1968 Ford Escort Twin-Cam Competition Saloon

Courtesy of Bonhams

 

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.

 

Paul Hardiman

Paul Hardiman - SCM Senior Auction Analyst

Paul is descended from engineers and horse thieves, so he naturally gravitated toward the old-car marketplace and still finds fascination in the simpler things in life: looking for spot-weld dimples under an E-type tail, or counting the head-studs on a supposed Mini-Cooper engine. His motoring heroes are Roger Clark, Burt Levy, Henry Royce and Smokey Yunick — and all he wants for next Christmas is an Alvis Stalwart complete with picnic table in the back and a lake big enough to play in.

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