The Ford Escort That Wants To Be A Muscle Car

Walking into Meguiar’s MotorEx last weekend, I was immediately surrounded by Commodores, Toranas and Falcons – just as you’d expect at any Australian custom car show. But the first vehicle that caught my eye was a MkI Ford Escort.

With its retina-searing lime green paintwork and huge blower sitting high above the engine bay, I needed to take a closer look.


Growing up in the UK back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, I saw my fair share of first generation Ford Escorts. Given their rally and circuit race heritage, it’s those motorsport codes that I normally associate the model with, so seeing an Escort built up for drag racing duty was refreshingly different. As refreshing as the color maybe.

Just in case I needed another reminder that I was in Australia, that’s a Holden 253ci (4.1-liter) V8 up front, with a 4/71 GM blower providing the added boost.


This little Escort also serves as a great example of just how well many Aussies build their cars; that is ground-up with lots of custom fabrication and finished off with a show car level of presentation. Just look at the interior which features custom trim, Auto Meter gauges, and a big shifter for the race-spec Powerglide auto transmission.


Occupying the trunk is a large custom fuel tank to keep the engine well fed, and again the attention to detail impresses.


This goes right back to the opening of my MotorEx engine gallery post where I talked about the different ways Australians build their cars. It’s not totally unlike what’s done elsewhere around the world, but there’s always that extra little bit of craziness sprinkled on top.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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Dwarfism is NOT a crime

The Ford Escort That Wants To Be A Muscle Car

Oh, somebody let the ‘lil guy be a muscle car already! He’s apparently eaten all his green vegetables!

The owner is layin it on pretty thick with the “TUF” plate, though.

Is this build ‘Stralia’s way of saying, “now thet’s an eengine.”
If so, it worked.




Yessssss! One of the coolest cars to be built in Australia recently. Owner-built, such involved fab work, super creative driveline, awesomely finished - and knowing the guy who owns this, quite sure it'll get suitably thrashed in many environments.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Must look out for videos. Man I so want to witness a Summernats one time just to see some of this crazy builds abused within an inch of their lives


Nice car, but in Australia the 253 is a joke! It's the v8 you buy when you have a 6cylinder budget.


Or, an Escort-sized engine bay?


As John said, 308 is the same size. There was an escort here in Aus that had a 351 Cleveland in the engine bay. It was set back for better weight distribution.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Very good point, it's mighty tight in there!


small blocks are all physically the same outside size, a 253 and 440ci small blocks are both the exact same physical size


Childish plate - check!
Lurid paint - check!
Stoopid wheels - check!

Nothing like the Galapagos syndrome of bogan donk.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I had to laugh. Still I do find this build massively entertaining and different


You cannot not laugh at real donk, but then pour scorn on bogan donk.

It's all goodly!


I know it's nitpicking and for the rally car look but wide arches up front when its a drag car? Surely skinnies would be better for weight loss and keeping the application of the car in mind, ahh well it's probably still pretty quick and looks well built enough to be used for some serious fun. Good build!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Maybe it's built for burnouts? In that case who would care haha


Yeah, if it was for serious competition the bumpers and other bits would have been omitted too I guess so you're probably right.


Dino, is this how you feel when I keep suggesting that you should V8 the GT-R? If so, I might have some apologies to make...


love it, absolutely crazy , just been working on a mk1 mex the same colour today


Loud color ✓
Big ass blower ✓
Barely usable trunk ✓
Needs way bigger wheels though to be more Australian 3/4 great car!


Someone made this comment already


that's a small one - try this sucker built by Trevor Kitney in the UK. He is now spanner monkeying down in new zealand

Ford Rs9000. yep 'KissMyRS' Escort RS9000 with supercharged 9.2 litre Ford V8


At least it doesn't have stupidly oversized Simmons on it.


This car is confusing. No way it's legal. And a 308 is the same size (externally) to a 253. The 308 is a seriously well known motor, especially in stroked 355 form.
So why go a 253 thong slapper when a 355 would fit in exactly the same spot?


See, this is what a green car should be.

Uses renewable energy, too.

Just top off the tank with more gas and you're set.