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
It’s common knowledge that ‘Fast Fords’ command top dollar. Glance towards 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 purchase 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 that of rust, yet the world of ornaments and stunted-1970s design clashed back in 2015 to create the most expensive Ford Escort we’ve ever seen – and it could be yours courtesy of The Market on May 2.
In a gleaming homage to Ford’s legendary RS1800, The Market is auctioning away an utterly unique scale model for charity. Crafted from gold and silver, and encrusted with diamonds, the jewellery project took 1300 man hours to complete – or 54 solid days of toiling.
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 some four years ago.
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 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 ($90k) for materials have been claimed. That’s without putting a value on the 1300 hours of personal time put into creating the model in the first place.
Examining the scale creation 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.
As a sign of steadfast attention to detail, the mud flaps had to be 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.
Finer details include spinning pulleys on the front of the engine, a moving diamond-encrusted platinum gear stick and glass windows – that involved smashing countless vases to find sections of glass with exactly the right curve.
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.”
"It’s been a hobby that I’ve come back to again and again but three years ago I determined to finish it. I know this car inside out – so there were no plans, I just built it from the ground up piece by piece."
Fancy acquiring Russell's bespoke model? The Mk2 Escort – which cost 90,000 euros (£78,000/$100k) in materials alone, according to industry experts – will be auctioned on the car auction website on May 2, with all profits donated to charity. Get a closer look here.