There can’t be many petrol-heads around who haven’t had a Ford crush at some point during their childhood – you can in fact, almost guess a person’s age, based on their favourite ‘Fast Ford’ and we saw a lot of them at the recent RS Owners Club regional day in Ballymena.
For the eighties child, including myself, the models to lust after were either the Escort RS Turbo and for me the Fiesta RS Turbo, or perhaps the Sierra RS Cosworth which was most loved in rear-wheel-drive set-up of the earlier cars, before converting to all-wheel-drive.
For the nineties kids on the other hand, Ford arguably reached the peak of their powers with the introduction of the Escort RS Cosworth – its over-the-top design, muscular arches and tea-tray spoilers will always be a total head turner, it not only looked awesome on the road, but excelled in rallying too.
Looking best in Imperial Blue, like the model below recently rejuvenated by McNeill Motorsport, this particular car is one which I have fond memories of, thanks to a few road-trips across the pond as well as uncountable track days, and without delving into incriminating detail, enough ‘enjoyable runs’ across the Antrim plateau for it to leave a lasting memory.
In the world of motoring, there can’t be more passionate or enthusiastic car owners than those who own anything with a blue oval badge. Generations of Ford owners, young and old, gathered at the Ballee playing fields, and the early summer sunshine was a welcome sight, the clear skies providing the perfect backdrop to highlight various features of over 100 Ford models.
With this year marking 50-years of the iconic RS brand, a very special central feature to celebrate this anniversary was in place at the event, which due to the vast expanse of its location, looked a little sparse from the roadside when arriving, but thankfully once up-close, the well-supported event proved fruitful.
Additionally, and new for 2018, both ‘Concours’ and ‘Unrestored Concours’ categories were introduced for all Ford cars, alongside a ‘Show N’ Shine’ which was open to all vehicles on display, even those without a blue oval.
Our local club for fans of the Volkswagen Audi Group, ‘GTi NI’ was in attendance, as too was the Ni BMW club, providing some German performance to the show. Outside of these, there wasn’t much without the Blue oval on display.
Some of the machinery on display that stood out to me included a black Ford Ranger pick-up truck, a highly modified machine featuring a monster-truck-like lift kit, side-exit exhaust and massive alloy wheels with what seemed to be mud terrain tyres fitted.
A slammed, 1969 Ford Cortina with some sort of modern engine transplant, with its exterior finished in its almost 50-year old paint clearly had not seen a drop of polish in all of that time, caught my eye due to the ‘rat-look’ not really being the norm thing within the Ford scene, I liked it a lot!
Putting the biggest smile on my face was a 1992 Ford Sierra GT estate, styled as a replica ‘service barge’ or ‘chase car’ that would have been seen on the roads around rallying events, offering roadside assistance to crews who very successfully competed in Sierra Cosworth’s back in the day, if there was a nostalgia award available then this fine automobile would easily have snatched it.
The car of the show for me though, and pictured above, is one that’s most certainly not for the purists of the blue oval – the 1970’s Ford Escort MkI fitted with a bubble-arch kit, wide track chassis, larger than life Comp-Mo alloy wheels, and best but not least, a Honda K20 engine (Honda S2000 lump) shoehorned in for some exciting rear-wheel-drive action, with all the revs stole the show!
An extensive raffle with excellent prizes, children’s entertainment, hot food and much more including a handful of very well stocked, enthusiast related trade stands provided something for everyone, and with support from ‘Trust Ford’, the latest model range was available for perusal.
Words and Photos: Graham Curry
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