Ex-Fifth Gear host drives £150K rally-spec recreation of 70s favourite

A well-known automotive YouTuber has showed viewers how to buy a brand-new example of a classic Ford with added power and luxury.

Motoring journalist and former Fifth Gear presenter Jonny Smith runs The Late Brake Show, a YouTube channel in which he road tests some of the latest models and helps to uncover amazing barn-find cars.

In a recent video, Jonny got behind the wheel of a 2022 MST Mk2 Millington Diamond 2.7, a modern recreation of the second-generation Ford Escort, built between 1975 and 1980.

He said: “The whole idea with the MST is this is a brand-new car, you can see it’s a 72 reg, and it’s a Mk2 [Escort] so the shell is all-new. Then it’s up to you, the customer, to say to MST ‘well I want mine with the Group 4 rally style arches’ or ‘I don’t, I want mine with the regular-style arches, and I want 15-inch wheels’, or ‘I don’t, I want one with 13s’.

“And this particular customer said, ‘I want this to be a road car, so nice plush interior, no roll-cage, and I want the most expensive, extreme engine and gearbox combination’.”

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In the video, Jonny shows viewers around a replica of the Ford Escort Mk2, a popular family saloon that was last mass-produced in 1980.

Buyers can customise many elements of their car, including the colour, the wheel size and design, interior, engine, and transmission.

Unfortunately, however, Jonny added that producing a customised recreation of a 1970s car does come at a cost, with the model tested in the video retailing for £150,000.

Nevertheless, some elements of this modern version of the classic Ford are up to the minute, with Jonny noting that the engine is significantly more powerful than most 1970s family saloons.

He continued: “This is what it’s all about in this instance, this engine is something like £30,000’s worth. If you’re interested in Escorts and classic rallying, you’ll know as soon as you see this camshaft-cover [that says] ‘Millington Diamond’, you know it’s a serious powertrain.

“So, it’s a four-cylinder, fuel-injected 2.7 twin-cam here, and it’s linked to, in this instance, a sequential Tractive gearbox, so two pretty hardcore things for a road car with no traction control. This is as good as it gets.”

Taking to a windy country lane, Jonny added that wet weather prevented him from pushing the MST Mk2 to its limits, however he enjoyed the classic driving style it has.

He added: “The Millington [engine] is known for its torque, big, big, big swells of torque. And I don’t even need a quarter of it today, I suspect. The AP brakes are really urgent which is good. I’m not revving it really beyond 5,500rpm because, although these Millington motors will do 9,000, it’s such a light car.

“It’s so good to be back in a narrow-bodied, classic-proportioned car that’s just built to really move and react how you want it to. There’s no traction control, although it is optional, the software allows for it. This has no launch control or traction control, it’s raw.”

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