A Cossie In The Usa

I’m continually amazed by the outpouring of reader submissions that have been showing up in the featurethis@dev.speedhunters.com inbox. Today’s story comes from Tony W. Roca who is one of the few (if not the only) Americans to have built and owned a legendary Ford Escort RS Cosworth. Here’s the story in Tony’s own words…

The car pictured here, officially known as an Escort RS Cosworth actually exists somewhat by accident.  My sons and I started out hunting for bits and pieces to build a Sierra RS500 replica and while “shopping” in the UK stumbled across a brand new unfinished Escort Cosworth motorsport shell left over from Ford’s Group A/WRC Escort Rally Car program of the ’90’s.  We acquired the shell and decided to build an Escort rather than the Sierra and the research and parts hunt of what was to be a three year project really got going.

First a brief history of the Cossie.  Early on in the research stage we found a video by Duke Videos in the UK called the Escort Cosworth Story that proved extremely valuable.  It chronicled the development by Ford Racing of Europe and the early racing history of the Escort Cosworth with factory execs and marvelous detailed racing footage.  It became apparent that the Cossie was very special and unique in that the car is a hybrid and shares very few pieces with any Ford production car and was designed and produced as a race car before any detuned street versions were produced.

From the waist down the car is a modified Sierra with the Sierra inline driveline including the Cosworth 2.0L engine that had been winning European Touring Car championships for years, producing over 500 turbocharged hp in race trim. From the waist up it’s a modified MK5 Escort (a front drive sideways-engined small hatchback).  The idea was to get the size of an econobox for rally handling with the proven race engine and suspension of the RS500, and it worked! All the body pieces were custom stamped and assembled by Karmann of Germany.

As we watched the video over and over and looked through the many books and historical bits of info we had accumulated, I fell love with the early tiger stripe cars with their eye catching colors and markings.  The last one, registration J113BPU  was the car Ford used as their first entry in a UK rally, the Hadrian Centurian Rally.  The car handily took first place driven by Malcolm Wilson, who I believe currently heads Ford Europe Racing (or at least in recent history).

This car ran into the ’94 season with different paint and I believe was then scrapped (rally cars last about 2 years before the shells are replaced).

This was the car we would represent with our build, but it would be the tarmac version as I felt the car was not replaceable and we lived near wonderful Road America.

This was never really about just having a legit Motorsport Escort Cosworth in the end.  All of my projects are more about the process, the hunt and the knowledge gained and friends made along the way, and this one would not have been finished to the level it has been without the help of many people.

Genuine OZ magnesium tarmac wheels came from the Sprongl Brothers in Canada, a genuine factory interior and all the factory stamped parts and carbon dash bits came from Nigel Habgood in Vancouver,  the incredibly rare roof vents came from Weegee Smith.

The guys in the RS Owners club in the UK provided original pictures taken by a member present at the actual Hadrian Centurion Rally the car ran at. He even had an original rally sticker for the car, as well as the original factory promo poster Ford displayed in their showrooms after the win.

One prominent member, a Mr. Robeson, upon seeing some pictures of the build in progress noted that the mirrors were wrong.  After explaining that there weren’t any of these cars in our scrap yards, I suggested he not criticize so much and find me the right ones!  About three weeks later to my pleasant surprise, a perfect pair of the correct mirrors showed up.  To all these people I owe and have given thank yous.

The car took about three years to build and sort.  Having the raw parts is only the start.  The engine was completely rebuilt and modified, the shell was seam welded and the cage put in and all painted.

All the suspension was modified to eliminate potential weak points and fitted with spherical bearing ends as well as strut top camber plates, fully adjustable sway bars F&R. There’s also a custom aluminum radiator, a large WRC style intercooler and a one-piece driveshaft.

The trans is a Quaife Big Tooth, while the engine had the usual head work and custom Piper cams and springs supplied by Martin Hadland, chief Escort Guru in the UK.

The engine uses Autronic SM4 management and a GT30R ball bearing turbo.  I even duplicated the factory “hockey stick” flat exhaust.  There’s a long list of other special parts and details.  Rverything was built, welded, and machined in our garage and shop by us.

The end result after a couple of teething problems has been very satisfying.  The engine is conservatively tuned at just over 500 flywheel hp and 420 lb/ft of torque @ 24 lbs boost.  The engine could easily handle over 30 lbs of boost so there is room for more power if desired ( but it will run at the present settings no sweat all day, so why be greedy?).

Handling is excellent with the four wheel drive pulling through a corner and the car feeling as though it rotates almost exactly with the driver.  Weight is about 2,700 lbs with a driver and all fluids.

I feel very lucky to have been able to make this project happen and the car never fails to elicit positive comments wherever it goes, certainly reward enough for the effort.

Regards,

Tony W. Roca

photos by Urban Monkey Images

If you have a cool car or build story that you think is worthy of being featured on Speedhunters, drop us a line at featurethis@dev.speedhunters.com . Please make sure to include your name and location, as well as some basic details and specs, along with at least 5-10 photographs. Photos should be no less than 800 pixels wide.

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39 comments

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1
Urban_Monkey_55

I just wanted to thank Mike and Rod for allowing us to do this. My dad and I are really happy to be featured. I know the photo's aren't near as good as Mikes, but I tried, lol. Anyway, hope everyone enjoys the car, and thanks again to the guys at Speedhunters!

2
Urban_Monkey_55

I just wanted to thank Mike and Rod for allowing us to do this. My dad and I are really happy to be featured. I know the photo's aren't near as good as Mikes, but I tried, lol. Anyway, hope everyone enjoys the car, and thanks again to the guys at Speedhunters!

3

Amazing build! Very nice.

4
Urban_Monkey_55

I just wanted to say thank you to Mike and Rod, for their professionalism throughout the process, and for allowing my dad and I to share our story on one of our favorite blogs. Thank you for the photo credit Mike, I know they aren't as good as yours but I tried! Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys the story, and thank you again to all the guys at Speedhunters. 

5

Nice car. For Europe. For USA, that is HUGE.

6

Awesome car! I always loved the Escort Cosworth. I used to have the Tamiya RC car version of this when it hit the rally stages here in the UK.

7
Urban_Monkey_55

 @BrynAlban LOL, we have it too, painted up the same way. I have pics of the RC version next to this one somewhere.

8
ASD Motorsports

One of my favorite cars of all time. To not only own one in the USA but to also build it yourself to such a level of originality is a mammoth undertaking. Huge respect, and a lot of envy too.

9

 @Urban_Monkey_55 This thing is a beauty! And so is that s2000, you really know your cars!

10
Urban_Monkey_55

 @bradjh Haha, thank you. I didn't expect Mike to use the shots that included my S. I would have put the other wheels on it and washed it otherwise, lol.

11

Great car and story, thanks for sharing!

12

Im so glad the Speedhunters guys took this suggestion. This is what I am talking about. SO SO glad to have these stories being shared. Awesome Tony, thanks so much! I would LOVE to own a cossie.

13

Send it back to wales this instant!!
 
 

14
Urban_Monkey_55

 @PeteWest Haha, come and get it! ;)

15

The only Ford i ever wanted...

16

What a FAB build! As a Londoner that moved to the states a fair few years ago its great to see Ford RS Cosworth over this side of the pond!
 
Urban_Monkey_55 do you guys do any shows or track days?
 
Ww 

17

I absolutely adore the Cosworth. And this build is simply stunning!

18

NV...... NV......... NV........ I'll just drive around Wisconsin until I find this guy - LOL

19
Urban_Monkey_55

 @CossieWill We do! but not lately. We will be planning on doing some coffee and rides events I believe, but the car was last out at Road America.

20

EXCELLENT!!!!!!!! FANTASTIC!!!!! If only Cossies could have gone every where across this globe

21

Thats the kind of readers car that we want to see !!

22

Cool
 

23

AMAZING!!!!!! THANK YOU FOR SHARING, CONGRATS ON SUCH A BEAUTIFUL BUILD!

24

 @Urban_Monkey_55 Great news, I hope to see you guys at an event you are attending soon :)
 
I also run a/the "Ford RS Cosworth" page over at  http://www.facebook.com/fordrscosworth and posted the pics up there for our fans to drool over. 
 
Ww
 

25

Work of art........ One of the 10 best cars in the world

26

I don't often comment but this is a fantastic build and looking car.

27

I don't often comment but this is a fantastic build and looking car.

28

Don't take this as hating, but why the Tial wastegate? Unavailability of the factory wastegate or a compromise for reliability/simplicity?

29

Don't take this as hating, but why the Tial wastegate? Unavailability of the factory wastegate or a compromise for reliability/simplicity?

30

Always loved the escort RS, thought about getting one while attending college in the states, but realized that this ford was never sold in usa... lol
cars should not have boundaries! and so excited to know this car in the states and all the effort and attention to details that has gone into this! absolutely awesome!

32
Urban_Monkey_55

@Bring A Trailer it is still for sale.

33

 @Urban_Monkey_55  
 
Never was notified that it sold. Pretty sure he still has it.

34
Urban_Monkey_55

@Bring A Trailer I know. As I said its still for sale. I'm his son, I took these pictures.

35

Awesome! reppin' good old Texas

36

 @Urban_Monkey_55  @Bring yo guy i need some contact information for you guys i have a sierra cosworth need to ask some questions

37

Beautiful car! Well done guys! Thanks for sharing this here! Just love the old Escort Cossies!!

38

Wow, a really nice build...until you have owned and or built one of these you cannot appreciate the work and effort involved. I have a road legal Escort now, and before this I built another Escort and Sierra 3dr Cosworth, it is a labor of love and well worth it in the end.

39

Wow, a really nice build...until you have owned and or built one of these you cannot appreciate the work and effort involved. I have a road legal Escort now, and before this I built another Escort and Sierra 3dr Cosworth, it is a labor of love and well worth it in the end.

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