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

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

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.