December 7, 2022

The venture began 15 years in the past, however by continually including new concepts and improved spec, Sebastian Sundfors noticed his Ford Escort Mk2 evolve right into a custom-bodied, composite-skinned, BMW M3-powered observe beast.

Characteristic from Quick Ford. Phrases: Jamie King. Photographs: Jape Tiitenen

The story of Sebastian Sundfors’s epic Escort begins method again within the early 2000s, when he was nonetheless in school and used to stroll previous this Mk2 sitting unloved within the again yard of a home in his hometown in Finland.

“I’d at all times seen it from a distance, and whilst a college child I knew I needed one thing like that sooner or later,” says Sebastian.

That day got here in 2006, when Sebastian was simply 17. “The plan was to construct a winter automotive to make use of on ice tracks and, after all, the street. I purchased it in the midst of winter and it in good situation; virtually commonplace however with an uprated 1.6-litre Crossflow and painted in metallic blue,” Sebastian remembers.

However as you’d anticipate for a automotive that had endured a number of harsh Finnish winters exterior, the deeper Sebastian dug, the extra he discovered. He says, “The ground had rusted badly from the within, not from exterior. I believe this was as a result of the sunroof was leaking – and doubtless had leaked for final ten years.”

With the automotive stripped again to a naked shell prepared for a recent respray, Sebastian realised the entire ground wanted changing. It was at this level he had his first change of plans.

M3-powered Ford Escort Mk2

“Whereas I used to be changing the ground a pal of mine purchased a rally Escort, and that was undoubtedly one thing I needed,” he says. “So, I began to construct it with roll cage, Group A large arches, new physique panels, and a 2.0-litre Pinto with SK Racing carbs. The rear axle was swapped to a Volvo 1031 with four-link and Panhard rod, whereas the entrance finish was fitted with totally adjustable tarmac racing shocks – it was virtually an entire rally automotive.”

As we’ve alluded to, the plans then modified once more, and once more… And once more. Sebastian summarises, “I began to decrease the automotive, purchased a Nissan SR20 turbo engine, and needed to construct a observe automotive. At that time, I minimize out all of the panels out and began to construct my very own bodykit – the automotive virtually turned a spaceframe at that time.

M3-powered Ford Escort Mk2

“Later I discovered a 2.5-litre BMW M3 Evo engine at an important worth. Initially, this engine was meant for one more venture (E30 M3 duplicate) and I ‘by chance’ examined it within the Escort’s body… The engine was an ideal match and extra uncommon than the BDA or YB swap, in order that made my thoughts up.”


After the preliminary burst, the Escort venture stood nonetheless for round seven of the 15 years Sebastian has owned it; he was learning between 2009 and 2013, after which launched into a home construct between 2015 and 2017.

“It was truly simply as we’d began on the home construct that the M3 engine got here up on the market. The Escort had been placed on maintain whereas we labored on the home, however I couldn’t get the thought of the M3 engine out of my head, so I needed to borrow cash from my spouse’s wedding ceremony financial savings to purchase it… And the marriage was put again,” laughs Sebastian.

As you’ve in all probability already labored out, Sebastian is a serial tinkerer, and and not using a deadline to satisfy, this Escort in all probability wouldn’t have ever been completed. Fortunately although, when a pal booked a stand house on the Elmia Customized Efficiency Present in Sweden in 2018, a date was set.

That’s when the venture actually kick-started, and Sebastian referred to as in his brothers and associates to assist get the automotive completed in time.

“The issue was, we determined we couldn’t take the automotive to a present like that in its present spec – all of the concepts have been not less than 5 years outdated, and I had many alternative ideas on how issues might be improved. So, the entrance finish was minimize off on the bulkhead, the four-link bars on the rear have been all chopped out, and I began modifying the bodywork as soon as once more too,” explains Sebastian.

M3-powered Ford Escort Mk2

Sebastian needed to successfully construct the automotive from scratch once more, to a better commonplace than ever earlier than, and do all of it in simply 5 months. That meant asking everybody he may to assist. Brothers Benjamin and Emanuel have been the principle supply of help, however all chipped in the place they might; Sebastian’s spouse Cecilia hand-made all of the textiles on the inside, good pal Mikael Öster took care of all of the composite work, and even Sebastian’s one-year-old son Milton spent most evenings and weekends within the storage whereas everybody labored on the Escort.


Sebastian additionally used expertise to assist the place doable, making full use of the newest 3D printing techniques from BBT Motorsport. “The air filter housing, distant reservoir brackets for the coilovers, the steering wheel button encompass, and varied brackets all through the automotive are all comprised of PA-CF (carbon-filled polyamide),” Sebastian explains.

The one authentic elements of the shell are the A-, B- and C-pillars and the entrance part of the ground – the remainder of the automotive is successfully semi-space-framed (with geometry settings based mostly on Nissan’s S-platform) with a carbon roof and fibreglass panels (the entrance finish is a detachable one-piece merchandise, and the rear shell can be moulded in a single piece), incorporating Sebastian’s self-designed super-wide arches.

Up entrance, the BMW S14 engine isn’t any slouch as inventory: within the E30 BMW M3 Evo it kicked out a good 235bhp and 177lb.ft, that are spectacular numbers for naturally-aspirated four-banger. However Sebastian’s advantages from a couple of race-spec upgrades, akin to Schrick cams, modified throttles from an M5, Motec ECU, and dry sump system. All of which implies a screaming 300bhp and 236lb.ft when Sebastian stands on the loud pedal.

Then it was time to determine on the ultimate color. Sebastian remembers, “We initially needed to color it Nardo Gray, however we couldn’t discover a matching shade for the elements to be powder-coated in such a brief window earlier than the present.” The color Sebastian settled on was RAL 7037, and the automotive was painted two weeks earlier than the present – and there have been nonetheless masses extra {custom} elements made afterwards.

“However it made it to Elmia… Simply. It wasn’t technically ‘completed’ but it surely appeared full and went down properly. I don’t suppose we’d have ever acquired it completed if we didn’t join the present,” smiles Sebastian.

However don’t suppose that as a result of it made the present it means an finish to Sebastian’s tinkering.

“There’s a couple of issues I’d prefer to redo to get it excellent,” he says, “I’m not solely pleased with the panel gaps as a result of we have been in a rush to get the automotive painted – plus it’s a race automotive. However I’ll nonetheless replace it. I’d additionally like to maneuver the engine again about 200mm to get it nearer to the centre of the automotive – present weight distribution is about 50/50, however I’d prefer to see all the load inside the entrance and rear axles for optimum efficiency.”

See also  Tuned VW Golf Mk2 Rallye

The Escort may even be on the market – however you’ll must be fast, as a result of Sebastian will quickly produce other concepts, and this Escort could be on its option to one other state of evolution.

Tech Spec: M3-Powered Ford Escort Mk2


2467cc BMW S14B25 EVO3 four-cylinder, Köhler Racing dry sump with {custom} oil pan and tank, Schrick camshafts, Wössner pistons, {custom} throttles (modified M5 S38B38), DTM carbon inlet manifold, 3D-printed air filter housing, chrome steel {custom} four-into-two exhaust system with twin Yoshimura silencers,  Mishimoto rear-mounted radiators,  Nuke Efficiency competitors gas cell, Motec M84 ECU, Motec PDM 15 (controls all electrics, gas pumps, wipers, lights, fan, water pump and starter), AIM sprint (Motec PDM and ECU is linked through CAN-Bus) with all features managed from steering wheel


300bhp at 7400rpm, 236lb.ft


BMW/ZF S5D five-speed canine ’field from GearMotive, Tenaci twin-plate clutch and {custom} flywheel, Volvo 1031 rear axle (from 740) with Eaton Truetrac limited-slip diff


Customized house body entrance with Nissan S-platform geometry settings, {custom} rear house body (housing rear axle, radiator, oil tank, breather tanks, Watts linkage, gas tank, and electrical water pump), {custom} KW competition-spec two-way coilovers with exterior reservoirs, adjustable {custom} anti-roll bars (entrance and rear)


Entrance: {custom} Okay-Sport brake equipment comprising 286mm discs and six-pot callipers; rear: {custom} Okay-Sport brake equipment comprising 286mm discs and four-pot callipers (286mm discs used to work with 15in wheels)

Wheels & Tyres:

Set one: Compomotive CX split-rims, 11x15in with ET0 (entrance) and 13x15in with ET-50 (rear), with 10.7/21.5-15in (entrance) and 12.5/23.5-15in (rear) slick tyres. Set two: Japan Racing JR26 alloys, 10x17in with ET0 and Hankook 245/35R17 tyres (all spherical)


Closely modified Mk2 Escort shell with {custom} tubular entrance and rear subframes, carbon fibre roof, bonnet and rear spoiler, one-piece fibreglass entrance finish, one-piece fibreglass rear finish, fibreglass doorways, {custom} large arches, custom-made hardened glass, chassis/frames powder-coated and physique panels sprayed in matching RAL 7037 gray


Absolutely stripped, full roll cage, Sparco Professional 2000 bucket seat, six-point harnesses, Momo steering wheel, aluminium inside panels (ground and door panels), detachable transmission tunnel, detachable rear firewall, {custom} pedal field, {custom} adjustable steering column, {custom} button encompass for steering wheel, AIM MXP Strada sprint show, billet GearMotive shifter, billet handbrake