The arrival of the Escort Twin Cam at the start of 1968 marked the second phase of Ford U.K.’s production-car-based competitions program that had commenced with the Lotus Cortina. That had used the Ford-based 1.6-liter Lotus Twin Cam engine, and combining this unit with the smaller and lighter Escort body shell proved an inspired move.
A pair of Twin Cams dominated the televised Croft Rallycross meeting in February 1968, demonstrating their potential to an audience of millions, while the car’s first major international success was achieved that March when Ove Andersson and John Davenport finished 3rd in the San Remo Rally.
Roger Clark got the Twin Cam’s first outright win in the Circuit of Ireland Rally at Easter. The Escort Twin Cam won the World Rally Championship for Makes twice, in 1968 and ’69, and helped the Alan Mann Racing-entered Frank Gardner take the British Saloon Car Championship in ’68. The Alan Mann cars all used Cosworth’s Formula 2 engine – the FVA – which was based on the Twin Cam cylinder block and thus eligible under the U.K.’s relaxed Group 5 rules.
XOO 347F is one of the six original Escorts that Ford loaned to the Alan Mann Racing Team in 1968 to compete in the British and European saloon car championships.
The bodyshell has a number of unique Alan Mann Racing modifications — and a suspension package designed by Len Bailey, who penned the Ford GT40 chassis. The fragile Cosworth FVAs were all returned to Ford, so a Geoff Richardson 240-bhp FVA — built from new components — is installed today together with a magnesium-cased 2000E “Bullet” gearbox.
The engine has done one Goodwood Festival of Speed event, two test sessions, and three one-hour races. Accompanying documentation consists of a V5C Registration certificate, Geoff Richardson Engineering engine specification sheet, and an Essex County Council letter confirming that XOO 347F was first registered to the Ford Motor Company Ltd., Warley.