Car Spotlight>> Red Top Mkii Escort

It’s almost hard to believe that the humble MKII Escort has been around for thirty six years already. I don’t think anyone could have had quite imagined the impact the car would have on the motoring world when it launched. Its simplicity has lended itself to help the Escort become one of the greatest rally cars of all time.

It was successful on track too but its fame and popularity had a lot to do with the success and style of Messrs Vatanen, Mikkola, Waldegard, Clark & Co.

It comes as no real surprise then of the amount of people who wanted to build and create something which would allow them to live out the original sideways lifestyle.

This particular MKII is a road car with very little everyday comforts. For me, it’s pretty much the epitome of the term fast road car.

The decision to run Vauxhall’s legendary C20XE is not a surprise. The two litre, twin-cam and sixteen valve four cylinder engine has been powering many a Ford Escort to sideways action for quite a long time. The earlier versions of the C20XE have Cosworth cast heads (known as CosCast) and are known to make up to 300BHP NA (they come with around 150BHP as standard)

That small piece of black metal is to protect the brake light unit from being damaged when travelling sideways. The rally Escorts are known for collecting pieces of scenery especially when coming off a tight corner. It’s no wonder that brake lights and quarter panels are rising in value and decreasing in availability.

This is probably one of my favourite road legal MKII Escorts. I wouldn’t change a single thing.

Paddy McGrath

More Ford Escorts on Speedhunters

Irish Rallying on Speedhunters



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I was hoping for a MK2 SR20DET Redtop car! But its a awesome build regardless the Opel/Vauxhall engine!


There's no such thing as a 300 bhp c20xe. 260-ish, yes..


I should have elaborated on that to be fair. They can make 300BHP (more with nitrous) with extensive block and head work. A quick look online will show you a C20XE on an engine dyno making 300BHP (it's been bored to 2.4 which obviously helped quite a lot) Apologies for being unclear! - PMcG


I love MKI & MKII rally cars. This red one is very nice!


Oh god. I want it so bad. This has been one of my dream cars since I was a wee tyke, kind of shitty since I live in Canada though and the odds of getting one over here are pretty slim, I imagine.


Rad. I'm feelin this.


Earplugs required, nice.


Still miss my 78 Mk2 2L/5spd :( I cried when I crashed it and now have a hatred for Nissan Micras.. grrr


Great car, it's looks so perfect!


Is painting a cam cover really that hard?!?! nice overspray!


300 crank hp, 250 wheel if your lucky


The fuck you need 16 valves for on a 4 banger? 8 would work better.


Paddy, you have the most round-about, backwards, uninforming way to write an article on a car that I have ever seen. Who owns this? What's been done to it besides throwing out the Ford engine for a Vauxhall unit with a Cosworth head? Does this really get thrashed in the forests or is it just a shiny show car to be put on display? You've given us a handful of vague words and a lot of pretty pictures. This is a beautiful car, and I want to know its story, imagine driving it, envy the owner and their efforts. Instead I feel empty and ripped off.


Thanks for taking your time to comment Jared. First off, I'm not a writer in any way, shape or form. I'm a photographer. So I apologise if my writing is not up to spec. I do however always try my best but I'm aware that sometimes that isn't enough.

Secondly, when you see a story posted here with the headline 'Car Spotlight' it indicates that this is only a brief taste of a car we happened upon at a show. We often don't know the owner, we don't know the details but we still deem the car interesting enough to share with our readers. When you see a 'Car Feature' headline, this is when you can expect details of the build and the finished car.

This particular car is a road car which by the looks of it has been completely rebuilt from the ground up. I used the term 'fast road' car for a reason as it's a compromise between a fully fledged and stripped out rally car and a conventional daily driver. 

I hope this clears things up for you.


Paddy McGrath




diggin that 'piece of black metal'...=P


Well done on the flares!


This is the first time i'm hearing about the c20xe, did it come in any GM products along the years?


Almost too clean to drive (in pictures), almost. I'd still drive the piss out of it doe ;-)


I'll be honest, I'm a noob when it comes to Ford racing history. Never really knew Escorts got down like this until I visited speedhunters. This is ssick


That car is PERFECT.