A lightweight Ford Escort is the perfect base for a hot racer…Equipping it with a 2JZ however makes it almost too hot to handle!
By Chad Miller
The story of Sheldon’s Escort adventure starts back when he bought three Escorts from Devon in Benoni, and while testing one of the three; he turned up the boost to 2-bar on the 2JZ, planted his foot flat against the floorboard, and then went through a wall and a Tata bakkie…Ta ta Escort!
The accident could have spelt the end for the little Escort, but it was the perfect excuse to kickstart “Project Escort” and damn, are we happy that it did?! Given that the car had gone through a wall, Sheldon first had to sort out the bodywork and so he entrusted the car to Shaun Mahabeer from LM Autoworx. They fixed the accident damage, fitted a custom fibreglass body kit and resprayed it with a colour taken from Audi’s paint catalogue.
Cosmetically, the car was perfect once again, but cosmetics are not the reason why this Escort can run 10.67 second quarter mile times!
To get that right we must thank the rather “stock” 2JZ under the hood. I say stock because the motor has never opened, no forged or strengthened hoo-haa here. Despite never opening the motor, it still churns out an impressive 390kW at 1.35 bar boost, together with 690Nm of torque. On the hardware side, the motor received a host of custom manifolds and intakes that would help it fit into the engine bay and bolted to one of those custom manifolds is T66 journal bearing Turbonetics turbo! The software side has been taken care thanks to a Dicktator EMS that is tuned to perfection.
The motor drives the rear wheels using a BMW E46 6-speed gearbox that spins a custom prop-shaft. Naturally, the differential and side-shafts had to be upgraded, a job Sheldon took on himself and the results speak for themselves. To make sure the car sticks to the drag strip, a set of Mickey Thompsons have been bolted to the rear hubs with a set of 15” BBS wheels, while the front keeps it classy with a set of 17” Lenso wheels and Bridgestone tyres. The super sticky tyres are assisted in their endeavours by a proper ladder frame suspension set-up with some of the best pieces from Strange including a set of their 4-way coilovers! To make sure that the Escort doesn’t go through another wall and a Tata bakkie, all four corners are fitted with discs and calipers from an E36 BMW.
With safety in mind, Sheldon installed an MSA-spec rollcage together with a set of lightweight Cobra racing seats, keeping him safely in place while he enjoys banging through the gears using the custom PPT Pro Billet shifter while hanging on to the 12” Drift steering wheel!