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Build Your Own Cosworth

Can’t afford an Escort Cosworth? Do what Adam Faver did and build your own one ... from scratch!

Escort Cosworth
500bhp, rear-wheel drive and a sequential 'box. Start getting excited!

Prices of Escort Cosworths have gone crazier than a nun in a dildo factory. Even front-wheel drive replicas are being advertised for more money than you could buy a genuine one for a few years back. And if you do want the real deal, well, say goodbye to £50k+. It’s depressing… unless you either own one already, have recently won the lottery or, like Adam Faver, you’re a Maxer with a plan.

Like many of us, Adam grew up lusting after an Escort Cosworth. Not the low mileage, standard Escort Cosworths that give wood to soul-less “enthusiasts”. You know, the ones that rub their hands while figuring out how much their investment could go up if they put it in a cocoon and never drive it. No, the sort of highly tuned, flame-spitting Cosworth’s that would rip past you at night and own the car park when they turn up to a cruise. The sort you’d see in Max Power back in the 90s. And you don’t go spending £50k+ on one of these artificially inflated ‘investment’ Cosworths if you’re going to throw half of it in the parts bin. That would be as financially suicidal as a person spending over twenty grand on a rusty five grand EP3 Civic Type R. Isn’t that right, Dan?

So, Adam bought an Escort Cosworth shell. At £5k it probably already had some Cosworth tax on it considering it was literally a shell – no glass, no bodykit, no suspension, no interior, no wheels. Just a shell. But, as we all know, a Maxer looks at a car shell in the same way an ugly chick looks at the beauty salon's menu... it’s all about potential. The only difference here is the end result is a far more satisfying ride.

Fast forward through a serious amount of hard work, help from best mate Dean, eBay searching, buying parts, selling parts, grazing knuckles and getting Christmas card friendly with Mike at MAS Tuning, and the result of that vision is what you see here: a 500bhp Imperial Blue rear wheel drive beauty.

Escort Cosworth from above
And lo! On the eighth day he looked down and said "Holy sh!t, I've nailed it!"


You may have noticed the Q-plate registration. Q-plates were never issued like other plates, but were given to kit cars, cars modified beyond recognition, ex Ministry of Defence vehicles (where their history could be classified), self-imported vehicles and cars with no VIN number. Basically, cars where the age or identity is in doubt. Often stolen cars that were recovered got the Q-plate treatment. And while you’d think the modifications and fact it was built from a shell justifies the Q-plate, it turns out the original vehicle was stolen and recovered in the 90s... like most of them were. It was Mallard Green back then too. While Q-plate cars are never worth as much as a non-Q-plate, and people generally avoided them more than Dan avoids a woman's (man's) front bottom, that doesn’t really matter when you’re modifying to these levels. In fact, it makes it a bit cooler because you know there's a good story behind it.

Q-plate Escort Cosworth
Not a lot of standard Cosworth from this angle!


So, buying a Q-plate shell and building it up has got to be the cost-effective approach, right? If you’re Adam’s wife reading this, then yes, it’s cheap as chips (you don’t need to read any further). The truth of the matter is that a 500bhp Cosworth is never going to be cheap, especially when you look at some of the juicy parts involved (see spec below!). As Adam explains in the video further down, even innocuous parts can cost small fortunes as they’re getting so rare and nobody wants to part with them. Still, when you factor in that he didn’t have to buy an actual car and didn’t have to replace anything he already had – plus he could spec it up with some bargain bits like the second hand Cobra Daytona seats - then it was basically a steal. You also don't have to find the full cost of the car at once. It's like the ultimate Maxers finance deal... but without interest!


While the Sierra Cosworth was mainly available in rear-wheel drive form (aside from the Sapphire 4X4) all Escort Cosworths came with a rally-ready 4x4 set-up. Which is great if you want spectacular launches, added grip and a bit of extra security. But as we all know, nothing beats being able to steer from the rear when it comes to fun. That’s half the reason Adam went against Escort Cosworth purity for original Sierra spec instead. He's even painted the rocker cover red as opposed to the blue of Escorts to help people guess. The other reason to go RWD is it's also a fair bit cheaper when you’re trying to put 500bhp down, as you don’t have to spend money on upgrading front diffs and transfer boxes. Smart.

Escort Cosworth RWD
Sat in the passenger seat, you can almost hear Dan's screams from here!


Sequential gearboxes are cool. They’re race car cool. But there’s a few good reasons to have one in a highly tuned car. Firstly, you change gears quicker as you don’t waste time searching around the H-pattern for the next gear, you only need the clutch in first gear and ultimately you just don’t lose any speed during gear changes. And secondly, you can’t shift from fourth to first (or similar), you can only shift one gear up or one gear down at a time. So, the chances of blowing up your expensive engine with a duff gear change are eliminated. Also, they’re cool.

Flat Eric and sequential gearbox
After his music career, Flat Eric made an unsuccessful foray into pole dancing


Big power is pretty easy nowadays. Buy an M4 and get it remapped and you’re up to 500bhp without breaking a sweat. And it’ll be fast. But BMW know most people are idiots so there’s plenty of driver assistance available to help you stay on the road. Adam has his 500bhp in a different spec though; man spec. It’s noisy inside, the engine coupled to the clunks and screams of the gearbox are, according to Dan, ‘orchestral’. Every upshift has you jolting backwards as things out of the side windows start to blur. It’s exactly how you’d want a Cosworth to be. It’s enjoyable, it’s grin-inducing, but most surprisingly of all it feels solid in a way a 500bhp 25-year old car probably shouldn’t. It might leave you a bit deaf, but for this lovely shove of Cosworth power it's a small price to pay.

If you’ve ever dreamt of owning a Cossie but worried that it would be a let down compared to modern cars, well, just tune it like this. “I knew I liked Escort Cosworths, and I knew what I wanted, but I kind of left if to Mike at MAS Tuning to spec it,” says Adam. It's a blooming good advert for Mike's skills too.

For all the intriguing history, smart thinking and awesome spec of this car though, the best thing about it is it has an owner who actually uses it. Adam's a top Notherner, an old school Maxer and someone who embodies what the Maxing spirit is all about. He doesn't give a hoot about 'OEM', he'll roll his sleeves up and get stuck in and he'll make damn sure he enjoys the fruits of his labours. Car shows, track days, trips to the 'Ring... or literally any excuse to burn a few litres of super unleaded giving unsuspecting passengers a scare, he uses this Escort exactly how it should be used. If you see him at a show next year (TRS22!) you have full permission to pat him on the back and buy him a #carshowbeer.

In the meantime, grab yourself a cold one, sit back and enjoy the video below, or scroll through more images in the gallery at the bottom of the page.


NAME: Adam Faver

AGE: 34

JOB: Floors

You look happy!

If you had tut Cossie you'd be reet happy too

You're from Barnsley, right?

Eey by gum, y'right. Hold up lad, are ye meakin' up one of them 'driver spec' interviews and teakin' piss out me accent?

No way. No... I would never do that!


ENGINE: 2-litre Coswoth YB engine • 200 Block • Nikasil liners • 10 Long studded • Forged pistons • Forged long rods • WRC Spray jets • Windage tray • big winged baffled sump • uprated head gasket • touring car spec cylinder head • Newman valve springs • Newman cams • Quaife pulleys • GTX3071R turbo • MAS turbo damper • 2wd exhaust manifold • MAS exhaust system • uprated breather system • twin fuel pump with Swirl pot • WON nitrous system • GrpA air filter • Pro Alloy intercooler • Direnza radiator • SPAL twin fan • Roose hose kit • fuel lab pressure regulator • Gizmo boost controller • AS inlet manifold • Siemens injectors • Alloy fuel rail TRANSMISSION: Elite Evo2 6 speed sequential gearbox SUSPENSION: Gaz coilovers • 6 degree rear beam • fully polybushed

BRAKES: 6 pot AP racing front calipers, 362mm discs and Ferodo DS2500 pads • 4 pot AP racing rear calipers with 330mm discs and MAS Tuning Nrembo handbrake caliper conversion

WHEELS & TYRES: 18in Compomotive TH2-1881 alloys

EXTERIOR: WRC rear spoiler • Nomad rear lights • carbon bonnet vents • carbon badge less grille • Morette twin headlights • colour coded sidelights • smoked indicators • smoked side repeaters • RS500 fog light grilles • carbon front spoiler INTERIOR: OMP steering wheel • MAS tuning gear knob • carbon fibre banana pod • Cobra Daytona bucket seats • stack AFR and AEM speedo in A pillar pod • MAS tuning nitrous control panel • SECS engine monitor • Flat Eric

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