More than 1700 Fords head to Beaulieu for Simply Ford

Record-breaking show at the National Motor Museum celebrates 50 years of the Escort and turns up everything from Model T hot rods to a 1980s Sierra Ghia

A record-breaking 1787 Fords turned up to the Simply Ford show on Sunday May 6 at the National Motor Museum in the UK's New Forest – smashing last year's total of 1500 cars.

The centrepiece of the show was a 50th anniversary line-up of Ford Escorts, with each of the Escort’s six generations represented by everyday cars, competition cars and special editions.

Visitors were able to vote for their favourite Ford of the show in the People’s Choice Award, with first prize awarded to the 1979 Ford Escort RS2000 of Martin and Rita Lewis, from Witney in Oxfordshire.

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The RS2000 had been built by Martin over 13 years, combining period-correct competition livery with a high-spec turbocharged Cosworth engine under the bonnet. Receiving the trophy and Autoglym prize from Beaulieu managing director Russell Bowman, Martin said: 'I always wanted to build this car, it’s a lifelong ambition fulfilled. I can’t believe that I won this award, I’m really made up!'

The runner-up was Mark Hudd from Wiltshire for his Escort Mk1 van. 'Underneath, it has full four-wheel-drive Cosworth running gear and it develops about 500bhp,' explained Mark.

His fellow runner-up was Paul Ainsworth for his Mustang Shelby GT50, which he's owned since 2006, when he bought it in his native Canada. 'I took the car with me when I moved to Arizona, followed by a move to the UK. So now the car can be rained on!' laughed Paul when presented with his Autoglym prize.

Many examples of the Focus, Mondeo and Fiesta were also well represented, many highly modified. There were also many packed club stands, with strong showings from ST220 Enthusiasts, the Dorset RS Owners Club, Midlands ST Owners Club, Granada Nutz and the Ford Society.

Other highlights included a Cortina Lotus Mk2 that was originally used as a police car on the Isle of Wight, two Model T-based V8 hot rods, a 1980s Ford Sierra Ghia and a third-generation American Ford Thunderbird. Ford dealer Hendy Ford showed a selection of new Focus and Mustang performance models.

Simply Ford is part of Beaulieu’s range of Simply rallies. Next up is Simply Porsche on June 3, Simply VW on June 16, Simply Land Rover on June 24, Simply Jaguar on July 8, Simply Japanese on July 29 and Simply Smart on November 11. To buy advance tickets online or for more details, visit the Beaulieu website.

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