You'll probably recall PH driving the MST Mk2 back in July. Despite being a recreation rather than a continuation - because it's not an officially sanctioned Ford, and is built by Motorsport Tools in Gwynedd - we were rather excited about it. Unsurprisingly, Mike Duff loved it, and it doesn't take a genius to see why. After all, this is a brand spanking new Mk2 'Escort' built to road or rally spec (depending on your need) possessing old-school charm allied with modern mechanicals and electronics. They had us at hello.
But what if you're not a fan of the Escort Mk2's seventies style? What if your heartstrings are pulled harder by the curvaceous, sensuous, coke-bottle lines of the original Escort Mk1? Then behold, the gorgeous new MST Mk1. As with the Mk2, the Mk1 passes an IVA test so each one will arrive wearing a current registration plate. According to Carwyn Ellis, boss of MST, it's been two years in development, with a big chunk of the company's labour going into the design of the bodyshells, which are built from scratch in the UK and stamped with a DVLA-registered chassis number.
The panels are built up using MST's own jigs. Engine options start with the same four-cylinder, 16-valve, Duratec 2.5-litre as the Mk2. It'll produce at least 200hp in standard specification, thanks to its easy-breathing ATR individual throttle bodies, Simpson stainless steel race exhaust and lightweight flywheel that allow it to rev beyond 7,000rpm. Lubrication is wet sump (the sump is lightweight billet alloy) but you can upgrade that to a dry-sump system with additional cooling if required.
There's an H-pattern five-speed manual as standard with a heavy-duty racing clutch and Atlas LSD live rear axle. If you want, there's also a six-speed manual option. That's taken from the Mazda MX-5 and has either H-pattern or sequential shifting. All the electronics are race spec. The engine ECU is from Life Racing and offers full data logging and a number of pre-set maps. The bespoke CANbus network does away with replays and fuses for improved reliability. If you want more power, there's also the BDG 2.0-litre with 250hp and the Millington Diamond motor. That's available as a 2.5- or 2.8-litre, the latter producing "well over 380hp." It's intended as the racing-spec option but, according to Ellis, can be fitted to a road-going version "if you are brave enough."
The Mk1 has height-adjustable 2.25-inch coilover springs at the front but retains leaf springs at the rear. Standard damping is Bilstein all round, which you can switch to fully adjustable Reiger or Ohlins. Nestled within those gorgeous, Kumho-shod, 13-inch Minilites are AP Racing calipers (four-cylinders with vented discs up front; a single cylinder and solid discs at the rear) and you can adjust the brake bias front to rear.
As far as the interior is concerned, there's the stripped-out racing-style with no sound deadening, or the more road-biased theme that's trimmed by hand. Either way, you'll be waiting around 12-18 months for your car and need to stump up at least £85,000 (plus VAT). However, judging by the response that MST had to the Mk2, with worldwide interest including from the US, it is unlikely to have much trouble selling as many as it can build.
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