Is this jewel-encrusted Ford Escort the most expensive ever?

This 6-inch replica of Ari Vatanen's 1970s Ford Escort RS1800 is crafted from silver, gold, platnium and diamonds - and could just be the most expensive Ford Escort of all time. Here's how to get it

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It’s common knowledge that ‘Fast Fords’ command top dollar. So much as glance at an Escort Cosworth or RS2000 and you’ll be hit with the Ford tax harder than Conor McGregor takes a punch. In truth, it’s been cheaper to invest in jewellery over adrenaline-fuelled Ford classics as of late. That is, until now.

The only pairing most enthusiasts would associate with a Ford body shell is rust, yet the world of ornaments and stunted 1970s design have clashed to create what may just be the most expensive Ford Escort we’ve ever seen – and it could be yours!

In a gleaming homage to Ford’s legendary RS1800, The Market are auctioning away an utterly unique scale model on December 7, crafted from gold and silver, and encrusted with diamonds. The project took 1300 man hours to complete – or 54 solid days of toiling.

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Inspired by Russell Lord’s appreciation for all things motorsport, and crafted from his 45-years’ experience as a diamond-mounter, the model was completed after Lord’s son – Rob – discovered the half-forgotten remains of his father’s 25-year-old project back in 2015.

Rob convinced his father to complete the miniature Ford Escort RS1800, built as a replica of Ari Vatanen’s vehicle campaigned during the late 1970s, measuring just over 6-inches long and weighing just under a kilogram.

Built of gold, silver, platinum, and studded with diamonds, sapphires and rubies, Russell has claimed he is ‘too scared’ to tot up his financial investment in the car, although figures of £65k-£70k have been bandied around. That’s without putting value on the 1300 hours of personal time put into creating the model in the first place.

Examining the model in finer detail, the bodyshell and floorpans are made from solid silver, with estimates that around 75-80% of the vehicle is made of the material. The rear spoiler is gold, as are the bonnet hinges – a true testament to Russell’s abilities, as the operation was so difficult it took four goes to get these aspects right. In layman’s terms, that’s around 80 hours.

Perhaps the most astonishing detail is the radiator grille, made of white gold and finished with a ‘LORD’ decal in lieu of the ‘FORD’ detailing of the original.

Not enough for you? The headlamps are 65-point diamonds, the lower spotlights comprise another pair of 75-point diamonds, whereas the top set are over a Carat each. Front and rear indicators are made up of orange sapphires, with the rear brake lights consisting of rubies and the oval rear-mounted Ford badge is – rather fittingly – a blue sapphire. Just to finish the look off, the reversing light is a diamond, too. Although you’d probably already guessed that…

It doesn’t end there, however. The Minilite wheels were originally silver, but unhappy with the result, Russell crafted new ones out of gold, resulting in golden brake discs and callipers, too. As a sign of steadfast attention to detail, the mud flaps had to created from gold due to material shortages, so to get the colour right Russell embedded more than 630 black diamonds upon them to give the right appearance.

The finished vehicle stands as a tribute to one man’s stubbornness and determination to get things right. As Russell himself says: “I take a pride in my work and I’m determined to do everything I do to the very best of my ability.”

Interested? Bidding starts for The Market's online auction on December 7, with proceeds of this auction will be donated to charities personally chosen by the creator of this masterpiece.

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