Ford Escort MKII RS Mexico – Concours
Not strictly a Video or a How To article but a little bit about my experience owning Ford RS Cars. And entering into a Novice Concours competition @ Santa Pod’s RS Central Day at the last minute!
I’d been a member of the EYRSOC for a number of years & visited most of the Ford RSOC Club Days around the UK. So my, various, Ford RS Cars had always been clean, really clean. But never what I’d consider as concours clean! They were clean enough outside and the interior was usually spotless but the engine bays & the underneaths were just ok.
I’d been looking for a MKII Ford Escort RS either a Mexico or RS2000 for a very long time, a few years, and I had viewed many. Even travelling up to Frazerburgh & back in the same day to view a supposedly very good RS2000! But of course it was nothing like & I knew within 30 secs of seeing it ?? ?
Eventually, I found the car that I was looking for & it had been rebuilt form the Ground up. It was as clean underneath as it was on the top & the engine bay was spotless. The interior was in very good condition with only a few marks here & there. It was definitely more of a ‘show piece’ than a car that had been used. But I knew that if I was going to have one this had to be it. It still looked way, way better than it drove though! This day & age these cars are very much an acquired taste. They’re a lot of money & leave very little to be desired.
It ‘broke down’ on the way home & we had to be recovered by the AA ? But when we got it back home it drove straight off the transporter no problem?! Turns out it had a Tran X Plated Diff & it was very, very stiff in operation. So we thought it was seizing up, as it made a proper racket, when we stopped for a break on the journey home. But that’s how they are! This is OK when you know what you’re dealing with but the previous owner failed to mention as much.
Over the next few months I did a lot of tinkering with it. The Engine was a Harris Brothers 2.0 HPE that was more suited to a drag strip than a street and this was causing a lot of drivability issues! The Diff was changed numerous times from standard to Quaife & back to standard again. We changed the Gearbox to a 5 Speed. The Cam to one with a smoother profile to try & make it drive better. I tried a different Manifold & Exhaust system, this was after Santa Pod, rebuilt the Carbs & had them tuned to try & sort some running problems but nothing seemed to really work. It just ran rough & didn’t seem to be no where near as accelerative as it should have been. But it did look great, really great! Park it next to another car of the same age & this looked like a New RS Mexico!
I think I cleaned the underneath more than I did the top but when they are this good it’s a shame to not keep on top of them, or underneath for that matter lol. As for the Engine Bay then, wow, it just popped. This is how engine bays should look, not much plastic in here.
So, I decided to go to Santa Pod for the RSOC Central Day car show. I was booked in on the EYRSOC stand as always. So, to be on the stand you should really have a nice clean car for the display. If it rains or your car gets dirty on the way to a show then you should really be prepared to wash & detail your car. It’s basically so that all the Cars on your Stand look clean & well looked after to the general public, plus you have a chance of winning a prize for best stand of the show.
But as soon as I got there the other members were badgering me to enter it in concours, a thing that I’d never even contemplated before. Now, I’m not sure if this was them mainly having me on or what but I said OK I’ll have a go. Thinking, I know my cars pretty clean & it’s not rained on the way down here so how hard can it be to get it cleaned up, right! Bearing in mind that I’d travelled from Sheffield which is a not inconsiderable 130+ Miles, in one of these, that very same morning!
I moved from the EYRSOC stand to the Concours area & set to work, I always carry certain detailing products with me when I go to these events, cleaning my car. I was entered in the ‘Novice’ Old School Class which means I didn’t have to worry about the underneath of my car. The Exterior wasn’t too bad with minimal dirt so I got that & the Wheels / Tyres detailed up 1st. Then set to work on the Engine Bay which didn’t look too bad until you started digging deeper! It was filthy, in relative terms, with dust, oil deposits, fluids etc. Plus it was a windy dusty day so every time I cleaned away the dirt it seemed to come back ? Anyway, I decided I’d done enough & had to concentrate on the interior. Then it dawned on me that I didn’t have a Vacuum Cleaner, aargh. So, I had to do the best I could by picking up bits of dust etc by hand, stuff that you wouldn’t have even bothered about generally but it had to be spotless, under the Seats, in the seat rails, under the dash, in the Boot Area and so on. Then back to checking over the rest of the car again & again.
Then you get judged! And they don’t miss a thing! They told me that my interior could have been cleaner & they’d found some dust / dirt on the underneath of the seat rails. Oh well I’d tried my best with the tools that I had. Tbh I can’t say that it was a totally awesome experience as you are tied to your car for virtually the whole day & you do miss seeing the rest of the show. It was OK for a one off but it’s not something that I’d personally want to do even on a semi-permanent basis. I like clean cars & I also like to see the Concours Cars @ Car Shows but I think that it’s better to be able to look at them at your leisure than to compete. Oh, and that’s even after winning my class on the day ??
The story doesn’t quite end there though. As I was about to set off home on the long journey back the Drivers side Seat Backrest decided to fail on one side. So I had a 130+ mile journey in an Old car having to lean to one side whilst driving ? Oh, and the dust / dirt that the judges had found turned out to be the Seat Cushion that was deteriorating & breaking up. Something else to fix ?
It was an experience owning a car like this but I miss the look of it more than the driving experience. It looked great on the driveway & I enjoyed keeping it in A1 condition but it was only good to drive on very short blasts or to a local meet & then get it home before something else broke on it. Don’t even mention the Alternator, I had more than enough trouble with that ? I sold it local & still see it now & again but I’m not pining for it or regretting selling it, yet (& that was 5+ Years ago!).
A few more photos of it in various stages whilst I had it.