Car Spotlight>> An Old Escort From The Future

A good portion of the Gymkhana Grid car line up was cars we've already seen. More than 50% of them were Formula D cars, the others from Time Attack and Rally Cross. The standout car was Ken Block's 1978 Ford Escort RS Mark II which was being driven by Vaughn Gittin Jr for the weekend. 

Ken drove a historic spec Escort Mark II at a Colin McRae stage, in 2008, and instantly fell in love with it. So in February 2009, he got one. 

The car was converted from RHD to LHD and spec'd up to Ken's wishing before it was shipped to America from the UK.

Ken lent the car to Vaughn for the Gymkhana weekend. This lightweight underpowered car was a big change from the much bigger and heavier Fords we see Vaughn Gittin Jr driving around most of the time….

Vaughn's weekend was cut short by two blown Proflex shocks and some gear box issues. Those factors lead for Vaughn to, ironically, be defeated by a Mustang driven by fellow Formula D driver, Tony Brakohiapa, in the first round of eliminations.

But let's get back to talking about the car.

This particular Mark II's beating heart is a Millington 2.4L engine…

….with individual throttle-bodies pushing out approximately 275 horsepower.

The out side of the car might have looked like an old Escort, but the interior time warped from the future. There's no H pattern gearbox here but a six speed paddle shifted mechanical/sequential gearbox.

The spaceship-ness doesn't stop at just the modern gearbox. The steering column cover has been upgraded from its original plastic to carbon fiber. Other than for looks, I have no idea why this piece needed its carbon upgrade…. 

More carbon goodness on the car's ignition panel.

Even the rear crash bumper is carbon fiber!

The trunks on these cars aren't the biggest, so when you have to fit a fuel cell and spare tires into it, a compromise of some sort must happen. The curved in fuel cell is genius.

In typical Mark II Escort fashion, it's shoe of choice are a set of Minilite wheels. 

It takes some getting used to seeing a classic car like this with livery designed in 2010. 

Watching these cars light up some tires never gets old. 

Though Vaughn's weekend was cut short by mechanical problems, it was great to see older cars, like this Escort, compete in modern competitions with modern components installed. This is a trend I'd love to see even more at Formula D. Really, who wouldn't love to see a Mark II Escort attacking the Irwindale banking at 90+ MPH?

I'd have zero complaints there.




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Don't like the livery, somehow to modern for an odlschooler like this one...


Nice to see Jr having some fun one of the original sideways Fords. Funny how it's the odd one out there yet they litter every rally/autocross event here in Ireland


Now that's a proper Ford Escort!

Must be a hoon to drive...


FORD RULZ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sorry, but any car that is converted from RHD to LHD or vice versa is ruined.


as far as i know there is only one prodrifted escort and that is here in Ireland :D


I think the livery is a bit too modern for this car, but an awesome car it is :D


outstanding realy,great car...


It's nice to see more and more of the import crowd getting into older cars and bringing them up to modern standards. It's so cool seeing them compete with newer vehicles. Plus, driving a car that's more 30 years old is an experience every man must have before they die.


nice Ford,my favourite...


its always nice to see an older car dfirting its way around the new cars. but its kind of weird to see Jr. out side of a mustang. if you know what i mean. but really add some more older cars to FD1!!!! i would love to see that!!!


Finally the yanks have seen the light. Ya don't need a million horse power Jap yoke to have some fun, all ya need is an auld Escort. Drive her straight sideways. The yokes are gods gift to motoring here in Ireland and even though there over 30 years old, you'll not find a single rally in Ireland that doesn't have one being driven on the edge. We love the machines sooo much theres songs and all.....


nice car, but just keep it in one color...


Older cars are now getting more common place here in the UK, With one team running all old school wheels


For sometime I had a MK1 with a worked NA 1600 - doesn't sound like much but this thing was a screamer and was bloody quick. This escort here would be near untouchable... with a healthy linear power delivery i'd imagine.


Car should suit Gittin well. Has the same rear end set up as the Mustang, dosn't it? :D


A) BDA powered Escorts aren´t underpowered

B) This crap ain´t gymkhana. Youtube Gincana Portugal to see REAL Gymkhana

Damn, the pictures in this site arent worth the dumb captions they got...


That is the first time I've ever heard a Millington being described as "underpowered" hahahaha!


Awesome car , I love it ! :D

Drift-spec Mk 2 Escort ?? Declan Munnely of Ireland , competes in Prodrift , the BDC and JDM Allstars with one :)

Link :


looks the part.. can't beat the old one's for a real test of a drivers skills - even if it has been brought up-to-date/compliance..


Priceless: 275hp Escort, underpowered!


The bit on the "minilites" that says Compomotive ML funnily enough means they are Compomotive MLs.


I spy a wrx gas pedal! :D


Love it! Would be an absolute ball to drive.


My dad rallied an escort for over 30years..

the only thing i dont like about this. is that is took gitten Jr and block to get the escort on here as a full feature.. the mk2 escort is the greatest rally car of all time...... many ameture drivers in ireland who would pummle these two in an escort........ but anyway. i actually like the livery on it. and its great to see the old skool machines on it


275 bhp Millington NA YB Cosworth, Underpowered ? You're kidding right ?

Come on Linhberg, do your homework, this engine was also fitted to the late great Colin McRae's Escort Mk2 and his own bespoke project R4.

Oh, and don't even get me started on that livery !

Shame my first post wasn't more positive, as this is a great site with superb photos



Hideous livery


yes 275 hp is underpowered in a class containing cars above and beyond 650hp especially given the added tq disadvantage for a small displacement NA motor - and let's talk apples to apples Mc Rae never raced the same conditions against the same competitors or he would have driven a mustang or something else instead not this.

I'm not really sure what to think about the car itself - it's a great car to begin with but all of this tacky paint and smurf blue interior and carbon garbage is flat out rice.

It's too bad ken couldnt have shown more restraint and built something a little more classy with this one.


greatest car ever built!