SHADOW PLAY
Fast Ford|January 2020
Jamie Kent’s silver dream machine appears at first glance to be a flawless Cosworth converted to WRC body specs. But there’s a whole lot of smoke-and-mirrors going on here…
Dan Bevis

There are things that we see in this world, and things that we don’t see. Sometimes things are deliberately hidden, sometimes we simply don’t notice what’s sitting right in front of us. We order a Friday night takeaway and don’t give a second thought to the moped rider’s horrible journey through the rain to deliver it; we leave our newspapers on train seats without wondering who’ll pick them up; we buy cheap milk in the supermarket without thinking about how the farmers are making any money. There’s always a story. Always something going on behind the scenes. Very little in life only exists superficially at the surface, beyond politics and daytime TV.

This Escort RS Cosworth is a case in point. If you were to see it out and about on the streets, you’d notice the aesthetic alterations immediately; the slippery silver form has been treated to the imposing smiley rear spoiler of the WRC Escorts in place of the iconic whale tail. The front wings and bumper are WRC items too, as are the stubby mirrors. It’s a strong look, as just 50 official WRC-spec Escorts were built between 1997-98, so it’s not like you’re always seeing them on the road. The comprehensive reworking of the Group A rally cars (which were, after all, the reason that the homologation-special Escort RS Cosworth road car existed in the first place) into the WRC-spec machines brought more power, better aero, and seismic chassis alterations. So when you see WRC aero addenda swapped onto a road car, a part of you tingles with anticipation thinking about what else might have been changed.

If you were to see this car parked up at a show, you’d be able to take a closer look – and that’s when alarm bells might start to ring. Peeking into the interior, there are two clues that all is not what it seems here. First of all, there’s the non-standard digital dash. And secondly, there’s the gearstick. It’s an automatic. That’s not right, is it?

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