Ford Versus Japan
Working Class Heroes

For me, the highlight of Players Classic was the increase in diversity.

While I can never recall any of the Players events being billed as exclusively VW Group events, it seems that more and more people are starting to realise that everyone is welcome at Players. While I enjoy the assembled Volkswagens, Audis, Porsches and others, I did take immense pleasure from the number of cars which don’t fall under the VW umbrella.

In particular this year, I felt there was a huge increase in both the quality and quantity of Ford cars on display. They’ve always had a presence at Players Classic, and tend to stick to the same area each year but this year was just that little bit better. The Ford scene in the UK is maybe one of the largest on the island, and dedicated shows hosted around the country are nearly always full to the proverbial rafters.

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Being from a Ford family, I always enjoy what will show up. You can pretty much guarantee a strong showing from the Escort owners, and in particular the MKI & MKII variants. In recent years, the steady increase of older Fords which were never really treated in the same regard as their more respected brethren when they were new, has really impressed me. The front wheel drive Escort models in RS Turbo and XR3i guise are slowly making a comeback, but are being treated in ways never seen before. The same can be said for the retro Fiestas of similar vintage.

While the Cosworths and RS models will always hold that top tier of prestige within the Ford community, it’s these lesser models that people are willing to take risks and be more adventurous with. The Ford community, at least in the UK, is notoriously all about doing things the Ford way and particularly with regards to the sought after and rarer models. I guess it’s why people are turning to the likes of the Popular as a more unorthodox starting point.

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There’s also a financial aspect to this as well. What were once the cars of the blue collar working class, are rapidly appreciating in value and often escaping the grasp of the kind of people who helped make them what they are today. As such, the ‘lesser’ versions of the more popular models, such as the basic four door Escorts, as an example, are being given a second shot at life as they’ve remained relatively affordable.

How long this will last is still up for discussion. However, there is an alternative which makes up the second half of this coverage…

Spoiled for Choice

While Ford may have provided the cars of my parents’ generation, there’s no question as to what were the cars of my generation. In hindsight, growing up as teenager in the late ’90s and early ’00s, I was spoiled by the influx of Japanese cars into Ireland. It was these cars, their owners and Japanese car culture which shaped how I felt about cars at this critical stage of my life. That love for the cars from the far, far east has never really faded, despite only ever owning German built cars. I’m still unsure as to where that part of me came from.

At the risk of alienating most of our JDM loving UK readers, I’ve always felt that Ireland has had the edge when it comes to the treatment of Japanese cars, although Players Classic showed how much that gap has closed in recent years.

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It was this influx of Japanese cars at Goodwood which was even more impressive than the previously present blue ovals. Yes, there were always a few knocking about over the years but this year seen a dramatic increase. Not only were there the typical Japanese styles present which can be seen almost anywhere around the world at this stage, but the UK owners and builders are really showing their own take on these cars.

What could be referred to as drift style was a predominant sight around the paddocks and other show areas. Most other aspects of Japanese car culture were represented to a considerable degree, with all of the expected makes and models in place.

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In previous years, some of my more Japan leaning friends would ask if Players Classic was worth the trip over. Of course, it was and remains a worthwhile addition to anyone’s calendar, but it did come with a caveat before. That being, it was predominantly a Euro show, but I don’t think that’s as accurate as it used to be.

Off the top of my head, there were Volkswagens, Audis, Porsches, Lamborghinis, Skodas and Seats representing VW Group. There were BMWs, both new and old. There were Fords, and lots of them, including Escorts, Cortinas, Fiestas, Sierras, Anglias and Populars amongst others. Some were on track, some were not. There were hot rods, rat rods, gassers and vintage American pick ups. There was some decent showings of the rotary variety, too. There were racecars and supercars, showcars and streetcars. There were more than a few GT-Rs about the place, and some tasty retro Toyotas. I saw a Hakotora and a genuine Top Secret car, which I never expected to see in person. Silvias, Evos, Hondas and a carbon Supra hiding at the back. I’ve not got everything, and will likely think of more, but there’s no better endorsement that I can give but to try and recall everything which I saw over both days.

It’s been a week since I got home from the UK, and longer again since we commenced our coverage from this two day event in the south of England. I still don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface either but, simply put, if you love cars – and I mean really love cars – then there was something here for you.

While this completes our overall event coverage from the event, there’s one more vehicle which I feel is worth a closer look, and it’s not something you will be expecting…

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos
paddy@speedhunters.com

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28 comments

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1

Wow Paddy, some seriously awesome stuff on display there!
That R32 with the ITB's had ALL of my body parts and such at FULL attention...never thought I'd see an NA GT-R with ITB's, or even knew it was possible without creating an intake manifold.
Talk about an interesting swap, here's hoping you spotlight that car for us and ESPECIALLY with a soundtrack!

3

Paddy, please please please do a feature on that emerald green S14a

4
Kevin Reynolds

OMG! Need a feature on the black Datsun pickup...

5

nice DC5
nice ae86
nice wheel on Pic 12 (dark car ones)

6

fucking hell that rx7 is disgusting

7

I won't lie, I thought that was Nick Frost in one of the pictures...

8

I am a Ford owner from China and I have to say Ford cars are just not as popular as VWs or JDMs here. And we have never been paid attention when talking about tuning / modifying cars so we don't have too much choice about parts. Hopefully we may get more attention / resources in the future.

9

I'll ask for 3 cars:
The white with green stripes Ford (image 19) and the carbon supra, hope you have more details about them.
Taking the rear wheel arches and ride height as a base of my judgement, the fiestas are a WRC/WRX replicas and would be interesting builds if i's not only a normal kitted version.

10

That white vw transporter pickup with avangers theme on bed cover looks interesting...

11

Yeah it does. Looks like a double cab. We don't get that cool stuff where I'm at.

12
Tah-Lii Jackson

I’m really liking that purple civic and the R31 Nissan

13

"I seen a Hakotora" - c'mon mate, at least try to write like a grownup.

Author14

Amended. Although you might get a more positive response in future if you speak with some manners.

15

I like that little accord hatchback. You don't see many of those rolling around anymore.
That civic hatch is sweet too.
Lots of good stuff in there.

16

What's the green car next to the Kenmari?

Author17

Honda Accord

19

I need turbofans! That #25 Escort (I think...) is gorgeous!

Author20

Yes, that's Jamie Gough's MKII RS2000 - https://www.instagram.com/jaymk2/

21

Ford has racing pedigree. Japanese car makers... hm I can only think Honda who supplied engine to McLaren. Ford GT spanked Ferrari's ass at Lemans in the 60's. Sierra Cosworth regularly won races in Europe. Mustang.. needs no introduction here in North America. F-150 is the best selling truck. No Jap can even dream of producing cars Ford does.

Author22

Not only are you wrong, but your post is borderline xenophobic.

Subaru & Mitsubishi dominated World Rallying for a period, and Toyota enjoyed their fair share of success there, too, along with winning at Le Mans, just like Mazda. Nissan and Honda have had remarkable success in touring car championships around the world (remember the R32 GT-R? and most recently by winning the GT1 World Championship. That's not to mention Honda's success on two wheels along with Yamaha and Kawasaki.

Try thinking harder the next time.

23

Ford give buyers a choice of 10 speed auto and the best the Japs can come up with is 8 speed. Mustang gives a specific power of 90.2 hp/l revving to just 6500 rpm and pass emission test. Japs has no naturally aspirated car at present in the market which could produce the same specific power at that "low" revs. F-150 is the best selling pick up outnumbering Toyota,Nissan you name it. You are a jealous foreigner.

24
Paddy McGrath

Um, right. That's some serious goalpost shifting. FYI, the S2000 made 125hp/litre nearly a decade ago. The LC500 makes more per litre than the Mustang does today, and with a 10 speed auto. Nobody here cares about truck sales, and your use of the term 'jap' in this context is considered derogatory. Knock it off.



Oh, and finally, we're all foreigners to someone. Don't be that guy.

25

Do you know how to calculate without exaggerating the figure? 240 /2 = 120 hp/l and NOT 125. Correct or not? Answer it!. Today's emission standard is much stricter than a decade ago. Isn't that correct?? So that 120 hp/l won't pass today emission standard especially in CA. Did you NOT understand when I said Ford can produce that specific power output at only 6500 rpm compared to FC20 Honda's motor which requires 8300 rpm? That engine is by the way inferior in specific TORQUE compared to the Mustang. Lexus is a "prestige" brand competing with BMW, Audi etc while Ford is just a "mass produced" automobile. None of the Japanese mass produced such as Nissan, Toyota etc comes with 10 speed auto. Confirm or deny it.

Author26
Paddy McGrath

Wow, you really hate Japanese cars, huh?

27

Answer my question first and don't change the topics because you know what I wrote above is indeed correct and you "pumped up" the specific power figure. Also on the rpm and that is why you would not comment anymore. Your emotional response by stating "Wow, you really hate Japanese cars, huh" is BASELESS and you as one of the Speedhunters editors / narrators has just shown your subjectivity, a no no in journalism.

28
Paddy McGrath

James, I've answered your questions and you keep shifting the topic. You originally claimed no Japanese manufacturers have ever enjoyed success at motorsport, which was a blatant lie. You then claimed that the Mustang had more power litre than anything Japan has produced, which was also a lie (JDM S2000 at 247hp is 123.5hp/l to be more accurate). The final claim of only Ford offering a 10 speed while the Japanese can only offer an 8 speed was, again, a lie.

When these were pointed out to you, you try to squirm out of it by changing the topic or shifting the goalposts to suit your particularly odd agenda. For the record, I love Fords, Japanese cars and most other makes and models. I just don't like when someone tries to pass off their lies as facts and I'm going to call you out on them.

Finally, you're either trolling or being purposely obtuse. Either way, I'm not dealing with you anymore unless you can demonstrate that you can have a discussion like a grown up and not a petulant child.

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