Things that are fun often annoy people. Driving like a loon, doing a really loud fart, or, in Matt Smith’s case, taking a mint Escort Cossie, chopping it up, and removing pretty much every part the RS fanatics love and cherish.
Taking an angle grinder to a stunning Cosworth most of us would love to own wasn’t actually the fun part; in fact that sounds damned scary to us. What’s fun is the finished result, the absolute beast you see right here.
It’s pretty much a given that any car with a pair of massive turbos poking out of the bonnet is going to be a serious weapon. So without even reading this feature, we’re sure you can guess this gleaming red Escort Cosworth has something special under the bonnet. But it’s far more than that. In fact, it’s probably the least standard Cossie we’ve ever seen.
The thing is, if you don’t understand why they’ve been done, a lot of the mods Matt has carried out sound like a bad idea. One thing is for sure, they’ve sure chafed the arses of the die-hard Cosworth fans.
You see, while it’s a genuine Cossie, the Cosworth engine is gone. It’s a Ford, but there isn’t even a Ford engine anymore. The four-wheel drive system? Gone. It’s now two-wheel drive. Five-speed manual gearbox? Replaced with a two-speed auto. Independent rear suspension? Nope. It now has an old-skool solid rear axle.
But believe us, every single one of these changes has been done to create a drag monster capable of 8sec quarters on road legal tyres and pump fuel. Something that would no way be possible with original parts.
But, if these things are all so bad in the eyes of so many people, why is this car so insanely fast? Well, for a start, those two massive turbos you see poking out of the bonnet are attached to a race-spec 6.1-litre Chevy V8, capable of well over 1000bhp and 1000lb/ft at full boost.
The suspension and transmission is now full drag spec, and the rear tyres are the biggest we’ve ever seen fitted to a 10×18-inch wheel, at an insane 385 wide! Stretched tyres have no place on this monster.
Even though the suspension is specially designed to help get the power down, and those huge tyres give the RS a massive footprint on the tarmac, traction is still a serious problem on anything but a fully prepped drag strip.
It’s hard to not spin the wheels all the way to 150mph even on the strip. And you’ve got no chance on the road!î Matt laughs. Despite these serious traction issues, and only running around two-thirds of maximum boost.
Matt has already hit a Veyron smashing 9.5sec quarter at 145mph, while running around 850bhp. And once the grip is sorted and boost is increased, an 8sec quarter looks on the cards.
As mentioned earlier, this car is fully road legal, and Matt still drives it on the road. In fact, he has to. I’ve built it to compete in Street Eliminator drag racing, which the car has to be fully road legal to compete in, including road tyres, pump fuel, MoT and tax, he explains.
But unlike many street-legal drag cars, which are thinly disguised fiberglass-paneled spaceframed dragsters, Matt’s Escort has a full steel body. It also boasts a stunning looking interior dripping with carbon fibre, and actually drives really well on the street.
Although it’s impossible to use all of its incredible power on the road, even without anywhere near full throttle, there’s very little that can keep up with this monster in a straight line.
One thing Matt is keen to stress is that this car and its drag racing exploits was a team effort, Team Extreme in fact. Team Extreme are a bunch of drag racing obsessed friends, each with their own wild road legal drag weapon, from Skylines to Mustangs, and of course Matt’s bonkers Escort.
As much as cars are about being individual, having a team of like-minded car nuts on your side is a great way of not only getting great ideas of how to build, maintain, and improve your car, but it makes it a lot easier to ignore the naysayers who don’t agree with what you’re doing to it!
Despite creating an amazing one-off, road-legal drag weapon, does Matt care about upsetting the purists by changing an iconic Escort Cosworth so much?
In a word, no. It’s my car, so I’ll do what I like with it. He confirms. I didn’t do it to offend people, I did it for drag racing, and I have no regrets at all, he explains matter-offactly. That sums it up really.
Cars are for your own enjoyment – nobody else’s. And just because most people wouldn’t recommend it, doesn’t make it any less devastatingly effective.
TECH SPEC ESCORT COSSIE
6.1-litre small block Chevrolet V8; Dart Racing race block; Eagle forged stroker crankshaft; Eagle H-beam conrods; 8.2:1 compression; dished forged pistons; ARP head studs and rod bolts; custom ported 23-degree alloy heads; race double valve springs; Jesel Pro Series shaft mounted roller rockers; Coltec Racing 2.08in inlet and 1.6in exhaust valves; FelPro head gaskets; ported Accel Pro Ram inlet manifold; billet 4-barrell throttle body; custom billet plenum; custom alloy fuel rails; twin Tial dump valves; 1600cc Siemens injectors; Mallory distributor; FAST XFi ECU, MSD 6AL ignition; Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump and fuel pressure regulator; Moroso electric water pump; custom twin core Pro Alloy intercooler; Pro Alloy radiator; twin Banks Power spec T4 turbos; Banks Power cast exhaust manifolds, twin Banks Power 45mm external wastegates; Webster custom turbo back exhaust system; AMS1000 electronic boost controller; Mocal oil cooler, 25ltr fuel cell; 7800rpm rev limit; currently 19psi and over 850bhp – 1100bhp+ with increased boost, running pump fuel and Power Pour octane booster, mapped by Dave Rowe.
Webster spec manually shifted Powerglide 2-speed automatic; 3600rpm stall convertor; transbrake; custom Webster propshaft, Ford 9.5in drag-spec rear diff with uprated shafts; B&M Magnum Grip Pro Bandit shifter; rear mounted transmission oil cooler.
Avo front coilovers; rear double adjustable coilovers; live rear axle conversion; Chassis Engineering drag-spec ladder bar adjustable rear suspension arms.
Willwood alloy 4-pot front and rear brake conversion.
WHEELS & TYRES
8×18 (front) and 10×18 (rear) Compomotive MOs in anthracite; 225/40×18 front tyres, and 385/35×18 Mickey Thompson Street Drag rear tyres; rear 5-stud conversion.
Full genuine Cosworth bodykit; Morette quad headlamp conversion; clear indicators; RS500 foglamp grilles; carbon front grille and front splitter; custom bonnet to suit twin turbos; Aerocatch bonnet fasteners.
Extreme Fibre custom carbon dash; Reverie carbon bucket seats; Reverie carbon steering wheel; SPA digital dash; Webster 8sec spec custom roll cage; tubbed rear arches; TRS harnesses; Painless roof-mounted switch panel.