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1976 Ford Escort Mk ll - Colin McRae Rally History
Lot No.: 135
Registration: NUS 877P
Chassis Number: BBATSR48966
Engine Number: SR48966
Number of cylinders: 4
Year of Manufacture: 1976
Sold for (£): 40,500
Legendary and much-missed rally legend Colin Steele McRae, MBE needs no long introduction. As the son of five-times British Rally Champion, Jimmy McRae and brother of rally driver Alister McRae, he was the 1991 and 1992 British Rally Champion and, in 1995, became the first Brit and the youngest person ever to win the World Rally Championship Drivers' title, a record he still holds. With rallying running through the family bloodline, it is a pleasure for Silverstone Auctions to offer this car, coming directly from Colin’s Uncle, Hugh “Shuggs” Steel. Having been in Hugh’s ownership since 1984, he gave the car to his son in 2008, however, for storage reasons, Hugh has retained the car.
Although Hugh is a talented rally driver in his own right, it was Colin’s skill at the wheel of this 1976 Escort MkII in the 1990 Hackle Rally that inspired a page in the acclaimed book, “McRae - Just Colin” by Colin McMaster and David Evans, and with kind permission we can publish an extract penned by Robert Reid, Colin’s co-driver that day:
“I got a phone call from Colin…”Fancy doing The Hackle at the weekend, Rab?”…and so off we went and did it in his Uncle Shugg’s Mark II Escort Pinto. It was a horrible wet day but we won the event…there was a flat-out downhill bit and at this point, McRae leant right across to my side of the car whilst I was trying to read the map. I wondered what the hell he was doing, then I realised he’d slackened off his belts to see out of my side because at 90mph the windscreen wiper on his side had lifted completely off the screen.”
A copy of this book, signed by Jimmy McRae, is included in the sale.
This car was built without compromise and some brief details of the specification follow: The shell was fully seam-welded on a gusseted chassis before being fitted with a 'Safety Devices' 14-point cage. Sill skids were fitted and a 12-gallon alloy fuel tank was mounted on a strengthened platform prior to all the fuel, oil and brake pipes being run internally.
A Panhard 5-link setup was chosen for the rear suspension with single-leaf slipper springs and Bilstein shocks. The front end is controlled by adjustable Bilstein 'coil-overs' with roller top-mounts, adjustable control arms and a 'beefy' roll-bar. An OMP steering wheel feeds steering input through a bespoke fully adjustable power-steering system and a 'quick' rack. Retardation is aided by the use of vented discs on alloy hubs with AP 4-pot callipers, the handbrake is hydraulic, and the pedal box is offset and has a dashboard adjuster. The car sits on 15” Group 4 Minilites.
The 2.4 Holbay engine was subject to a full rebuild in 2011 which included a new block, pistons and billeted crankshaft, the head was ported and polished at the same time, and a torque-biased Holbay cam was fitted. Fuel is fed to the two '48' Webers by twin faucet fuel pumps, exploded by electronic ignition and a Holbay distributor, and exhausted through a Janspeed tubular manifold and single-box system. (NB the Holbay engine block SR 48986 is supplied with the car). The oil system is dry-sumped with the alloy oil tank and 6-port pump in the rear of the car. The alloy engine sump is protected by a lightweight sump-guard. Power is fed through an AP twin-paddle clutch to the quick-shift, 5-speed Quaife competition gearbox and subsequently through the lightened and balanced single-piece propshaft to the fully-floating Salisbury axle with limited-slip diff. Everything is kept cool by an alloy high-capacity radiator and a full competition coolant system.
Inside the car is fully equipped with OMP bucket seats and six-point harnesses, AFF plumbed-in fire extinguisher, AFF hand held extinguisher and all the usual instruments including a Stack rev counter.
To conclude, this car has the dual distinction of being a winner in the hands of one of the 20th Century’s greatest rally drivers, and a unique thirty-three-year McRae family ownership. Described as “ready to rally” with all the paperwork in place, this is a rare opportunity to purchase a car steeped in history at a very attractive guide price.