- Post is under moderationBITS OF AN ANIMAL COSWORTHS AT COSWORTH A MEET LIKE NO OTHER - COVER STORY
Is it an #Audi , is it a #Ford , is it a Cossy? Read on. / #Ford-Escort-Cosworth-MkV / #Ford-Escort-MkV / #Ford-Escort
This is a 900bhp #Ford-Escort-Cosworth . Except it’s not, because it’s powered by a five cylinder Audi engine connected to a Skyline gearbox with a rear subframe from a Nissan S14. Oh yeah, it also has electronically adjustable four-wheel drive…
CHRIS POLLITT /// PATRIK CARLSSON
This Escort Cosworth, if you can call it that, is what marketing people would call ‘a game changer’. Now, this is a phrase that tends to get casually tossed about when someone does something just a teeny weeny bit different and people, who want you to think that that something is actually a lot more exciting than it really is, will call it ‘a game changer’ in the hope that it will grab your attention and make you all giddy. Well, this is more than just a bit different; this is a car that completely and utterly redefines what is possible with the Escort Cosworth and even if it has done so by removing almost all of the #Cosworth DNA, which we know is going to upset quite a few purists reading this, the finished article is so spectacular, so face-meltingly well engineered that anyone who dismisses it for being ‘not a proper Cossie’ needs to go and sit in the corner and have a quite word with themselves. This is proper alright, and it’s all down to the skill, determination and downright bloody-mindedness of its genius owner, Joakim Stigenburg.
Part of the reason we’re getting so hot under the collar about this car. of course, is because the Escort Cosworth is such an iconic machine, most people are reluctant to mess around with it too much. And this is perfectly understandable, it is an appreciating classic after all. Yes, there have been plenty of stunning big power projects over the years, all based around the equally as iconic Cosworth YBT and yes, we’ve even featured one or two examples that have been the subject of an engine swap as well – but nothing like this. In a world where your typical modified EscCos has a stage four conversion, some coilovers, a set of AP Racing 6-pots and some Compomotive MOs, you have to admit that a five-cylinder Audi 20v turbo engine conversion that’s putting out 900hp at the hubs combined with a Nissan drivetrain and an electronically adjustable four-wheel drive system is something of an eye-opener to say the least – especially so when you consider that our man Joakim did the vast majority of the work himself, at home, and in an unheated garage. And that’s actually quite a big deal, because for starters Joakim is a carpenter by trade, not an engineer or mechanic, so he’s had to learn all the skills you might imagine are essential for a build like this from scratch. Secondly, he’s from Sweden, so on the nights when he started work on the car at 8 o’clock at night and would finish at two or three in the morning, having to do so in a freezing cold workshop really does highlight the determination and passion he has had for this project. How long did it take him to finish it? Ten long years. And it all started when he took delivery of a completely standard 1994 model year Escort Cossie.
“I started off with a 330bhp stage three kit, but after only a couple of months I wanted more power, so I modified it to stage four and around 450bhp,” remembers Joakim. “At this point, I decided that I should really have a roll cage for safety reasons, so I stripped the interior out and started work on building myself one. I guess this was the point where things started to get out of hand!”
“THIS IS MORE THAN JUST A BIT DIFFERENT; THIS IS A CAR THAT COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY REDEFINES WHAT IS POSSIBLE WITH THE ESCORT COSWORTH”
We suspect that from the very start, Joakim had his sights set on more than just a stage four conversion – he’s Scandinavian after all, and when it comes to building big project cars, events like Gatebil are proof that these guys don’t tend to do things by halves. It was the Norwegians that made the quantum leap in Cosworth tuning at the start of the noughties, and we have to assume that these kind of extreme machines served as an inspiration for Joakim as well. In short, he had to have more power and as such, he set about building a fully forged Cosworth YB in order to achieve it and to extract as much potential as he could from the freshly caged shell.
And when we say ‘more power’ we do mean just that, because rather than the 500-600bhp that most people would deem to be about the limit for anything approaching vaguely useable for a fast road car, Joakim had his heart set on double that – and as such, he decided that the standard Ford transmission just wasn’t going to be up to the task of processing that amount of grunt. So, an alternative was required, and as luck would have it, one was about to present itself in the form of a Skyline GT-R33 gearbox, complete with a Pftizner Performance ‘dog engagement’ gear set.
According to Joakim, a similar set-up had been proven on a Skyline with around 2,000bhp so he was pretty confident it was going to be man enough to deal with the power he had planned for the Escort. All he had to do now, was find some way of getting it to fit. The answer to that was to spend many, many hours fabricating and welding in his garage, and whilst he did in the end manage to successfully get the Skyline ‘box in place, by the time he did so, he’d somehow managed to completely change his mind on what engine was going to be attached to it!
“WE SUSPECT THAT FROM THE VERY START, JOAKIM HAD HIS SIGHTS SET ON MORE THAN JUST A STAGE FOUR CONVERSION HE’S SCANDINAVIAN AFTER ALL”
The forged YB was built and dyno’d, but the consensus was that it was just going to take too much hard work in order to push it close to the 1000bhp mark and that, once there, it would just be too fragile. So, it was put to one side and the hunt for a replacement began. And for those that are thinking it’s a crime to discard a Cossie YB in such a careless manner, don’t fret – Joakim ended up de-tuning it to a mere 590bhp and 457lb/ft and slotted it into his Sapphire Cosworth instead.
As it happens the Saph was to take centre stage for quite some time, because after finding a new engine for the Escort, which turned out to be a turbocharged Volvo five-cylinder unit tuned to around 700bhp, this engine ultimately proved to be more trouble that it was worth, and Joakim became so frustrated with it all that he put the Escort to one side in order to spend some time with the Sierra.
“WITH JUST OVER 900HP ON TAP THE 2.5 LITRE AUDI BASED 5 CYLINDER ENGINE THAT NOW RESIDES IN THE FRONT OF THE ESCORT IS AN ABSOLUTE MONSTER”
That was until about two years ago, when the half finished Escort was dragged to the front of the workshop so that Joakim could finally finish what he’d started. Job number one was to find yet another engine, and whilst the six-cylinder turbocharged unit from a Skyline could have been an obvious contender in so much as it would have matched up to the gearbox and would have easily provided the power required, Joakim had other ideas. Again, we suspect that the final choice of engine was inspired largely by the no-holds barred creations that crop up at events like Gatebil, but whether that’s the case or not, with just over 900hp on tap the 2.5-litre Audi based 5-cylinder engine that now resides in the front of the Escort is an absolute monster.
Built up around a super strong diesel spec 2.5-litre, five-cylinder Audi block, the top half of the engine incorporates an old school Audi 7a five-cylinder 20v head. Again, Joakim has done the vast majority of the engine build himself, which has included not just mating the head and the block, but fitting JE pistons and H-section rods, a VAG coil pack conversion, custom Cat cams, a custom dry sump and CPS inlet and exhaust manifold – not to mention the small matter of bolting on a Precision 6466 billet roller bearing turbo and then getting the whole package up and running with MaxxECU engine management. On top of that, he’s had to chop around the front of the Escort in order to get the engine to fit and match it up to that bulletproof Skyline gearbox as well.
The time and effort that has gone into the engine build is one thing, but the amount of custom fabrication and engineering involved throughout the whole car is another thing altogether. For instance, Joakim had to design and build a custom suspension set-up at the front of the car, using a combination of custom driveshafts and Nissan hubs to get power to the front wheels. If that wasn’t complicated enough, the rear of the Escort has basically been converted to a semi-tubular chassis, with a Nissan S14 sub-frame in place that in turn accommodates a hybrid Ford/Nissan suspension set-up. And then there’s the Rallycross style rear mounted radiator, the dry sump tank and fuel cell boot install, the custom home-built cage, the custom centre console that houses all the switch gear…the list goes on and on.
“THE REAR OF THE ESCORT HAS BASICALLY BEEN CONVERTED TO A SEMI-TUBULAR CHASSIS”
One of the Escort’s biggest party tricks, however, is not the top of the range hardware or bespoke fabrication, but the electronic wizardy that’s been employed to make the whole thing work in the first place. The heart of this is a MaxxECU engine management system, and whilst it does the normal things that ECUs do with regards to engine duties, it also supplies huge amounts of data to the large electronic screen situated behind the steering wheel and even allows Joakim to switch from super grippy four-wheel drive, to ultra skiddy rear-wheel drive at the flick of a switch.
Considering the Escort has been built to contest both drift and regular motorsport events, it’s a brilliantly clever modification and one that we’ve never seen before on a Performance Ford feature car.
But then, we’ve never seen a car like this before in PF full stop. Yes, we’re aware that it’s lacking its original Cosworth components and for some, this will always be a step too far, but we reckon that in this instance it doesn’t really matter. Think of this Escort as a source of inspiration, proof of what can be achieved with just a cold garage, lots of late nights and a sheer bloody-mindedness to see a dream project car through to completion. So grab yourself a second hand welder and get to it…
TECH SPEC Ford-Escort / #Ford-Escort-Cosworth / Fifth generation / #Ford-Escort-MkV
ENGINE: Audi 2.5-litre diesel block, JE pistons and #H-section rods, CrMo flywheel, ported Audi 20v turbo 7a head, #VAG coil pack conversion, Cat cams, bronze guides, #Supertech valves, #CrMo retainers, dual valve springs, Precision 6466 billet roller bearing turbo, Precision 46mm wastegate, Tial dump valve, custom dry sump, CP-S stainless exhaust manifold, CP-S inlet manifold, #Accufab throttle, #MaxxECU engine management, rear mounted radiator, dry sump tank and fuel cell, 904hp at the hubs, 752lb/ft
TRANSMISSION: Electronically adjustable 4WD system allowing for full rear wheel drive or 50/50 four wheel drive, R33 Skyline ‘box with Pftizner Performance ‘dog engagement’ gear set and modified transfer box, Nissan S14 rear cradle with adjustable trailing arms, custom prop and driveshafts, Skyline differentials, custom trailing arms, knife edge anti-roll bar.
BRAKES: #Alcon 6–pots with 356mm discs (front), Skyline GT-R 2-pot #Brembo s with 320mm discs at rear
Suspension: custom front suspension with #GAZ-Gold adjustable dampers, Nissan S14 rear sub-frame with Cosworth spec #GAZ Gold adjustable dampers at rear.
CHASSIS: #1994 Escort Cosworth, semi-tubular chassis at rear with #Nissan-S14 subframe, poly windows Interior: full weld-in custom roll cage, custom centre console, custom pedal box, Sparco Lico seats, Sparco plumbed in fire system, hydraulic handbrake.
EXTERIOR: Audi Ibis white Wheels: Nissan hubs, 8.5x18-inch #Toora alloys, #Maxxis Ma-Z1 tyres.
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- Post is under moderationFULL METAL ALCHEMIST #2015
You’d have to go a long way to find an E30 more ferocious than this 520hp, supercharged metal wide-body beast.
With a custom metal wide-body kit and a supercharger for good measure, this E30 has undergone a magical transformation. Words: Elizabeth de Latour /// Photos: Si Gray
Approaching Clive King’s E30 in profile causes the black paintwork to hide the incredible amount of work that’s gone into creating the body. Viewed in profile it just looks like a black E30, really, but, like one of those 3D illusion sculptures, as you start to move towards the front or back of the car the reflections on its flanks begin to twist and distort and that’s when you begin to realise that actually there is a lot more going on here than first meets the eye…
Incredibly, this is Clive’s ninth E30, a habit he’s sustained since he was 21, though he says he’s been into cars since the dawn of time, which does make us question exactly how old he might be. The car you see before you was never meant to be like this. Clive bought it with the intention of turning it into a cheap sleeper but things don’t always go to plan.
The story all started with the engine, which was originally in a Cab. “The engine started out as 2.5 and I built it up to a 2.7 before adding the Rotrex supercharger which was modified specifically to fit,” says Clive. “It actually sits where the air-con pump would be. The engine was fantastic and made 321hp but it was a bit too lively in the Cab – there was loads of scuttle shake, it was always lighting the wheels up and even though the Cab was heavier than the other body shapes, with the engine it was just too sketchy. I wanted something else to put it in and I had the opportunity to buy this E30 shell for £70, so I did. It was supposed to be a clean, low, sleeper Chromie!”
Clearly that’s not what happened and, in a roundabout sort of way, it’s Clive’s wife’s fault, really. “These wheels,” he says, pointing to his striking blue Rota RBXs, “appeared for sale on Pistonheads and I liked the retro look, they’re like big Minilites. I mentioned the fact that I liked them to my wife and she bought them for me as a surprise. When I put them on the car they stuck out. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, so I had to build some arches to fit over the wheels!
“I built the whole car at my workshop. The bumpers are fibreglass but I handfabricated the arches from sheet steel. I trained in bodywork but I gave it up as a job as it took away the enjoyment from my doing it as a hobby, so now I just do it for myself and my friends. The bumpers are copies of the M Tech 2 kit but they didn’t fit so I bought two jigs for the bumpers and had to cut and reshape them to make them fit, then re-fibreglass them. The skirts are fibreglass copies of some Ford Granada Scorpio sideskirts I had lying around. I had to cut them, flare them out by 4” and then re-fibreglass them. The spoiler is a copy of the E30 M3 spoiler but with a carbon gurney flap added on. The bonnet I made six years ago but never finished until I built this car. I started with the standard bonnet, measured it up, made the side spacers and then welded them in.”
The whole car looks absolutely awesome thanks to Clive’s handiwork, and while it’s not going to suit all tastes you can’t argue with the visual impact it delivers. The arches are a work of art, beautifully finished, smooth and rounded, quite unlike anything you normally see and only when looking down the car’s flank do you get the full effect. The interior is no less impressive and a lot of hard work has gone into making it as good as it is. The seats are from a Honda Accord Type R, which Clive’s wife also bought for him, and sit on custom mounts.
His verdict? “They’re very comfortable,” he says. Most of the interior is taken up by the 18(!) point roll-cage and it really is quite something. “I knew I wanted a roll-cage,” he says, “and I got this one from ‘mrben’ on the E30zone forum. I had to take it out three times while I was doing the rest of the interior though, which was a bit of a nightmare!” Clive has also de-de-skinned the sunroof and fitted a Union Jack headlining, which was actually a duvet that sacrificed itself for the greater good. Impressive as all this is, most of all we love the digital gauges in the instrument cluster. They look absolutely awesome but weren’t fitted because of their appearance. “The original gauges just couldn’t keep up with the engine,” explains Clive, “so I went for these digital gauges from Drift Iridium.” The company offers a full selection of gauges and Clive’s E30 is sporting what is pretty much the dream dash combo, with speedo, rev counter, fuel gauge and temperature all matching Drift Iridium items, with an additional boost gauge mounted in a small pod where the air vent near the door would normally be.
So to the star of the show: the engine. As we already mentioned above, it started out as a 2.5 before Clive built it up to a 2.7, which is where we pick the story up. “After I’d taken it up to 2.7 and supercharged it, the supercharger seized. It was starved of oil and the Megasquirt ECU I was running also died. I got hold of a #DTA-S80-Pro ECU and took the engine up to 2.8 myself, with an E36 M50 2.8 crank, M20 2.0 rods and M20 2.5 pistons and then I added the same Rotrex supercharger as before. The 2.8 was great but it blew a couple of head gaskets very badly as the compression was too high.
It was making 423hp but it was unreliable and while I don’t use the car often, when I do I like to enjoy it so I didn’t want it to keep breaking down on me.
“At this point I hit rock bottom and I really didn’t know what to do. I was ready to just put a 2.5 in the car and sell it. Then my wife suggested building the best engine that I could afford so with her blessing I decided to do just that. Byron on the E30zone forum runs the Engine Shed Co. in Wales; he does brilliant work, and I spoke to him about what route I should go down. After plenty of research I turned to Ireland Engineering in California to build me the engine I wanted. I sent it the specs for the block and eight weeks later the finished product turned up on my doorstep. It’s actually closer to a 2.9 than a 2.8 and the craftsmanship on the block was amazing, it was almost a shame to put it all together and stick it in the car! I took it to Byron who built the botttom end, bored the block and matched the pistons before I added the finishing touches.”
Clive set out to build the best engine he could and looking through the spec list it certainly looks like mission accomplished. There are Ireland Engineering forged rods, custom-spec Ross Racing pistons, a Cometic multi-layer steel headgasket, ARP bolts, a 264-degree custom cam from Cat Cams, along with a six-branch manifold leading to a Sportex exhaust. The boot is home to the fuel system components, with a 551 fuel cell and 2.5-litre surge tank, ‘red top’ lift pump, Bosch 044 pump and braided lines throughout. “The engine is absolutely flawless,” says a grinning Clive. “It’s making roughly 510-520hp and it’s absolutely insane. I’ve never put my foot flat to the floor because it’s too scary.” Considering that with the stripped-out interior and homemade arches it’s now significantly lighter than standard, that makes 520hp an absolutely ridiculous amount of power to be running, especially when all of it is attempting to funnel its way to the Tarmac via 225 rear tyres. Clive is clearly crazy – which means he fits right in with the likes of us then, really.
As we wrap up the shoot, we ask Clive (as we always do) if there’s anything else he’d like to do to the car. His answer is as decisive and absolute as everything else to do with this project. “There’s nothing more to do,” he states. “It’s finished.” Taking one last look at this E30, drinking in the curves of its outrageous arch work, the exquisitely executed interior, that masterpiece of an engine, we don’t doubt it.
DATA FILE SUPERCHARGED WIDE-BODY #BMW-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-E30-WIDE-BODY
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION Custom-built six-cylinder #M20 2.9 / #M20B29 stroker, Ireland Engineering forged rods, custom-spec Ross racing pistons, #Cometic MLS steel head gasket, #ARP bolts allround, steel windage tray, reworked head, 264-degree custom Cat Cam, six-branch manifold, #Sportex mild steel exhaust, VR6 coil packs, #Magnecor HT leads, #Rotrex-C30-94 / #Rotrex supercharger kit, #ITG air filter, front mount intercooler, E36 radiator, Kelowe twin-speed main fan and two 8” auxiliary fans. #DTA S80 Pro ECU – wiring harness traction and launch control ready, uprated injectors, urban camo #Samco hose kit, 551 fuel cell, 2.51 surge tank, red top lift pump, #Bosch-044 pump, twin filters, adjustable pressure regulator and braided fuel lines. Five-speed manual gearbox, Z3 short-shift, lightened flywheel with Stage 3 DriveTorque clutch, 3.64 LSD
CHASSIS 9.5x17” (front and rear) ET-19 #Rota-RBX wheels painted in Candy Fantasy blue with 205/45 (front) and 225/45 (rear) #Maxxis Maz 1 tyres, FK High Sport coilovers, #H&R adjustable roll bars, rear camber kit, M3 eccentric front bushes, Powerflex polybushes all-round, strengthened sub frames, #Sparco twin-tube strut brace, #Wilwood ultra-light four-pot #BBK with 310mm discs (front), drilled/grooved rear, tubbed rear arches, front inner arches removed
EXTERIOR Custom steel wide arches flared 4”, hand-built side skirts, stretched #M-Tech 2 bumpers, custom swage lines, smoothed body, custom vented bonnet, carbon fibre boot spoiler, Startec rear lights, smoked headlights, carbon wrapped mirrors and door trims, side indicators removed, M3 bonded windscreen, sunroof panel lightened and bonded, airbrushed Union Jack/German flag on rocker cover, car finished in high gloss jet black
INTERIOR Recaro front seats on custom mounts, rear seats removed, deep-dish steering wheel, Drift Iridium digital gauges, centre switch panel, 18-point Safety Devices roll-cage, Sparco three-point harnesses, custom Union Jack headliner
THANKS My wife, Charlotte, Cotswold Airport (01285 771177 ‘Come and see us some time’), Circuit Motorsport Ltd trading as Sabre Tuning (Paul Shepherd, 01249 782596), The Engine Shed (Byron, 07788 454083), my dad for helping me and my mum for making him!
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