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

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