The Bjorn Waldegard 2007 East African Safari Rally winning 1972 Ford Escort RS1600 Mk1 Saloon Registration no. WPU 242L Chassis no. BFATMS00041 Engine no. MS00041
This 1972 Ford Escort RS1600 Mk1 comes to auction directly from the finish line of the Kenya Airways East African Classic Safari Rally, where it was driven to victory by triple Safari winner and former World Rally Champion Bjorn Waldegard and his son Mathias. One of only two such Escorts prepared by Historic Motorsports in their Daventry workshops to what is generally reckoned to be the ultimate rally specification ever achieved for a Mk1 Escort (the Stig Blomqvist-driven sister car WRV 207K, co-driven by Ana Goni, finished sixth overall), WPU 242L took over 872 hours to build and, pre-Safari, was test-driven and further developed by Waldegard in both Wales and Kenya. Unusually, too, the winning car is being offered complete with all Safari Rally extras in place. First run in 1953, and providing a more than 6000 miles challenge during the 1970s, the Safari has always presented one of the toughest tests of car and crew, not to mention workshop and service crew, on the planet. The Classic version of the great event is open only for cars of a type made before 1975, so no four-wheel drive or turbo charged machinery can take part, making it a happy hunting ground for such hairy-chested fare as the Porsche 911 and Datsun 240Z or, of course, the Ford Motor Companys most successful rally car, the Escort. Starting at 6am every morning for eight days last November, 2007 Classic Safari competitors headed north-west from Mombasa on a 4500 kilometres adventure on mainly dirt roads, with first stop in Nairobi, before looping back down through Tanzania, circumnavigating Lake Manyara and passing under the Ngorongoro Crater and Mount Kilimanjaro. The final leg took survivors towards the Indian Ocean via traditional Safari sections in Mkomazi and the notoriously twisty sections in the Usumbara Mountains and a 3 December finish back in Mombasa on the Kenyan coast. 2000 kilometres of the route was super-competitive with more than 150 stage miles a day being timed to the second. The Fords finished first and sixth with victors Waldegard and son in WPU 242L heading a quartet of Porsches with teammates Blomqvist and Goni in WRV 207K finishing right behind them. The fully-caged body-shell of the winning Escort has been specially strengthened by works car shell builders Gartrac to withstand Safari Stage surfaces at speed. Back at Daventry, it then took Historic Motorsports Chief Technician John OConnor up to 80 hours to drill all the necessary mounting holes and install all the captive nuts required for a Safari build. The shell is only then ready for painting, in the case of this car, in traditional works white with blue stripes. Inevitably, the suspension has to be very special and on this car it certainly is. There are Proflex front struts to Jumbo specification with roller top mounts and remote gas reservoirs as per current WRC cars; at the rear, and additional to the leaf springs, are coil spring around Proflex dampers - all permitted by Safari regs. Brakes are AP Racing callipers operating on ventilated discs with cockpit-adjustable bias and hydraulic handbrake. 15ins diameter Minilites provide greater ground clearance and permit the latest WRC Pirellis to be used. Beneath the car, there is a sump-guard, while Kevlar anti-scuff sheets with impact-absorbing synthetic layer save chassis rails and underside from flying gravel. A roo-bar protects the PIAA lights and there are two more mini-spots on the tops of the wings. According to a dynamometer print-out included with the car, the Field Motorsport built 2-litre engine, a dry-sumped BDA on twin Webers 45 DCOEs supplied by twin electric pumps from a 120 litre fuel tank, produces 256bhp at 8500rpm a large capacity radiator with two fans takes care of cooling. The gearbox is a Wildman ZF with a direct 5th top gear and the disc-braked Quaife rear axle with strengthened heavy-duty tubes has a 5.3:1 final drive and ZF limited-slip differential. We are advised that not only has the whole car (which weighs in at 1100kg fully equipped) only done less than 5000 miles, but most of the major components including gearbox, rear axle, suspension and some brake components have actually only completed four days rallying having been largely renewed by the Historic Motorsport service crew at the halfway point. The very fully equipped, though utterly functional interior is a feast for any Rally Escort enthusiast. Sparco seats have 6-point harnesses. Twin electronic distance measuring devices by Coralba are supported by traditional cable-driven Halda tripmeter. The crew are cooled by dust-filtered air via a WRC-style scoop on the roof and Perspex rear side windows open for speedy access to spares, tools and first aid kit, located where a rear seat would normally be. Paperwork includes V5C registration document , MOT certificate from 2007, current tax disc valid until May, MSA Competition car Logbook, RAC Roll Bar Certificate, Premier Fuel Tank Certificate and Classic Safari 2007 DVD recording WPU 242L in action plus interviews with winning driver Waldegard, one of the most successful rally drivers of all time. As presented at Stoneleigh, WPU 242L is not only likely to be compliant with future Classic Safari regulations, but should be fully capable of withstanding the rigours of long distance Marathon events. WPU 242L could also be driven in the Open Category of UK special stage events in the UK or at hill climbs and sprints in the various classes that cater for classics and rally cars. Depending on the competition discipline envisaged, any changes to the current specification that may be required could be carried for a purchaser by the vendor who would also be prepared to arrange on-event service and management if required.