December 7, 2022

The Escort GTi is a forgotten quick Ford of the Nineties. However Dave and Kylie Raspin’s tuned rally rep is bound to be remembered…

Function from Quick Ford journal. Phrases & Pictures: Jon Cass.

Few of us bear in mind the Ford Escort as soon as wore a GTi badge – the moniker sometimes related to French and German scorching hatches. However with a peppy 113bhp 1.8-litre Zetec underneath the bonnet, alongside RS2000-inspired styling, it was a succesful automotive – if not a bit neglected by related Escorts carrying the RS and XR badges we Ford followers are extra accustomed to.

Except the legendary RS Cosworth, these later-generation Escorts are sometimes ignored, which is a little bit of a disgrace. Regardless of woeful opinions of the early Nineties, Ford continued with improvement of its huge vendor, and by the top of manufacturing in Mk6 kind, the Escort ended up as a good automotive. The underrated GTi was simply within the candy spot.

That’s most likely why the Ford Escort GTi developed its personal group of followers and admirers. And Kylie and Dave Raspin fall squarely in that camp.

Kylie explains, “I’ve had a eager curiosity on this explicit era of Escort since its launch within the mid-Nineties. I used to be drawn to the styling, particularly the sportier fashions.”

Aged 16 and with assist from her grandad, Kylie purchased her first automotive, which after all turned out to be an Escort.

“I’d all the time helped my dad out within the storage, carrying overalls and tinkering along with his automobiles,” Kylie remembers, “so it’s no shock I had my very own automotive as quickly as I did.”

Tuned Ford Escort GTi

That first Escort was as a 1995 Mk6 Ghia, which Kylie duly discovered to drive in and shortly set about turning it into a reproduction of her dream automotive, a GTi.

Kylie says, “I couldn’t afford the insurance coverage on a real GTi, so the Ghia needed to do. However after proudly owning and pampering the automotive for eight years and taking it to meets and reveals, I used to be lastly ready to buy an actual GTi.”

Fortunately, Kylie’s husband, Dave, had grown to share the identical ardour for the Mk6 Escort and didn’t bat an eyelid at his spouse trawling by the classifieds as she looked for an acceptable GTi they may modify collectively.

Tuned Ford Escort GTi

Kylie remembers, “We tracked down an unique and unmodified Radiant Pink GTi round ten years in the past. However earlier than we actually acquired caught in to placing our personal mark on the automotive, I got here throughout the one I’ve now, which was the identical color however already benefited from a couple of modifications.”

Regardless of the pale paintwork, this second Ford Escort GTi didn’t disappoint, and with comparatively low mileage and stacks of historical past, Kylie and Dave may see the potential.


“It was clear the proprietor was an fanatic as a result of he’d added an array of fascinating modifications; the Cosworth entrance splitter, rear spoiler, Recaro Raven Circulate inside and chrome engine bay dress-up elements had been all consistent with our personal wish-list of mods,” says Kylie.

The real 16in Cosworth rims and adjustable coilovers helped seal the deal too, even when the coilovers turned out later to be solely match for the scrap pile. One other main plus was the fitment of an RS2000 rear beam, full with grooved and vented discs, EBC Greenstuff pads and Goodridge brake hoses.

As soon as the couple had introduced the Escort residence, Dave was capable of examine the underside in additional element and was happy to find a full set of polyurethane bushes.

“We changed the growing old suspension with a brand new set of Gaz Gold adjustable coilovers, and inside the first six months we’d additionally changed all of the brakes utilizing EBC elements,” Kylie remembers.

Because the automotive was by then approaching 15 years previous, Dave took the choice to resume the ball joints, wishbones and clutch, all of which had been displaying their age.

Tuned Ford Escort GTi

“I spent six months on my again underneath the automotive, cleansing and re-undersealing,” Dave laughs. “I painted your entire underside pink and silver and fitted new-old-stock warmth shields and brake pipes.”

By now this tuned Ford Escort GTi had the look of a brand-new automotive… Beneath, not less than.

As Dave had invested a lot time making certain the underside was immaculate, it led to the tuned Ford Escort GTi solely being pushed in honest climate. “This meant we may work on the automotive and add extra modifications every winter whereas it was in our storage,” Kylie smiles.  And judging by how this Escort seems to be right this moment, it will seem the Raspins haven’t been sat round losing time between every present season.

Tuned Ford Escort GTi

The 1796cc Zetec unit stays in situ, however its environment have been reworked, leading to a extremely engaging engine bay. The cream rocker cowl, Bailey header tank, chrome strut tops and an array of chrome covers by Auto Specialists definitely brighten issues up, however Dave and Kylie had been eager so as to add a couple of refined efficiency mods too.

The alloy induction pipe, Energy Increase Valve, Kent cams and customized chilly air feeds directed to the Okay&N filter all assist so as to add a bit extra grunt. The addition of a full stainless Magnex exhaust system matched to an Ashley four-branch stainless manifold means this tuned Ford Escort GTi now produces a vigorous 150bhp. In right this moment’s phrases that’s a determine to your common lukewarm hatch, however bear in mind, we’re speaking a normally-aspirated hatch from the Nineties right here, and an enormous enchancment over the usual automotive’s 113bhp.

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Stainless braided brake hoses and chrome strut braces improve the nimble dealing with, and so they look nice too, spurring Dave and Kylie on to make a couple of enhancements to the GTi’s all-too-restrained inside. An RS2000 steering wheel, pillar gauge pod, Richbrook stainless gearknob and Sparco pedals liven issues up, whereas a carbon-effect sprint and centre console trim take issues additional. The addition of an aluminium present cage is probably a clue to the route the Raspins had been heading.

A Morette twin-headlight conversion, Cosworth-style splitter (full with hockey sticks) and Mk6 Cosworth decrease rear spoiler had been already in place, however Kylie was eager to make sure their GTI would actually stand out from the pack.

“I’d acquired bored of the identical look, and for round 18 months we’d mentioned with a few buddies the concept of radically altering the looks of the Escort. Initially Dave wasn’t eager on the concept of getting the automotive wrapped, however these two buddies had been adamant {that a} wrapped Mk6 would make a pleasant change,” Kylie explains.

In the direction of the top of 2019 and after numerous dialogue, the pair determined to make the leap. Kylie continues, “I’d all the time appreciated the look of the Belgian Bastos rally crew livery on Escort Cosworths. I needed to adapt the wrap to swimsuit the smaller options of the Mk6 GTi and to incorporate variations of the official liveries used within the late Nineties, together with a couple of private twists.”

Not rather a lot to ask for, then, however Blueprint was pleased to tackle the problem and, as ever, the crew give you the products.

The wrap was accomplished in February 2020, simply in time for… Properly, not a lot actually. Kylie laughs, “The brand new wrap regarded beautiful, however we couldn’t drive the automotive anyplace. Different folks had been utilizing their newly discovered spare time to start out new initiatives, however we’d nearly completed ours.”

That Blueprint wrap had definitely made an affect, however the Escort Cosworth rims now regarded misplaced alongside the intense new livery.

Kylie says, “I persuaded Dave that white rally-style rims would swimsuit the wrap higher, and we opted for a set of 17in Bola B12 alloys with Toyo tyres. They had been a sensible choice and we’re actually happy how they give the impression of being on the automotive.”


Subsequent it was Dave’s flip to make a suggestion, within the form of entrance spotlights – the six-lamp rally-style pod suiting the Bastos theme completely.

“I selected Daymaker-style LED lights for a barely completely different look; they had been fitted by a neighborhood storage. The Rallyflapz mud flaps and further stickers we added quickly after,” Kylie says.

Tuned Ford Escort GTi

Regardless of this Escort solely ever being pushed within the dry, you could have noticed that it was removed from dry on the time of our photoshoot. We will solely applaud Dave and Kylie for enduring the damp climate of their satisfaction and pleasure.

In actual fact, their enthusiasm for this automotive is sort of infectious, and it’s nice to see a pair who share the identical ardour in equal measures.

“It’s Dave’s passion as a lot as it’s mine, and he nonetheless enjoys cleansing the automotive or tinkering with it each time he will get likelihood. I really like the nostalgia of driving an older automotive with go-kart-like dealing with, although I’m unsure my backbone would agree,” Kylie smiles.

As for a follow-up mission, Kylie would go for a Mk6 RS2000 F2 Maxi reproduction. We suspect they could be needing an even bigger storage…

Tech Spec: Tuned Ford Escort GTi


1796cc Zetec 16-valve, Ashley four-branch chrome steel exhaust manifold, Magnex chrome steel exhaust system, FSE Energy Increase Valve, alloy induction pipe with Okay&N cone filter, extra chilly air feeds directed to the filter, Kent race camshafts, Bailey header tanks, Auto Specialists chrome engine dress-up package comprising cam cowl, plug lead cowl, washer bottle high, wiper motor cowl, ABS module cowl, oil dipstick and filler cap, battery cowl, chrome strut tops, braided SS hoses, brake reservoir cowl


150bhp (proprietor’s estimate)


Ford B5 five-speed front-wheel-drive gearbox


Gaz Gold adjustable coilovers all spherical, chrome entrance and rear strut braces, poly bushes all spherical


Entrance: Escort GTi 240mm discs and callipers with EBC efficiency discs and Greenstuff pads; rear: Escort RS2000 disc conversion

Wheels & Tyres:

8x17in Bola B12 alloys with 205/40×17 Toyo Proxes tyres


Escort GTi bodykit, Cosworth-style entrance splitter with hockey sticks, Cosworth-style decrease rear spoiler, Morette twin headlight conversion, RS Accent high grille, fog-light blanking plates, half-tinted tail lamps, colour-coded Ghia quantity plate encompass, six Daymaker LED spotlights in rally-style lamp pod, customized Bastos-inspired wrap


Raven Circulate fabric Recaro inside, RS2000 steering wheel, Richbrook stainless gearknob, Sparco pedals, A-pillar gauge pod with battery volts and vacuum gauges, double-DIN JVC head unit, Pioneer 5x7in and 6x9in audio system, aluminium present cage, carbon-effect sprint and centre console trims, LED footwell lights