Ford Escort RS1600
Ford Escort ex Hannu Mikkola winner of the '' East African Safari 1972 ''.
A unique piece of history. After her victory in 1972 she was stored in her state. Totally original, it tells a lot! No repairs have been made since. She is rolling, everything works.
The first East African Safari Rally took place in 1953 to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Accordingly, the event was originally known as the Coronation Safari Rally and passed through the British colonies of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika.
Of the eighteen surviving cars, the Ford Escort RS 1600 shared by Hannu Mikkola of Finland and his Swedish co-driver, Gunnar Palm, was the fastest of them all. It was a historic win as Mikkola became the first winner not born on the African continent.
First introduced in 1968, the Escort range included the "Twin Cam" model, which, as its name suggests, was powered by a twin cam engine. It was the same eight-valve four-cylinder that had originally been developed by Lotus for the hugely successful Cortina touring and rally cars.
Added to the Escort line in 1970, the RS 1600 was powered by what was effectively a thinly disguised racing engine. The RS was short for "Rallye Sport", which clearly indicated the intent of the new model. The main ace up its sleeve was the "BDA" engine which had been developed specifically for the RS 1600 by Ford's engine partner, Cosworth. For homologation purposes it was based on the same "Kent" block as previous Escort engines, but featured a bespoke aluminum alloy head
Well aware of the challenge ahead, Boreham's engineers set about carefully preparing the five Escorts. They were fitted with a bull bar to ensure that an encounter with local wildlife did not end the charge prematurely. Other changes included easily replaceable plastic covers over the headlights and additional protection for the exposed camshaft to deal with rocks kicked up by very rough roads. The rear had proven to be a weak point in 1971, so this was another area where reinforcements were made. Drivers had the option of installing additional lights, so the final configuration of each of the five cars was slightly different.
Mikkola's historic victory in the East African Safari Rally was immediately recognized and the winning Escort RS 1600 with registration number RWC 455K was retired from active service there. Ford nevertheless later decided to part with the car, and it was acquired by City of Speed in Gloucester. It was then briefly owned by Malcolm Wilson, whose company M-Sport runs Ford's current WRC effort there, before joining Gordon Curry's collection.
In 2016, the Escort was presented at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, which included a rally class for the first time. Unsurprisingly, the ex-Milkola machine won first place in its class.
Keyword Search Terms:ford, escort, historic, racing, RS1600
Joined February 2022
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