The arrival of the Escort Twin Cam at the start of 1968 marked the next phase in Ford UK's production-car based competitions programme that had begun with the famous Lotus Cortina. The Cortina had used the Ford-based 1.6-litre Lotus Twin Cam engine to good effect, and combining this unit with the smaller and lighter Escort bodyshell would prove to be an inspired move.
Competition success had been the Twin Cam’s purpose and Ford's new star was soon delivering the goods. A pair of the Boreham-built Twin Cams dominated the televised Croft rally-cross meeting in February 1968, demonstrating its potential to an audience of millions, while the car's first major international success was achieved that March when Ove Andersson and John Davenport finished 3rd in the San Remo Rally. The Twin Cam's first outright win was achieved by Roger Clark in the Circuit of Ireland Rally at Easter. Despite a short works career that ended in 1971, the Escort Twin Cam won the World Rally Championship for Makes twice, in 1968 and '69, and helped the Alan Mann Racing take the British Touring Car Championship in ’68 with Frank Gardner.
This car, 'XOO 347F’, is one of six original Escorts that Ford loaned to the Alan Mann Racing Team in 1968 to compete in the British and European Touring Car Championships. Originally used as the spare car in the British Championship, the car was occasionally driven by Jackie Oliver. At Brands Hatch that season, Jackie finished 2nd behind Roy Pierpoint's Ford Falcon and in front of Frank Gardner who was driving the championship-winning Escort, 'XOO 349F’.
Bonhams will be offering this Escort at their upcoming Goodwood Members’ Meeting auction on the 19th March, the estimated value is between £200,000 – £250,000. For more information on this and other vehicles at the sale, click on the link below. Photos courtesy of Bonhams.