Launched at the end of 1967 as a replacement for the Anglia, the Ford Escort proved an instant success and was to become one of Britain’s best loved cars with its subtle Detroit-inspired ‘Coke bottle’ waistline and distinctive ‘dog bone’ shaped front grille. The Escort captured the clean ‘60’s look and was widely admired. By 1974 over 2 million cars had been sold.
Mechanically it was conventional but effective, with rear-wheel drive, precise rack-and-pinion steering, MacPherson strut front suspension and a simple rear axle mounted on leaf springs. In the hands of privateers and Ford themselves (through their Boreham Preparation department), the Escort was to change from a sensible small family car to a star of circuit racing and rallying.
From his own garage in Niederzissen, Germany, Erich Zakowski started the Zakspeed racing operation in 1968 under the name of ‘Zakowski Niederzissen Tuning’. He started using a Ford Escort for the Eiffel race at the Nürburgring and never looked back.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Zakspeed established itself in various race series but especially in sports car racing. This particular 1972 Zakspeed replica was imported from South Africa, three years ago, where it was raced only once because the circuits there were deemed not good enough for the car!
The engine is 1,997cc Pinto with 16-valve head, Wossner pistons, Kent cams, Vernier gears, twin 48 Dellorto carburettors. The bottom end is secured with ARP bolts and studs, and the whole lot produces 225bhp at the wheels and 187 lbs/ft torque. There is a paddle clutch, Quaife Type 9 clubman gearbox with quick shift and a new prop shaft with brand new universal joints.
For lubrication and engine protection, the engine is fitted with an Accusump oil pressure accumulator system. The Ford back axle has a Salisbury all-steel limited slip differential. A Holley pump supplies the fuel from a foam-filled alloy tank through new braided fuel lines.
The braking system has Wilwood four-pot callipers with solid discs on the rear and ventilated discs on the front, cross-drilled and grooved. The car has a bias brake pedal assembly and hydraulic handbrake. Braided brake lines are used throughout. Turreted coilover shock absorbers are fitted on the rear with a four-link rear axle and Panhard rod, all with new rose joints. On the front there are Bilstein struts and adjustable track control arms with remote anti-roll bar,
The shell is seam-welded and painted in the original Castrol colours; the paintwork is good, with only a few marks and blemishes. Inside it has the original six dial dash, as well as a full complement of modern gauges and switchgear. The OMP seat and six-point harness are all legal for motor sport until 2020. There is a welded-in roll cage with door bars and a plumbed-in fire extinguisher system.
The current owner checked the engine over when the car was imported and has raced the car only twice since, once at Donnington and once at the HSCC meeting at Spa in 2015, finishing second in class.
There are no papers with the car but the vendor confirms that it is eligible, as it stands, for racing with the HSCC and the Motor Racing Legends series as well as a number of other series. With period-correct AP Racing callipers it would be eligible elsewhere as the rest of the car needs little or no alteration for compliance and it should be possible – if you can handle the paperwork – to obtain an FIA passport for the car (which would increase its value considerably).
This is real racing car that has had a considerable amount of time and money spent on it and has proved that it is a serious contender not just a pretty face. Competition Escorts fetch serious money and there is little standing in the way of this car competing in the top classes and – potentially – commanding serious money.
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