19th Jun, 2024 13:00

Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire

Lot 122

1969 Ford Escort Twin Cam Works Rally Car
Driven by Roger Clark to 6th overall on the 1969 RAC Rally


(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: ETW 885G
Chassis No: BB49JG05383
MOT: Exempt

  • Specially prepared for the 1969 RAC Rally and subsequently given to the Daily Mirror as a competition prize
  • Subsequently campaigned by Jeff Churchill and others
  • Current ownership since 1981
  • History file with extensive research undertaken, build sheet, photographs in period and much more

The Ford Escort is a true rallying icon. Not just because of its attention-grabbing sideways attitude, but because its reputation was forged on solid results, from Roger Clark's first International Rally Win aboard one, in a Twin Cam on the 1968 Tulip Rally (after Ove Andersson's debut third place in San Remo), through thousands of subsequent successes including eight RAC victories. Legend has it that the Twin Cam came about by the usual inventiveness and chicanery at Ford's Boreham-based Competitions Department, before Advanced Vehicle Operations had even been thought of. Near the end of 1966, Ford's Competitions Manager Henry Taylor and his Chief Mechanic Bill Meade spotted early Escorts being track tested, whereupon Meade apparently mused: "One of those things would go like hell with a Twin Cam in it!" - Taylor thought so too and the work was on to cram the engine, previously used in the Lotus Cortinas, into the smaller, lighter Escort bodyshell that shared the same mechanical layout. The Twin Cam was launched early in 1968, costing £1,162.78, and was the ideal base on which Ford could mount its world-dominating rally effort, beginning a 50-year plus winning spree that continues in historic rallying today.

All too aware of the success that Stuart Turner had achieved as BMC’s competition manager (whilst the Mini was at the height of its powers), Ford’s Walter Hayes made a determined effort to headhunt him. Joining the Blue Oval’s rallying operation in 1969, Turner’s ruthless competitive streak and flair for publicity soon made their presence felt. An early adopter of the ‘new car (or at least new bodyshell) per event’ philosophy, he had two Twin-Cams specially prepared for the 1969 RAC Rally. Road registered as ‘ETW 885G’ and ‘FTW 24H’, the pair were allocated to Roger Clark / Jim Porter and Ove Andersson / Gunnar Palm respectively. Although Clark-helmed Escorts later became synonymous with the RAC Rally, 1969 was not to be his year. As well as rendering several stages impassable, the exceptionally heavy November snow handed a decisive advantage to front-wheel drive rivals such as the victorious Lancia Fulvia HF 1.6. Having finished a highly creditable sixth overall on its sole Works outing (two places behind ‘FTW 24H’). ‘ETW 885G’ was promptly despatched to Cadwell Park, Lincolnshire for an ITV World of Sport Rallycross Meeting before being gifted to the Daily Mirror newspaper by the ever PR-savvy Turner.

Offered as a competition prize, the Ford was won by Sargeant Walter Eaton. Serving with the REME in Germany at the time and no stranger to rallying, he had helped fettle the British Army’s entrants for the 1968 London-Sydney Marathon, Monte Carlo and Tulip Rallies. Preoccupied with preparations for the 1970 World Cup Rally - which he contested as co-driver to Major John Hemsley in a Peugeot 504 - Eaton sold the Twin-Cam onto William Crawford who used it to contest the 1970 RAC Rally. Thereafter, ‘ETW 885G’ passed to Jeff Churchill - a.k.a. ‘The Welsh Roger Clark’ - distinguishing itself on the 1971 Welsh International (8th overall), Dukeries (5th overall) and Jim Clark Memorial (6th overall) Rallies. Subsequently campaigned at club level by Michael Francis O’Connell, the Escort was in need of restoration by the time it entered the current family ownership during 1981. Although some progress was made, the project has long since stalled. Presumed lost for decades, this ex-Roger Clark ‘Works’ Escort generated huge interest when displayed at this year’s Practical Classics Restoration Show. Coming to market for the first time in forty-three years, ‘ETW 885G’ surely deserves to be returned to its former glory? The accompanying history file includes correspondence with Ford and details of the Daily Mirror competition. A unique opportunity.

For more information, please contact:
Andreas Hicks
07929 363573


Auction: Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire, 19th Jun, 2024

An auction of classic, collector and performance motorcars held at the iconic and visually stunning Imperial War Museum, Duxford. Venue Details 

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