.
2016 Bernina Gran Turismo Hillclimb.