Sunburst Into Life

It was early 2007 and Matt was driving down a road when he spotted a white Escort convertible parked on someone’s driveway. It had a broken window, so Matt decided to knock on the door and ask if the car was for sale. The owner said it wasn’t and that kids had vandalised the window since he’d parked it up, awaiting a new gearbox. Matt offered to fix the cabriolet for him, as his friend had recently broken two Escorts for spares. He left his phone number, and sure enough, the owner contacted Matt a few weeks later and Matt took the car away and got stuck in. Matt also serviced the car and arranged an MoT at an agreed price, as the car had been off the road for a while. Once it was all fixed up and road worthy, Matt delivered the car back to its owner who was over the moon with what Matt had done. They got talking about old Fords, and the owner mentioned to Matt that a relative had recently passed away, and he had an old Escort XR3i stored in his garage that was now going to have to be sold. The XR3i had been left in a garage and forgotten about. Matt asked for his number to be passed on, as this sounded like just what he was looking for.
A few months passed before Matt received a phone call. They arranged to meet up so he could take a look at the stored car, and on arriving Matt was not disappointed. The garage door was opened, revealing a part covered Escort peeping out from under a cover. On peeling back the cover, Matt saw the XR3i in bits, with scabby rust patches and a layer of dust. The car had been left in the garage for 12 years, and parts where lay all over the garage. The guy couldn’t remember why it had been taken off the road all those years ago, but there Matt stood, eager to take the Escort home.
No price had been mentioned as yet, so Matt asked the question. “They make good money on eBay” the guy said, but he would like £150 for the car. Obviously, Matt agreed the sale and took the car away.
On getting the Escort home, Matt soon gave it a good clean and checked to find out what parts might be needed. He found that there was water in the engine, so a full rebuild was required. Around this time, Matt was selling some parts on eBay when fellow member Phil Haywood bought some parts and wanted to collect them. He came down from Newark and it turned out that he also owned a Mk3 XR3i that he was doing up. From that day they kept in touch and in 2010, as Matt wasn’t making progress, Phil rebuilt his engine for him. Matt sent Phil the engine in bits, with many new parts like Clutch, Cam Shaft, Bearings, Gaskets, etc. Once the engine was ready, Matt drove up to Newark to collect it. Phil had done a fantastic job and it was also newly painted, ready to drop back in, although it did sit in Matt’s mates garage for two years before being fitted.
Once the engine was in, Matt made a start on painting some of the other parts like the Suspension, and generally tidied the car up.
In 2014, Phil again came to Matt’s rescue, offering to paint the body work for him. Matt arranged for the Escort to be transported up to Newark. Shortly after, the phone call from Phil came, and the car was ready to be collected. What a beauty!
Matt says he loves driving the car, but hates parking it up in case someone damages it when he’s not around. I think that’s only testament to the hard work he and his friends have put in over the years.
Matt joined the XR Owners Club in November 2014 and since then, Matt and his XR3i have been to Cosford, Classic Ford Show, Beauliea, Ford Fair, Knebworth and Chiltern Open Air Museum, and this year’s Pre Season Meet at Gaydon Motor Museum. He is also now looking forward this years show season.

XROC Magazine Feature Car - Sunburst Red XR3i XROC Magazine Feature Car - Sunburst Red XR3i XROC Magazine Feature Car - Sunburst Red XR3i

Auction Winner – Stuart Trowell’s Caspian Blue XR3

Stuart purchased his XR3 in July 2008 after placing an eBay bid on a whim. He always wanted one ever since he was a kid. “It was the car that got me interested in cars in the first place” he continued, having had scrap books full of pictures of them.
After looking at a couple of Mk4’s, which were rotten, he found this one advertised. “The advert wasn’t brilliant but I thought there was something appealing about it”, he exclaimed, and before he knew he’d placed a bid.  The car had been off the road since 1994, but had stacks of receipts, and plenty of old MoT certificates.
He had forgotten about the car until the email notification came through, confirming Stuart had won the XR3. He was surprised, having paid just £650, but he now had concerns as to how he would collect the car. As the seller had put a fresh MoT on the Escort, Stuart decided to insure it and drive it back. “Well that was the plan” he laughs. After breaking down on the M56 and over 50 miles from home, delivery cost him an extra £200. After a few teething problems, and almost giving up and selling it, he managed to get it running right and enjoyed using it as it was. Stuart joined the XR Owners Club in 2009 and kept his Escort how it was, but at the end of 2010 it was starting to show its age with the rear arches and lower doors rusting, he bit the bullet and gave it a little restoration. “I didn’t want the concourse look, as I enjoy driving it and not polishing it” Stuart points out. He’s tried to keep the car as original as possible, with the engine bay and interior being left alone, as it is only original once. Now he just tries to keep on top of the maintenance and enjoy his pride and joy as much as he can.
Stuart regularly attends the North Midlands monthly pub meet, as well as several local and national shows throughout the year. He and his XR3 can be seen at this years Pre Season Meet, Classic Ford Show at Santa Pod, and Ford Fair at Silverstone.
We’ll look forward to seeing more of his XR3.

XR Owners Club Feature Car Caspian Blue XR3

XR Owners Club Feature Car Caspian Blue XR3

XR Owners Club Feature Car Caspian Blue XR3

XR Owners Club Feature Car Caspian Blue XR3

The NEC Classic Motor Show 2015

Congratulations to everyone that was involved in putting on a splendid presentation of  XR’s and Supersports at this years NEC classic car show.
Although our allocated stand space was less than last year, it did still prove what an excellent club we have. We had a good range of XR’s, with Mk3, Mk4 and Mk5 Escorts. Four Supersports, an XR2 and the later XR2i.

We enticed six new members over the weekend and two renewals so we’d like to welcome them into the XR fold.
The stand was always busy, with plenty of people viewing the cars and chatting with our members. It made it difficult to photograph the cars at several times throughout the day, but hearing the public reminiscing about the 80’s Fords they once owned was equally enjoyable.

I was only able to spend one day at the show, and I can honestly say that it just wasn’t enough time to see everything properly. There are no less than five exhibition halls to browse with plenty to see. From classic part traders, celebrities and TV shows, to live car auctions and classic sales stands. A total of 94 vehicles were put under the hammer, but one car that stood out from the crowd was a one owner series one RS Turbo, with less than 7000 miles on the clock, and a history file to match. It sold for a staggering £60k, and it was later announced that it made a new world record. It’s incredible to think that someone has paid that as an investment, with a view to its value rising. We’ve seen plenty of good XR’s slowly rising in price recently, which only proves what popular retro classics our XR’s are.

Our stand was in Hall 5, amongst many other retro 80’s and 90’s car clubs. It was great to see them all together in the same hall, from MG Maestro’s and Metro’s, to Capri’s and Sierra’s. There was also an opportunity to ride in some classic and performance cars around the NEC grounds for a donations to charity. The cars all belong to Sporting Bears members, and for as little as ten pounds you can go for a 10 mile ride. The club has raised over one million pounds since it was founded 26 years ago. Sadly, I didn’t see a Sierra Cosworth available.

Wheeler Dealers presenters Mike Brewer and Edd China made a welcome return with the live stage area. Mike set Edd a challenge, to restore a 1998 MX-5 over the three day event. Mike then gave it to one lucky winner, with a years free insurance included.
Other celebrity faces included Fuzz Townshend from Car SOS, Ant Anstead from For the Love of Cars, Sir Stirling Moss and Ross Brawn.

Expert advice and live demonstrations of car restoration were available in the Restoration Theatre, lead by Mike Coman of Leeds City College. Lead loading, wheeling and panel work were a few of things discussed.
For lovers of two wheel classics, there was a large area dedicated to classic motorcycles. With everything for sale from leathers, helmets and gloves, to merchandise and posters.

Every year at the NEC Classic Motor Show, Alan and Dorrinda present the Richard Allan Harwood Memorial Trophy to the owner of the best presented car on the stand. This year it went to Ian Blenkinsopp and his superbly presented XR2i. A well deserved award to Ian and his car that we featured in Issue 2 this year.

XROC & Supersport Register - NEC Classic Car ShowXROC & Supersport Register - NEC Classic Car Show

Graham Orpet’s XR4x4 Gets A Taste Of TV Fame

GRAHAM ORPET’S car was used in an ANGLIA TV PRODUCTION last year by the folk band Addisons Uncle in their music video, The B1159.

“I can’t believe it’s been eighteen months since my car was on the TV” Graham exclaimed. It all started when local folk band, ADDISON’S UNCLE, produced a catchy song about a journey that lead singer Philip Pearson recalls when he was a child. Every time after visiting family, Philip’s Dad would drive home the scenic route along the Norfolk coast, instead of the quicker route along the A47. It used to wind Philip up!
The band played the song live and it seemed to be popular, so they decided that a promotional video might be a good idea. Of course, the only thing holding them back with the video was finding a roadworthy Sierra to use on the shoot. Graham continues, “James Mass, a ukulele player from Norwich is a mate of mine, and when he heard the catchy song about a Sierra he contacted me straight away to put us in touch”. The band was keen to borrow Graham’s XR4x4. “It was mid June last year, and the other half and I had a short break in Scotland planned” Graham said. He admits he was quite nervous of someone else using his pride and joy but James assured him that only Philip would drive it. Philip managed to get a days insurance for the Sierra and promised faithfully that good care would be taken of it. Anyway, by all accounts they had a brilliant day with the film crew and managing to get all the filming wrapped up in the one day. “I came back from holiday to see a load of flies stuck to it so I assumed they did indeed have brilliant day”. The car was returned in perfect condition with not one dent to be seen and refuelled with Shell V Power.

A few weeks later I got a call “Watch Anglia News tonight”! There she was, in all her glory. A week after it also appeared on the local BBC news.

They are a great bunch of people! If Addison’s Uncle ever get to your neck of the woods, go and see them, even if you are not a folk music fan. They will manage to get your feet tapping as it’s “Folk” with a difference. “I have been lucky enough to play along with them when they played at my local” Graham stated. They happened to say “Your car was in the video so you might as well play the song”. Of course Graham did. It was a thoroughly good night had by all.
If you’d like to see the video and Graham’s Sierra, search “Addisons Uncle B1159” or visit the following website link:

XR4x4 Music Video Feature with Addisons Uncle

Classic Car Security Tips with Lancaster Insurance

Whether your classic has been in the family for years, or is a new addition, being the victim of vehicle theft can be devastating. Unfortunately, this is becoming all too common for many owners as classic car values soar. Whilst we may not be able to stop every vehicle being stolen, there are a number of ways we can help reduce the chance and here at Lancaster, we’ve created a list of helpful hints and tips that may help.

1. Lock your vehicle
Sounds obvious doesn’t it, but it is surprising how often this is overlooked. If your vehicle is left unattended, no matter how small the trip, always lock your doors. An unlocked car is an invitation to a would-be thief so let’s not make it easy for them. Sunroofs, windows open? Cabriolet owners; either secure all belongings in the boot or fold up the roof to protect it.

2. Don’t leave anything visible
Contents theft from a vehicle is opportunistic, so making sure nothing is left on display will help reduce the chance of your vehicle being targeted; the best deterrent is to lock your belongings in the boot when your classic is left unattended.

3. Think about where you leave your car
When your classic is at your home address and you’ve declared a garage to your insurer, make sure it is stored there overnight. If you are away from home no one expects you to have access to a garage but take a second to think about where you park your vehicle. Leaving it in a dimly lit area will encourage car thieves, so look for a well-lit area or one that has CCTV.

4. Check your garage regularly
There have been a few recent stories where owners have checked on their pride and joy, after an extended time, to find it’s gone. The simple solution is to check your vehicle regularly, at least once a week, and if you are on holiday ask a friend to pop in. Remember – the longer you leave it between visits, the less likely it is that the police will be able to recover your vehicle, if it’s missing.
Remote storage, (garage/lockup) is the most difficult to keep an eye constantly, therefore consider it’s weak points, i.e. door hinges, locks even what it’s made of! Make sure that it’s in good repair.
Knowing other renters and developing a mutually beneficial tie with them. A tracker system would be a really useful option.
Some activate if the vehicle is moved and informs you via call centre or text message.

5. Fit a security device
There are numerous security vehicle devices available, from crook locks and engine immobilisers to alarms and tracking devices. The latter is a very effective way of securing your vehicle and whilst it won’t prevent your vehicle being stolen, it has the highest recovery rate of any device on the market. You can even purchase tracking devices that are both inexpensive and won’t require your classic to be changed cosmetically or structurally to accommodate them.

6. Think about your social media activity
Social media is brilliant for finding out information about classic events, sourcing hints, tips and advice as well as connecting with other enthusiasts. However there can be a downside, with many people sharing their whereabouts on a regular basis. Whilst there is nothing wrong with for instance, sharing when you’re on holiday, does let would-be car thieves know that our vehicles are unattended. To reduce the risk, think about who can see it and if necessary check your privacy settings so that only trusted friends can see your posts.

7. Secure your car at a show
Many of us like to visit shows and chat to other enthusiasts and show case our pride and joy. If your car is unattended, lock your doors, place your contents in the boot and make sure that any security on your vehicle is set.
Car Shows, especially very large one’s often present thieves with golden opportunities, whenever possible go as a club whereby other members can keep an eye on your pride and joy whilst you’re away from the area.
Rare vehicle parts, it’s a sad reality that some people are willing to steal parts from your car especially rare and or valuable items such as Plastic boot hinge covers on Escorts cabriolets, alloy wheel centre caps etc. Sometimes awareness and prevention is all it takes to have an incident free day at a show.

8. Securing your vehicle at home
Whilst this may not be possible for every owner, if you can, invest in some additional home security. From ground posts on your drive way, to fitting an alarm to your garage or even installing CCTV, just their visible presence could be enough to put off any potential car thief.

9. Keys
Remember to store your keys in a place out of sight and well known to you, if you’re without your vehicle. Many of us hang our keys up on a hook next to the front door or leave them visible on a coffee table and this can be an open invitation for any thief.

10. Agreed Value
Whilst this will not protect or prevent your vehicle from being stolen, it is vital that your classic is insured for its true value. The classic car market is very buoyant at present, with many owners finding that their prized possession is under insured. When purchasing an insurance policy, make sure it includes an Agreed Value so that, should the unthinkable happen, you’re not left out of pocket.
Sometimes having agreed value added to your policy adds extra work for you; with photos, declarations etc. Consider this for an example, a Ford Sierra, XR4, Agreed value, £4,500 compared to market valued £200.  Quite a difference.

11. Car clubs
Many car clubs offer tips and advice on security and trend awareness, types of cars stolen and how?

Belonging to a car club often presents the ability to have far more people looking out for a recently stolen car or even parts from it.  Auction sites, parts dealers or scrap yards. The registration plates may be removed but recognising it can often lead to recovery with the help of the police. Potential discounts from suppliers are also a good way of securing your car.

Following these simple tips can help reduce the risk of theft; sadly it still happens across the Country but everything you do can help stop or ensure recovery of your vehicle. To make sure your classic has the correct level of cover and is insured for its true value, please contact Lancaster Insurance on 01480 587016 or go online to Lancaster Insurance.

Classic Car Security Tips with Lancaster Insurance

Meet The Walton’s – XR2 Restoration

Jim Walton has always had a soft spot for the XR2, having owned one some 25 years previous. He always promised himself he’d have another one, one day.
In 2002, Jim travelled to Hull to buy his current XR2 from local TV and radio celebrity, Paul Woodford. The car had covered 48,000 miles with some history to back it up. “It looked like a good solid car, until I got beneath the body kit”, Jim states. “It was full of rot, so I decided a rebuild was definitely on the cards”.
Jim enjoyed the car for a few years before deciding to put it through the full restoration in 2014, with his friend and local garage owner Dave Wilkes of B. Wilkes and Son Motor Services in Bridgnorth. Dave restores plenty of classic cars and takes great pride in his work and it’s clear he’s done a first class job here.
Jim sorted out a few engine issues himself first and replaced all the suspension components and bushes. Then stripping as much as he could from the car, before he handed it over to Dave, who did the bodywork over a period of time. “It turned into a big job replacing both doors, rear arches, front wings, front panel, inner wing repairs, floor pan repairs and boot repairs, before stripping the car back and giving it a full respray in Rosso Red, its original colour” Dave proclaims.
Throughout the restoration, Jim travelled the country to collect various parts that were in top condition, to bring the XR2 up to a good standard. Replacement seats were found as the original ones were showing signs of wear.
Jim loves driving the XR2 and uses it as often as he can with daughter Jess. “Jess loves the old car and when ever I’m going out in the XR2 she’s always keen to come with me. She wants a convertible when she’s old enough to drive, so fingers crossed it will be an XR2 Fly!”
The Walton’s XR2 always gets plenty of positive comments, everywhere they go, often bringing back memories for people that previously owned an 80’s Ford.
Jim is now enjoying the XR2 more than ever, and although the car only comes out when the weather is dry, it always takes him right back to having his first XR2 in 1990. “Modern cars are just too refined and quite boring to drive” says Jim, so he always welcomes the chance to get out in the car.
“Due to business commitments this year I didn’t manage to get to many shows, and only took the car to a couple of local car meets” Jim adds. Next year him and Jess plan to do the Transport Show at Weston Park and Classic Ford Show at Santa Pod, plus as many other local meets as possible.
Jim’s looking for another project for him and Dave to get stuck into, and would love a Mk1 XR2, but with high prices being paid for project cars he’s unsure at present.

XROC Magazine XR2 Restoration

XROC Magazine XR2 Restoration

XROC Best Club Stand at Ford Fair 2015

It was finally here. The one event I had been looking forward to the most, especially as I’d missed the previous year due to having the flu. Our alarm clock went off at 3:30am and we quickly got ready and set out to meet some of the other members from the Central Midlands branch at the motorway services. A quick breakfast in the cafe and we were all keen to be on our way. Travelling to Silverstone in convoy always turns the heads of passing drivers, even those in modern ST’s and RS’s.
On arrival, we were quickly directed to the area our club was designated. The organisation seemed to be very efficient. Some members from other branches had already arrived, and the stand was soon filled with 44 of our gleaming XR’s. Everyone gave their cars one last wash and polish and after that we had a wander round the show. I bought a 1:18 scale model of my XR3i for a bargain price, and displayed it on my dashboard with the latest club magazine on view.
The camping chairs came out and we sat with friends and members behind the cars on the stand. We brought plenty of food and drink, but as always, I forgot something… Sun cream!
It was the hottest day of the year so far, which is nothing to complain about, but needless to say I got burnt. Thankfully, Allan and Dorrinda lent me a hat for which I was extremely grateful.
Adrian set up the marquee selling the club merchandise and plenty of potential new members were enticed in and enrolled. It was also nice to meet Graham, the previous owner of my car, who gave me some background history.
There was plenty to see on the track, including some of our members showing that it’s not all about shiny metal. I bet that was great fun!
We always have a friendly competition on the stand where everyone has an opportunity to vote for members cars. Congratulations to Robert Colton and his Mk1 XR2 for winning the Favourite Car Award, and Ian Rowley and his XR2i for winning our Best Presented Car Award.
There were thousands of Fords on display, many of which were within other club stands, so it was a fantastic surprise to hear that we had been chosen for the Best Club Stand Award out of 24 other clubs. It’s great to know the XR range can hold its own against the sea of modern ST’s and the iconic old school Fords.
We owe a huge thank you to all involved with the organisation and hard work that made this such a great day, and of course to everyone who displayed their cars on our stand. Let’s hope we can beat our record of 44 cars next year!

XROC Best Club Stand at Ford Fair 2015

XROC Best Club Stand at Ford Fair 2015

Nut Job – Dave Mckee’s nut & bolt restoration

It was four years ago when this 1982 late carb XR3 was first discovered by a private collector, hidden in a garage where it had been stored since 1993. Dave McKee has spent the last three years chasing the car and was finally able to purchase it this year. The car was originally bought by a lady owner from Polar Ford in Bradford, and has only clocked up 44,000 miles from new. The car has all original panels, including the battery tray, having been Ziebart under-coated from new.
Dave’s first impressions of the car, were that it just needed parts recommissioning, so he planned on giving the car a quick overhaul but that soon escalated to full nut and bolt restoration. Little did he know!
After getting the car back and into the workshop, Dave and his mate started to remove the engine and ancillaries. It was soon dismantled, inspected and rebuilt. The engine was in great condition so a chemical clean and some new paint was all it needed. The cylinder head was cleaned and skimmed, 8 new valves where added, new stem seals, a new cam and tappets were installed.
Everything was put through the blast cabinet prior to receiving paint or powder coating. New zinc plated screws, bolts and brackets were sourced and fitted. The front panel was removed for replacement revealing some corrosion to the inner wing which was also replaced with a genuine one from Dave’s loft.
The interior, glazing and wiring loom were then  removed, and the underside was stripped back to bare metal ready for the car to be painted.
Dave has made real progress on this car, in a relatively short time, and we’ll be revisiting the car in part two once the restoration is complete. He’s always looking for another project, so if you have a Mk3 Escort xr3 or xr3i in your garage needing repairs, get in touch with him. He can be found on the XROC forum.

Dave Mckee's nut & bolt restoration mk3 XR3

XROC Magazine Feature Car – Ian’s XR2i

Ian spent two years looking for a clean, honest
Ford, before finally viewing this very tidy XR2i.
He’d seen plenty of less than ideal cars, XR3i,
XR2, RS1600i, and even took a 450 mile round trip to
Newcastle to view a Mk1 XR2. Then there was a mint
Supersport but the owner changed his mind when
taking it for a test drive.
The XR2i was advertised online, and Ian decided it was
worth a look. As soon as he saw it, he knew it was the
one. It was in perfect condition, with loads of paperwork,
a good history and only 3 owners from new… All from the
same family.
The father of the family bought the car from new for his wife,
who then passed it to their daughter. The final family
member to have the car was the grandson, who then sold the
car to Ian in May 2014.
There was 39,000 miles on the clock, backed up with old
MoT’s, service history and every invoice from the garage that
serviced it for 16 years.
Ian’s insurance company gave an agreed valuation of £4750,
although I’d expect that is a little too low.
In 2013/2014 the car had a light restoration and a full respray at
CRS in Kidderminster.
Since Ian has owned the car, he’s refurbished the alloys, had a
service, and purchased the private registration TOD 518. “I bought
the car as an investment for my son Todd, who will one day inherit
the car, and hopefully continue to take it to shows”, says Ian.
Ian traced all the history of the owners through the garage, Lodge Park
Service Station, who first looked after the car. “I visited him one day
when passing Redditch. He put me in touch with the factory where the
daughter worked and they put me in touch with her through facebook.
We’ve spoken about the car being in their family all its life”.
Future plans for the car are to simply enjoy it, and Ian’s hoping the car
gets an invite to the ultimate show, at the NEC.