top of page

Ford Escort V8s

'The ex-Walter Robertson Ford Escort V8

BUILT : mid-1970s


ENGINE : 5.0 Rover V8 cylinders    BHP : 280

WEIGHT : 857 kgs

RACED BY : Walter Robertson, Maurice Lyon/Barry Costello ( 1980s ), Mick Tester ( 1990-92 ), Peter Thurston ( 1992-04? ), Lee Costello ( 2004? to date )

CURRENTLY : alive and well in the North-West

NOTES : The Rover 3.5 V8 has been widely used in road and race cars and this was the engine chosen by Maurice Lyon and Barry Costello when they built up a former Walter Robertson racing Escort. Four side-draught Dellorto Carbs helped pushed power up to 280 bhp. 15 inch wheels at the back , 10" up front gave the car its mean stance . The team raced throughout the 1980s from the build in 1978 particularly in the BARC NW Saloons until selling it on to Mick Tester in the winter of 89/90 . Tester took a class win the 1990 BARC Special GTs . In Feb 1992 by which the car had been repainted gold it went to another owner Peter Thurston who returned the car back to black . Unfortunately in only its third race the car was almost written off in a huge crash at Lydden Oct `92 , which damaged almost every panel after spinning down the pit wall. The car was eventually rebuilt after 5 years and Peter won his SEMSEC Saloon class in `97 ,`98 and `01.

The car was featured in Classic Ford ( Jan 2003 ) with little of the car`s history known at the time of the article. By then a 5-litre Rover wa added in 1999. A crash at Brands in a Formula Saloon race in August 2003 sidelined the car for a second time but the old warhorse was repaired and found its way back to the Costello family where Barry`s son Lee ran it at the CSCC revival meeting in 2011 at Mallory Park. 

This car remains a lovely time capsule from a golden age of special saloons and it`s owner Lee Costello is a popular and passionate supporter of the revival of the genre. 

Escort-AJP 4.7 Micheal Saunders.jpg
'The AJP Ford Escort V8'

BUILT : became a special saloon in the 2010 decade

CLASSIFICATION : retro Special Saloon 

ENGINE : 4.7 TVR AJP V8 cylinders    BHP : 

RACED BY : only raced by current owner in it`s current modified form.

CURRENTLY : alive and well

NOTES : Originally an Escort Mexico this car has developed recently into a very interesting machine. Previous owner David Hickton raced it in the 2000s and it featured on Top Gear when Jeremy Clarkson raced it in a Historic saloon race at Lydden. The current owner bought her around 2013 and took the modifications up a few notches. Added as a stablemate to the team`s TVR Cerbera GTO racer the Escort had a TVR AJP race engine fitted which could make it truly unique. In 2019 it raced in Bernie`s V8 Championship and in modern Thundersaloons but is now eligible for the CSCC series for special saloons with post-93 engines 'it was technically eligible for the old class but I’m happy to be put in whatever class people want me in. The car is great fun to drive and a complete handful'.

Sounds bonkers so will fit in to the series nicely !

'The Lawrencetune-built Ford Escort Martin V8'

BUILT : 1970 by Lawrence Tune

CLASSIFICATION : Special Saloon 

ENGINE : Ted Martin V8  2846cc  BHP : 270 ( 1970 spec )

RACED BY : Phil 'Pip' Danby ( 1969-70 ), John Wingfield

( 1971 ), Robin Gray ( 1971 ), Colin James ( 1972-74 ). 

CURRENTLY : for restoration. Location not known

NOTES : In 1970 Lawrence-Tune of London were involved building in a batch of 5 Escorts using obsolete Ted Martin-designed F1 engines dating from around 1966/67. These were compact , light but under-powered at 270 bhp for F1 and had an unreliable reputation. The car was originally a 1100 before Chris Lawrence fitted a x-flow for Pip Danby to race in 1969 Colin James is credited with the build, fitting the Martin 2.8 for it`s new owner Danby ( 1970 ) and then first John Wingfield then Lawrencetune employee Robin Gray ( 1971 ) with a 3.0 engine fitted to race this 'works' car. Gray going onto successfully race the team`s Morgan in Modsports and still races his lovely Firebird today. Brian Cutting from Bournemouth had an interesting career and raced at least 3 different Escort V8s on and off between other cars. He had another 3-litre Martin-engined Escort 1971-73. Looking at the results the team had a mixed 1970 season with a bad crash in wet practice at Crystal Palace but found reliability in 1971 with Gray taking 2nd in class in the BARC Osram championship with at least class runner-up finishes, usually behind Gerry Marshall. The car was twice featured in print when track tested...CCC in September 1970 and Motor in July 1971. 

Colin James of Lawrencetune then raced the car in 1973/74 before it went off the radar.

Out of the blue this 'works' car appeared for sale at the NEC in early 2019 in wonderful original condition with engine. I know nothing more so this is one car that hopefully will reappear soon. Watch this space !

Escort Martin2.jpg
bottom of page