Ever since the advent of the Model T, Ford fans have been modding their Blue Ovals to make them faster, louder, and angrier. Here we’ve drawn together a pair of shouty Ford heroes that best represent the scene both in the 1980s and today…
The Ford modifying scene has changed immeasurably over the last three decades or so. Back in 1987 when Fast Car first hit the shelves, the Mk4 Escort was all fresh and new, so the tuning world had got used to the idea of hot front-wheel-drive Fords; after all, the Mk3 Escort had been around since 1980. But nevertheless, there was still an undercurrent of yearning for the rear-wheel-drive thrills, a lot of people still thought that a Blue Oval wasn’t ‘proper’ unless it steered from the rear, and that fast Fords would always be associated with RWD saloons.
For some diehards that’s still the case, although the world’s moved on and it’s no longer true that sending the drive to the front is solely an exercise in packaging and efficiency. While Saab once suggested that 200bhp was roughly the limit that a car’s front wheels could cope with, they didn’t reckon on technological advances like RevoKnuckle and HiPer Strut and all the developments in limited-slip differentials – today’s FWD hot hatches routinely have 300bhp+ from the factory, which are the sort of numbers that would have made a Mk4 Escort owner dribble back in the eighties.
The two cars we have here for this old-and-new showdown represent the zeitgeist of Ford tuning aspirations back then and in the present day. In the retro corner we have a bruiser of a Mk2 Escort – a period race build which appeared on the cover of Fast Car way back in 1990, in a feature named ‘Monster Escorts’ (which, coincidentally, is the name of a grimy club in Dartford where you can find our Midge most nights).
Representing the new wave, we have a frankly insane Mk2 Focus RS which has been brutally monstering the scene for a few years now, and every time it appears at a show it’s sporting a new round of cutting-edge mods. Its nickname is, in fact, ‘Monster’. Classic track muscle takes on terrifying sledgehammer lunacy. Haven’t times changed? And yet the recipe remains the same – blue-collar cars wound up to proper big-kid horsepower.