A record 1,350 Fords gathered in the grounds of Beaulieu for the seventh popular Simply Ford rally. With Bank Holiday weekend sunshine and an impressive selection of Fords of all ages, models, shapes and size on show, the event was every car enthusiasts’ dream.
Ranging from classic family saloons and modern hot hatches, to vans, hot-rods, restoration projects and more, the incredible display of Fords celebrated many of the Fords which were once common and are now fondly remembered.
Fords which have been lovingly modified by enthusiasts represented a large part of the cars on show, ranging from a Model A hot rod and a Maserati V8-engined Popular 103E, to a turbocharged 1980s Escort van and a Fiesta fitted with a Kawasaki motorcycle engine in place of its rear seat.
Lovers of highly original machines were also spoilt for choice. An Escort Mk1 Nimbus camper van, still used for camping by the same family which bought it as new, was an unusual sight. While equally rare was a 1962 Ford Anglia Friary estate, which is one of only three examples known to exist in the UK.
Other pristine classics on show ranged from Mustangs and Zodiacs to Capris and Cortinas, while a cosmetically-challenged Granada Dorchester limousine may have been a work in progress for its owner, but still turned many heads.
American Fords also wowed the crowds. No less than three 1960s Ford Galaxies, with huge bodywork and powerful V8 engines, were on display, while a 1972 Ford Econoline van from the States contrasted with the British Transits, including a period-perfect Mk2 Transit restored as a Gulf racing team support vehicle.
Clubs were at the heart of the event, with the 29 owners’ groups providing a large proportion of the cars on show. Returning for 2016, the Electric Orange ST Owners’ Group put on an astonishing display with no less than 31 of its members’ brightly coloured Focuses, creating a sea of eye-searing orange paint!
The rarely seen Ford Probe was celebrated on the UK Ford Probe Owners’ Club stand, with no less than 12 examples on display in a variety of factory colours, while the Focus ST170 Owners’ Club and Focus Enthusiasts group together put on a strong showing of the popular first-generation Focus. Other clubs, including the Ford Owners’ Club, the Ford Mondeo Mk 2 club and the Dorset All Ford Types clubs also impressed visitors with displays of members’ cars.
Show regulars Ford Heritage brought along stunning original examples of the Mustang and the Focus RS, along with the latest versions of these respected performance models. Dealer Hendy Ford displayed brand new Mustangs to buy, while the South Hants Model Auto Club showcased a range of miniature Fords.
Throughout the day, rally participants and Beaulieu visitors voted for their favourite car from the wide variety on show in the People’s Choice Award. Glyn Baker’s stunning 1973 Ford Escort Mk1 RS2000 was the overall winner, having been restored by Glyn using a Cosworth engine and a selection of high performance components.
“My modifications mean that it is more of a modern car to drive than a 1973 RS2000, although on the road it does shake your fillings,” said Glyn, who was presented with a commemorative Beaulieu trophy and a special Autoglym prize by Mark Docherty, Autoglym’s PR & Events Manager.
The People’s Choice Award runners-up were Dave George, with his vivid green Focus RS, and Chris Arkell, who had rebuilt his 1970 Mustang Cobra Jet with skills he had learnt from watching Youtube videos. Both were presented with Autoglym prizes.
Simply Ford is part of Beaulieu’s 2016 line-up of Simply rallies, which includes Simply Japanese, Simply Classics & Sports Car and Simply Jaguar. For the full list of Simply rallies and other Beaulieu events see www.beaulieu.co.uk/events or follow @Beaulieu_Hants on Twitter.