2018 FORD Escort RS1800 Mk 2View vehicle description
- Location: Brentwood
- Gearbox: Manual
- Color: Silver
- Interior: Silver & Gold
This is a remarkable auction for two reasons: firstly the subject – utterly unique and absorbingly beautiful; secondly, part of the proceeds of this auction will be donated to children's charities personally chosen by the creator of this masterpiece – more of which later.
The Market is very honoured to be presenting this auction to you, the auction will complete on May 14th…..let us start with some background…
The Ford Escort RS1800 made its debut on the Granite City Rally in 1975 where Roger Clark took it to first place in its debut rally, a feat he went on to repeat on the Welsh International later in the year.
Timo Makinen joined in the fun, winning that year’s RAC Rally - and the Escort RS1800 went on to win the following four as well. Bjorn Waldegard then won the 1979 World Rally Championship in one, a feat Ari Vatanen repeated in 1981. This domination of the sport cemented the Ford Escort RS1800’s credentials as one of the most successful rally cars ever built.
Its 1.8-litre BDA engine developed between 115 and 270bhp depending on the specification, and the rigid rear axle, leaf springs and rear drums ensured that when it won, it won due to driver skill rather than because of any inherent engineering advantage.
No more than 109 are believed to have been built in total, although many, many more have been assembled over the years…
Including this one; 'The Rascal', the Lord Ford Escort is the culmination of Russell Lord’s 45 years’ experience as a diamond-mounter and rally driver/enthusiast. The project was inspired by his son Rob, who found the half-forgotten remains of his father’s 25-year-old project three years ago when they were moving premises. He insisted that his dad complete the model Ford Escort RS1800, which has been built as a replica of the Rothmans- liveried car Ari Vatanen used to campaign in the late seventies.
As such, the model has a full roll-cage, four massive spotlights up front, and proper rallying bucket seats. As Russell himself describes it: “This ain’t no ordinary little car. This is a proper car.”
Indeed it is. Measuring just over 6 inches long and weighing just under a kilogram, it is built of gold, silver, and platinum and studded with diamonds, sapphires and rubies. Russell says he is too scared to tot up his financial investment in the car but figures over £70,000 have been bandied around - and that’s without putting a price on the estimated 1,300 hours of his life he has invested in it (click here to see the Facebook Page that details the car's build).
The result though, is exquisite; even those with just a passing interest will find watching this video a joyous and uplifting 8 minutes.
And you could own it.
On the Outside
The bodyshell and floorpans are made of solid silver; in total, Russell estimates that around 75-80% of the vehicle is made of the material.
But the rear spoiler is gold, as are the bonnet hinges; these latter components were probably the most difficult items on the car to get right. Even with his years of experience as a master craftsman and real-world spanner wielder, it took him four goes to get them right but they now open in exactly the same way as they do on the real thing. This one component took him around 80 hours to get right...
The radiator grille is made of white gold and finished with a ‘LORD’ decal in lieu of the ‘FORD’ one the original would have sported. It’s touches like this that make this little car so special.
Talking of special, the headlights are 65-point diamonds. (A carat is 100 points.) The lower spotlights comprise another pair of 75-point diamonds, while the upper ones are well over a carat each. The front and rear indicators are orange sapphires, while the rear brake lights are made of rubies, and the oval rear Ford badge is a blue sapphire. Oh, and the reversing light is a diamond too, but you’d guessed that, hadn’t you?
The Minilite wheels were originally made of silver and held in place with one central screw. Russell wasn’t happy with this though, seeing it as too much of a compromise. So he made them again but this time with four studs, just like the full-size car. Remarkably these are fully threaded, Russell even made the wrench to tighten them up with.
This change gave him the space to make replica brake calipers and discs. At which point he remade the wheels again, but this time in 18-carat gold. The tyres were made for him in Germany, and he chose a Dunlop tread pattern as that was his favourite. (C’mon, don’t judge the man; we’ve all got our favourite tread pattern, haven’t we? Mine is the Pirelli P6, in case you were wondering.)
The finished vehicle stands as a tribute to one man’s stubbornness and determination to get things right. As Russell himself says: “I take a pride in my work and I’m determined to do everything I do to the very best of my ability.”
Which explains the wheelarch liners and mud flaps. These are, of course, black on the real Ford Escort rally cars. Which means that while Russell was forced to make them out of gold, he then set more than 630 black diamonds in them to give them the right appearance…
Away from the details, just a quick look at the photos confirms how Russell’s skilled eye has produced a model of perfect proportions, and all the real-world charm of the Mk2 Escort.
On the Inside
Modelled as a left-hand-drive car, just like Ari’s, the driver’s seat has a fixed back, just like Ari’s (and there is a wonderful video from the great man himself in the gallery). Yet, Russell has gone to the trouble of ensuring that the navigator’s seat reclines and the headrest adjusts, just as it did, back in the day. The pedal box is adjustable too, and the handbrake moves through a proper arc.
The gearlever is made of platinum, and it’s topped with a gold gearknob fashioned in the shape of a piston. It moves, of course, and has a diamond set in it.
The steering rack and column are made of 18-carat yellow gold and are topped with an 18-carat gold replica of the iconic Springalex steering wheel.
The attention to detail extends to the underside of the Escort, whose steering works, thanks to a wonderfully detailed miniature steering box and steering rack.
The suspension and anti-roll bar compresses and rebounds too, thanks to the use of pink gold, which has a springiness to it that other golds lack. The rear suspension is a pukka five-link jobbie, too. This is yet another beautiful detail that no-one would have missed if Russell hadn’t invested far too much time and money in doing the job properly.
Yet, you still doubt his commitment? Well, the carburettors are made of yellow gold, with their trumpets being crafted by hand in white gold. Anyone who bothers to use two different types of gold to make a set of carbs is one of us.
No, scratch that; he’s way better than any of us at this sort of thing because you have to keep reminding yourself that he built this car from scratch; this isn’t a beautifully detailed kit, it’s entirely hand-made, with only Russell’s eyes and experience to guide the proportions. Plus his indomitable bulldog spirit, which might just be the most important attribute of them all.
We have included all the photos and specifications, along with some of Russell’s videos in the Gallery below.
For more information, please visit Russell’s Facebook Page that details the car's build where you will find more videos and photos of the car being built, along with interviews with the man himself. As many of you know, the ‘build-log’ has captured the public’s imagination and his daily updates are now regularly seen by tens of thousands of viewers.
What We Think
The Market is very proud to have been asked to auction this very special item. Last year, Russell contacted us enquiring about a couple of Ford auctions we were running at the time, and we are honoured that he has come back to us again to run the auction for this unique expression of his skill, passion and dedication.
As you may be aware by now, Russell will be distributing all of the proceeds above this auction's reserve to a number of charities he is extremely passionate about: Brentwood-based SNAP (Special Needs and Parents), Essex-based BOSP (Brighter Opportunities through Supported Play), Meningitis Now and The Maddi Foundation, which aims to find a cure for a rare form of Motor Neurone Disease.
As a truly unique piece that will benefit these unique good causes, even BBC News have provided coverage. As this auction progresses we shall add further news links into our regular Comments section below the Gallery - we have a couple of nice ones to kick it off...!
As to the car’s value, well, how can we put a value on it? Let’s just say wouldn’t it be marvellous to beat the current auction record for a Ford Escort of £203,100! Is that fanciful? Well, what is the ultimate present for the ultimate Fast Ford or Escort enthusiast? You won’t find another – we are not using the world ‘ultimate’ lightly.
Working from Russell’s material investment only highlights the quality of the end piece, and doesn’t get us to a current value either – particularly as it excludes the hours he has put in.
Regulars at The Market will know that we did start an auction for The Rascal last year, but Russell had to pull the auction at the last hour due to personal reasons. These have taken a little while to sort, but the time is now right to restart where we left off. Another implication of this timing change is that Russell has asked us to significantly lower the reserve (an amount to contribute to his material costs)....it is time for The Rascal to find a new, caring owner.
If you cannot stretch to this beauty, Russell is also selling T-shirts and calendars to further boost the total going to charity - all accessible from his Facebook page or Lord of London directly.
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