73′ MK1 Escourt

Pics & Words by Jarryd Watson


73′ MK1 Escourt… The small car that isn’t

DSC_3491 (2)-Exposure1 copyWe’ve all heard of the Mk1 Escort, one usually see’s a Mk1 with a nice paint job, a set of wheels, a pipe and that’s what I was expecting when I arrived at Kovilan’s place. I can now say I was proven wrong.

After the introductions, Kovilan took us down to his garage, as he opened the door, the distinct front end of a Mk1 greeted us with it’s immaculate chrome bumper and trim glistening in the sun. Peering through the window, I noticed the roll cage and immediately thought, “hang on this isn’t your normally done up Escort”. I walked around the car it became more clear that this car means business.

The interior of the car is done very neatly, sporting two bucket seats with harnesses and a fire extinguisher between the seats.  Looking around the interior you can see this car is meant for some serious driving, everything inside has its purpose. A huge tachometer on the dash with a shift light alongside it, a MOMO steering wheel and a huge gear shifter.

It’s a very nice place to be. Kovilan has kept the dash and most of interior stock but added a few mods here and there, a sort of race car for the street and that’s awesome!


Kovilan being a member of MSA for 17 years has definitely put this car to good use, from drag racing, the occasional track day, to hill climbs and some gymkhana. This car has done a lot. I really like meeting people who have these beasts sleeping in their garages, who actually use them for what they meant. These animals have to run free from time to time.

The guys at Yogan’s Trix did an amazing job with this car. Building, preparing and maintaining her. Definitely go check them out if you have a build in mind, their work is trick!

Now it was time to find out what was lurking under the bonnet. From my experience, a car with a cage and shift light is usually accompanied by something really powerful. Bonnet catches removed, Kovilan lifted the hood to reveal a 2.0litre 16 valve Ford motor, with a very neat carbon fibre finish to the tappet cover. Bolted to the exhaust manifold, is a huge custom turbocharger taking up pretty much the rest of the engine bay. The combination of the 2.0litre and the explosive go juice, ethanol, this car is pushing 500 BHP. That’s ALOT of power for a ‘street’ car.

DSC_3487-Exposure11111 copyAttached to the engine is a Toyota 21R gearbox sending the power to the rear through a M75 Diff with lock spool. Caltrac suspension keeps the rear planted but with 500 BHP on tap, she’ll definitely misbehave now and again. Some of the mods to the engine include solid lifter headers, 1680cc injectors, cometic gasket, ARP stud kit, Excel waste gate, Excel dump valve, intercooler and Dicktator management system. Helping this car get off the line fast is an ATS launch brake and to stop just as quickly, disc brakes have been fitted all round.


In the UK, the Ford Escort was the best-selling car of all time with over 4,000,000 sold during in its 32-year production run, according to a survey in March 2009.

As the starter motor spun away I got all excited just waiting to hear her fire up. Then she came to life, the exhaust note reverberating off the garage walls created this cacophonous sound. The smell of ethanol in the air, the turbo whistling away and the excitement of seeing her on the road, I knew this was going to be a good day.

The only issue with this car is that it attracts a lot of attention, well this is not really an issue, but if the police had seen us it would have been. On the way to the shoot, Kovilan showed us how she can misbehave on the streets with cold tires. You could see straight away this was a performance car with the way it bounced around on our typical South African roads, there’s just something about seeing a race car on the streets that puts a smile on your face.


“Bonnet closed, latches secured and fuel checked, it was now time to hear what this demon sounded like. “

The Ford Escort was a small family car that was manufactured by Ford of Britain and Ford Germany from 1968 to 2002.

Cover photo 3 copyMODS

2.0 L 16V TURBO
TOYOTA 21R GEARBOX
M75 DIFF WITH LOCKSPOOL
CALTRAC REAR SUSPENSION
SOLID LEFTER HEAD
1680 CC INJECTORS
COMETIC GASKET
ARP STUD KIT


CUSTOM TURBODSC_3476-Exposure11111 copy
EXCEL WASTEGATE
EXCEL DUMPVALVE
INTERCOOLER
ATS LAUNCH BRAKE
ROLL CAGE
DICKTATOR MANAGEMENT
4 WAY DISC BRAKES


The weather wasn’t ideal for a shoot, with overcast conditions throughout the day, but I did what I could and the car looked great through the 50mm lens. Once the shoot was wrapped up we headed back to Kovilan’s place but first we decided to get a few rolling shots of the car on the way, those are always my favourite and really challenging as well.

DSC_3473-Exposure1 copyWhen we arrived back at Kovilan’s I asked him where he’d most like to drive his car and he said, “NMR Avenue past the Metro Police Building” LOL! I would’ve loved to have filmed that rolling shot, it would make an awesome video.Unfortunately the car has been sold to a buyer from the UK and the last thing Kovilan needs is for this car to get impounded which it most definitely will.

Being the Ford fanatic he is, I’m sure he’s sad to see her go, but at least the cars staying in good hands and will be well looked after. From his very first car being a Ford Cortina 3.0 S, to his dream car being a Ford Escort Cosworth-Rally Edition, Kovilan is Ford man for sure.

 Kovilan would like to thank:

His wife and Family for support and understanding his passion. Donaven @ Africar Auto for all the electrical work SPEEDSHOP for dyno testing

Yogan’s Trix Team, Shallcross Durban, for all their hard work and determination in building, preparing and maintaining this wonderful machine.

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