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1971 JRT Ford Escort RS1600 Group 2 FIA race car 'Lairy Canary'

Posted in Competition cars


This Aveley-built, 1971 RS1600 is undoubtedly one of the best FIA Mk1, Group 2 Escorts in Europe with an HTP valid until 2028. Totally reliable, extremely competitive - a stunning, turn-key package, built by the Jordan Racing Team in 2021 - build number 31.

Eligible Organisers & series

  • HSCC - Touring Car Legends
  • Motor Racing Legends - HTCC
  • Peter Auto - Heritage Touring Cup

Technical info

Engine 2-litre BDG from Jondel Race Engines
Transmission ZF five-speed

Full description

To be offered by Iconic Auctioneers on Friday 23rd February at the Race Retro Sale. 

Guide Price: £100,000 - £120,000

This car is an original, Aveley-built, Ford Escort RS1600 sourced by the late Mike Bell in Belgium in 2011 as an original road car and which he subsequently converted to a full-spec, Group 2 race car. Mike was an experienced and much liked circuit racer who wanted to build a special race car finished in the colours of his beloved Norwich FC but to a genuine period Zakspeed design. This car eventually became known as "The Lairy Canary” and was much admired from the start. He ran it very successfully in FIA Saloon Car races all over Europe until his sad passing.

It was subsequently acquired by Iconic Auctioneers Chairman, Nick Whale, during 'lock-down' in 2020, and immediately entrusted to the renowned, Midlands-based, Jordan Racing Team for a professional rebuild. Mike and his team stripped the car completely and invested many hours of detailed work in the bodyshell, including seam-welding and lightening and strengthening where required. A welded-in, FIA-specification, roll-cage was fitted and all the running gear components, including the brakes, suspension and drive train, were either rebuilt or replaced. The engine/gearbox were sold and a new, ultimate-spec, 2-litre BDG was ordered from Jondel Race Engines and mated to a new ZF five-speed gearbox. The car was completely repainted by the long-established competition car painting specialists, Normandale in Daventry. When finished, the car was set-up, driven and tested by both Mike and Andrew Jordan and then raced successfully by Nick and Harry Whale in the Motor Racing Legends series in 2021 and 2022 with class wins and top-ten finishes every time out.

The car also competed in the 2023 Mallorca Rally, finishing 1st in class and 5th overall and is road registered with all the necessary parts to run highly competitively in both races and rallies to FIA Group 2 Saloon spec. The FIA HTP paperwork was renewed when JRT rebuilt the car and is valid until 2028.

After the Mallorca event, the engine was sent for a complete refresh, as was the gearbox, and a new clutch was fitted at the same time. Its next outing was the 2023 Silverstone Classic driven by Touring Car legend, Matt Neal, partnered by Harry Whale, once again achieving a class win and a very strong 5th overall in an ultra competitive FIA Saloon grid with Motor Racing Legends. The car has not been used since and is sold as it finished, with a fresh engine and gearbox and an undamaged racing history. It is both demonstrably reliable and extremely competitive with a genuine reason for sale. The Lairy Canary is undoubtedly one of the best Mk1, Group 2 Escorts in Europe and is sold with spares and 12 wheels as a full turn-key package with help and guidance if required.

Not the cheapest, but the best never is. All inspections welcomed and encouraged, please call Nick or Harry for further details on both the car and spares package.


  • FIA
  • Historic
  • Race Ready
  • Ford

Iconic Auctioneers

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We have successfully sold two race cars since listing them on Motorsport Showroom.

Paul Woolmer, Woolmer Classic Engineering

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