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Lot 242: Ford Escort 1850GT 2-Door Saloon

Collectors Motor Cars, Bonhams (18 September 2009)

The toughest post-war test for motor car and crew ever is reckoned to have been the 1970 London to Mexico World Cup Rally upon which 96 intrepid starters, seven of them Ford factory team Escorts, embarked from Wembley Stadium 19 April. The 16,000 miles (25,750k) route in mainland Europe, South and Central America required competitors to ascend hazardous passes as high as 4900m in the Andes and tackle dusty primes as long as 1000k at required average speeds of up to 150km/h. Unsurprisingly therefore that, just over a month later, only 23 survivors crossed the Mexico City finish line headed by winners Hannu Mikkola and Gunnar Palm with 9 hours and 7 minutes of time penalties in FEV 1H, the first of five such works Escorts in the top ten. Finishing 8th overall with 23 hours and 59 minutes lost were former European Rally Champion Sobieslaw Zazada and Marek Wachowski of Poland driving the Ford Motor Company owned and entered FTW 48H, which was hand-built to factory team car specification by British Vita under the supervision of the works Boreham Competition Department who were responsible for final preparations. Still largely original and well preserved with big-bore 'Mexico'-type engine, the 1850GT is offered today very much as it completed the World Cup Marathon. Although Robson's definitive 'The Works Escorts' records FTW 48H as having been sold by Boreham in July 1972 to Spencer Cars of Essex, a DVLA-supplied copy of the original log-book and subsequent V5 Registration Documents confirm post-Ford ownership as having been Melvyn Hodgson, Rod Cattini (who drove the car to an outright win on the February 1981 Fildyke Rally in East Anglia), Neil Macinnes and David Baines among others. Having acquired the car in May 1984, the current owner commenced what has been most sympathetically executed refurbishment and has shown and demonstrated what is believed to be the only privately owned works Escort still in World Cup trim at Ford RS enthusiast and major rally car gatherings (Ford themselves having retained FEV1H for their Museum). Unlike nearly all the other ex-works and competition Escorts however, the car's Type 49 body-shell is still largely original and is very much as it would have been when it was specially prepared for Ford Competitions by Gomm Fabrications with distinctive roof to strut-top protective bars. The 2-door bodywork is presented as per most Boreham Escorts in Ermine White with black trim and event-correct decals in place for number 14. Original features, such as a strong-box for the crew's passports and money and map pockets have been retained, while the Ford factory chassis plate for what was intended to have been a production Escort Twin Cam is included among the car's documents. Again, and most unusually, the FOMOCO World Cup Team 'Mexico' specification for the Kent-type cross-flow power unit on twin Weber 40DCOE carbs has been faithfully retained with the dry-sumped four being of 1834cc capacity (non-original to the car but with a Boreham Comps Dept ID number on the rocker cover) and a ZF gearbox with overdrive 5th and an LSD within an Atlas Axle fitted. Up-rated suspension consists of period-correct Bilsteins and the Minilite wheels shod with Goodyears are original, though for display only (a set of GB alloys fitted with Goodyear road tyres come with the car for MOT purposes) and a Tech Del sump-guard from the era is included. Rally equipment includes a quartet of Cibie lights, an Avanti map-reading lamp, a Halda Twin-Trip and a pair of period bucket seats with headrests and Britax harnesses. A copy of the Boreham 'Works Car Spec Sheet' not only records this left-hand drive Escort's original build, but lists the extra equipment fitted specifically for the World Cup. Also with the car, which will have been freshly MOT tested by sale day, are various photos recording Number 14 passing Big Ben just after the start, in action during the event and having successfully completed one of the major motoring events of the last half century.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors Motor Cars
Bonhams, Chichester, Sussex
Lot Number242
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£64000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£71900
Condition rating0
Registration numberFTW 48H
Chassis numberBB49JC39560
Engine numberB154JJSC&SC
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2