Modified Fords are fan favorites in the UK

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Those attending the Simply Ford car show in England seemed to like modified and customized vehicles | Beaulieu photos

More than 3,000 people turned out at Britain’s National Motor Museum at Beaulieu recently to view 1,787 Ford vehicles at the facility’s annual Simply Ford car show. 

The car count was nearly 300 more than the record number that turned out for the same event in 2017, the museum said.

One big draw, it added, was the lineup of Ford Escorts celebrating the model’s 50th anniversary. Each of the six generations of Escorts was displayed, represented by those used as daily drivers as well as pristine sedans, vans, cabriolets and even rally racers. Ford’s British factory provided Escort GT, RS, XR3i and Cosworth models for the show.

Taking People’s Choice honors as the spectators’ favorite vehicle was a 1979 Ford Escort RS2000 owned by Martin and Rita Lewis of Witney in Oxfordshire. 

Fan favorite was this 1979 Ford Escort RS2000 owned by Martin and Rita Lewis

“Replicating the rally cars from the Escort’s motorsport heyday, the RS2000 had been painstakingly built to competition specification by Martin over 13 years,” the museum noted in its news release. “This Escort’s period-perfect paintwork and graphics were reminiscent of the cars that took part in the RAC Rally of the 1970s and 1980s, while a high-spec turbocharged engine was fitted under the bonnet.”

“I always wanted to build this car,” Martin Lewis said. “It’s a lifelong ambition fulfilled. I can’t believe that I won this award.”

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Runner-up honors went to this 500-horsepower, van built atop a Cosworth 4×4 setup

Runner-up for the award was an Escort van, albeit one extensively modified by its owner, Mark Hudd, who mounted the van atop a 500 horsepower, four-wheel-drive Cosworth powertrain. Also taking runner-up recognition was a Shelby GT500 Ford Mustang that Paul Ainsworth took first to Arizona and finally to England from his native Canada.

Among the more interesting of cars at the show was a Cortina Lotus Mk2 originally used as a police car on the Isle of Wight. 

Beaulieu’s next “Simply” show is scheduled for June 3 when Porsches take to the show field.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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