The year was 2012, I was scanning Gumtree when I saw a picture of a 2 door Escort, and then a picture of a twincam head. I had already bought it before I finished reading the add.
Ok so not the smartest choice when your on apprentice wages and to buy an unfinished project with a motor you haven’t touched before, but love is blinding.
The last time I wrote about the 4age Escort, I was all keen on my little fuse box set up and my custom in tank retrofit pump.
However the whole project has been on the back burners since then.
Most of the things on the car I have tried to do myself with what I had sitting around or readily available. It’s a fun way of building things like that, I love up cycling etc, but that also makes a good excuse not to get it done.
Since then I have tried to run the car with that fuel setup and constantly chasing my tail as to why it wouldn’t run in random conditions. After some pretty crappy times driving the car onto the trailer and towing it to the track only to be overwhelmed with questions as to why it never started. It was time to ask for help.
The main issue that was red flagged by the mechanic, was that the fuel tank had surface rust on the inside and the original hard fuel lines from the factory weren’t doing it any favours. So I towed it home envisioning a diy session to fit up new gear.
Fast forward 2 months, other projects were up to speed but this little escort hadn’t moved an inch.
I got a message from a mate saying, ‘hey I think you’d like Retrospeed, do it’.
Knowing that I had big working weeks and nowhere to work on the car, this was the best catalyst to fire this thing up again.
I called up Troy from destroy garage and said, ‘hey I have 9 days for you to get this thing up and running’. Massive thanks to Troy because I wouldn’t have had a shot at getting it done.
So the factory tank came out and was replaced by a 40 litre baffled tank in tank Walbro 255 pump. It has the 3 hangers if there was ever to be any upgrades in the future.
The pressure and return lines were replaced by proper stainless braided fuel lines with rollover valves. Ah much better.
By the time I got to pick it up, it was time to leave for Wilby Park. Lack of time for a dyno tune, I was warned not to drive it. I had already booked everything and I was too damn excited to fkn send it! It was just to nice to have it start every time on demand. The only other task which in managed to get done was to paint the factory plastic lip in sparkly black.
Retrospeed 2018 was the 2nd year running for the event. Basically pre 78 cars externally with allowance for later engine swaps providing it looks the same from the outside.
While we were setting up the tent at the lonesome trackside, through the stickly tree lined dirt track emerged the other campers. A gt Falcon towing a caravan, Toranas towing trailers, and Oakland of all things. Fun fact is Oakland was the predecessor of Pontiac, there you go.
All of these cars were going on the track the following morning. The camp setup was really cool, no new vehicles in the camping area to make it feel like you’re in the 70s kinda vibe. Yes please.
Saturday was pretty chill. wake up.
Bacon and egg rolls, smell the fuel and get scrutineered.
The track layout was anticlockwise. It goes front straight into a flat left hairpin. Then a small straight before an open left right chicane that leads into a double apexed U bend to open out onto the main Straight. With a warm up, flying and cool down section, making for multiple runs per session.
The car wasn’t behaving to well, it felt underpowered and had some misfiring in the upper rev range. Obviously that was expected and totally my choice. It still had enough power to tail out on the sweepers, that was a blast!
So my day ended on that sweeper when I heard an almighty BANG, followed by a wall of smoke entering the cabin and the car coming to a very quick halt. My first thought was, it blown up for sure, new motor etc. As it turns out that the bolts that mounted the distributor onto the head had vibrated loose, and the dizzy came off, allowing oil to pump onto the hot extractors. Not as bad as I initially thought. Kinda cool to go out with a bang than go out with a silent.
Not all was wasted, after that happened I got to enjoy passenger rides with new friends. So good! Really got my Corolla lust flowing.
Nevertheless, still good to be accompanied by a small group of similar minded enthusiasts with cool cars having a go. Thankyou to everyone that was there on the day.
so whats next for the car?
I’m at a crossroad between getting adaptronic management with the possibility of running low boost and then uprating all the stock suspension underneath.
And my other option is to try get what ever it is fixed and get it on the road before I go to crazy.
Either way, there’s less than 365 days until retro speed 2019 so the dream would be to drive it there next year.
One piece of experience I can offer is that If I you figure it out, it’s totally worth getting some help instead of letting the problem sit. In my case , sit for years.
Thanks for reading.