The Ford Escort remains one of the most successful products in the automaker’s entire history. After a long and prosperous run, the Blue oval decided to phase out the moniker in favor of the Focus, its replacement which debuted in 1999. To a certain extent, the Escort is now a symbol of an era in which many buyers opted for compact hatchbacks as their first rides. Humble on the outside, the Escort has a long and glorious history to its name.
During its three-decade-long life, the Escort was offered in several different hot versions. Even the most powerful of them, however, don’t come even close to the level of performance this black 1980 Escort offers. And the main reason for that is that not a single Escort ever came with a rotary engine from the factory.
This vehicle started its life as a humble black Escort from the 1980 model year fitted with a 1.3-liter gasoline engine. After a long and probably very costly restoration process involving a complete engine swap, it is now possibly the only Escort in the world to be powered by a Mazda RX-8 rotary mill. Sure, the engine looks to be in completely stock form but the fit and finish are at a world-class level.
From the outside, this Escort looks fairly stock. The paintwork is spotless and only the slightly lowered suspension could hint at what’s hiding underneath the skin. There, aside from the rotary engine, we also find a full roll cage, modified suspension, new exhaust system, new steering rack, and many other modified or new components. In fact, if you take a closer look at the interior, this looks like a tube chassis car.
Needless to say, this red animal is powered by its rear wheels. There’s a massive tunnel inside the cabin where the driveshaft is and there’s nothing behind the front seats – just a tubular construction to keep the car more composite and predictable in corners. Even the RX-8’s original instrument cluster is neatly integrated into the original Escort dash housing – everything is built to a great fit and finish standard.
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