Feature: Ford Escort Mk2 Rally Car

4 Replies

Thomas Purdy from Newtownards in Co. Down has been about the automotive trade and motorsport for well over twenty years and bearing in mind he is only mid thirty years of age that’s a young start into motorsport. Thomas in his younger days campaigned a Ford Sierra 2lt 4×4 and a Mk2 Escort Harrier on track days which then firmly set the bug into his system.

Natural progression saw Thomas buy a half built rally car, this was in the form of a Ford Escort Mk2 running a pinto engine with a five speed quaife gearbox, a healthy start for anyone wanting to get half serious. This car received a bit of an upgrade whilst Thomas got it finished off for use; to the tune of Twin 45 carburettor’s, seats and harnesses, fresh competition tyres and a 4.4:1 crown wheel and pinion.

This car was then taken to a few hill climbs however the class the car was running in, wasn’t ideal for Thomas or the car due to the fact everything else in the same class ran 16 valve engines so the little escort was always well down on power and after a couple of years Thomas decided it was time for an “all or nothing” approach.

This is where what we see today began; Purdy stripped all the valuable bits that were not transferable to his new plan, off the car, to be sold in order to raise as many pennies as possible to start buying for the new build.

Soon after Thomas had a plethora of trick bits stock piled but no car to fit them to. This was due to the fact that the shell was in the capable hands of Mk2 guru Camillus Bradley who was fitting bigger tunnels to accommodate the quaife sequential 60g gearbox.

Camillus Bradley also fitted 15 inch rear tubs to allow for the larger, wider wheels required for traction along with an electric power steering unit. Whilst there the car was sand blasted to enable an inspection of the structural integrity of the shell.

Once Thomas got the car home he started to dry build the car which took a good few months in his spare time which allowed for the car to be painted, knowing there would be no more holes etc required anywhere on the immaculate shell.

Prior to painting however Thomas employed Davey Kidd and John Montgomery who are local to North Down and masters of the metal work / body trade, to prepare the shell before it went to the painters. The trusted sprayer was to be Raymond Donnelly of Omagh, who as Thomas found out, appears to paint very little other than rally cars and indeed left this stunning example with a flawless finish.

It was then like Déjà vu for Purdy when he started fitting the mechanicals and safety equipment again, though this time it was all to stay bolted for good. Ronald Montgomery was to be the next on the “trusted list” for the fresh wiring this car required for any sort of reliable use.

Thomas’ father treated him to the 2.4 16v duratec engine which provides 260bhp with 200lb/ft of torque and matched with the sequential gear box and flat shift system it doesn’t take long to reach top gear and top speed. Suspension wise the car runs the basic Bilstein coil over spring set up all round with a tension kit on the front.

Drive wise the quaife sequential box drives an atlas axle fitted with a quaife differential and a 4.6:1 crown wheel and pinion. Putting this power to the ground is aided by a stock of Dunlop rally tyres and stopping power helped with the aid of AP Racing 4 pot callipers all round, matted to AP Racing discs.

Since 2010 when Thomas started using the car on the ANICC championship hill climbs and sprints he has achieved many trophies and has received some media coverage, sadly his father had passed away before completion of the car so these achievements have an even more special meaning.


About Author

Graham is a professional photographer and motoring writer with over 15 varied years of coverage from manufacturer press launches to international motorsport and rally events throughout the world. Graham is a full member of the Guild of Motoring Writers. See more at grahamcurry.com

RMS Forum Comments

jimcupra replied at 13:06, Fri 05 Feb, 2016
That's a sight to behold a mk2 being driven how it should. Memories of the auld lads mk2s (y)
Marc replied at 13:23, Fri 05 Feb, 2016
god thats a tidy looking machine!
IL replied at 15:16, Fri 05 Feb, 2016
Beautifully turned out machine at each round.
stevieturbo replied at 15:40, Fri 05 Feb, 2016
Yep, always stunning !