When news arrived recently up in the news room regarding the latest 2017 Simply Ford rally, all of us here at MotorMartin Towers couldn’t quite believe that it had been roughly a year since we last reported on Beaulieu’s successful Simply Ford Rally from 2016 and here we are one year later already. In an all-time high 1,500 Fords and 2,949 visitors turned out for the biggest Simply Ford yet at Beaulieu, which added an extra 150 cars and 491 visitors to last year’s figures. Impressive indeed I think you’ll have to agree.
Simply Ford have shared with MotorMartin that Fords of every age and variety put on a display stretching across the Beaulieu attraction grounds and event fields on Sunday 30th April.
Fortunately the rain held off as 48 clubs and owners’ groups parked up at their pre-booked club stands, giving members the chance to chat with friends and fellow enthusiasts before checking out the other cars on display. A highlight was the South of England area division of the Mustang Owners Club of Great Britain, which brought a convoy of 40 Mustangs ranging from 1960s examples right up to the latest models.
Every area of the Rally had something for the Ford fan in all of us and yet a very different line-up that scored highly for nostalgia was the Dorset All Ford Types club stand, which featured family Fords from the 1970s to the 2000s including the Orion, Sierra, Fiesta Mk3 and KA.
The diverse line-up included a 1933 Ford Model Y, modern Focuses, Mondeos and Fiestas. Performance models such as the Focus RS and Mondeo ST were well-represented, as well as old-school custom cars including a V8-powered Zephyr Mk2 and a 100E Popular fitted with a powerful motorbike engine. Now that is a dream club with some dream machines on display.
There were plenty of Escort Mk1s to be seen in the model’s 50th anniversary year, from a mint condition 1300E estate in its original bronze colour scheme to highly modified saloons. Show regulars Ford Heritage are to be applauded for getting fully behind the rally especially as they displayed Hannu Mikkola’s incredible 1970 World Cup rally-winning Escort RS1600 and the Escort RS1800 that Björn Waldegard drove to victory on the 1977 RAC Rally.
During the day, visitors cast their votes for their favourite Ford of the show with the People’s Choice Award. Winning an Autoglym car cleaning pack and a special Beaulieu trophy for the most popular car was James Howell from Eastbourne, with his 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 390. Fresh from a seven-year restoration, James’s left-hand-drive Mustang was originally sold new in the United States and still retains most of its original parts. “It’s a powerful car with its big block engine but the three-speed automatic gearbox means that it takes a while to get moving!” Explained James to MotorMartin recently, “It’s a car built for cruising, really. I love it because it’s just awesome.”
Receiving many admiring glances was the Ford GT40 replica, a particular favourite of MotorMartin, owned by runner-up Michael Hayes from Romford, Essex. Finished in Gulf turquoise and orange racing colours, Michael’s GT40 is a stunning recreation of the original 1969 Le Mans-winning cars. “It was an unfinished project when I bought it and I’m still working on the car now to get it just right,” he said.
Other runners-up were Kevin Murphy, with his 1990 Ford Fiesta RS Turbo, and Mark Hudd, with his Ford Escort Mk1 van. Kevin said: “I’ve done quite a bit of work on it, including a lot of engine work and fitting an uprated turbo.” Mark, whose remarkable van is fitted with a 500bhp Cosworth engine and four-wheel-drive, said: “It’s fast and handles really well, making it a great all-round package.”
Beaulieu have confirmed to MotorMartin that Simply Ford is once again one of eight Simply rallies at Beaulieu, including Simply Porsche, Simply VW, Simply Land Rover, Simply Jaguar, Simply Japanese and Simply Smart. The next rally will be Simply Porsche on June 4th. Each event celebrates a particular marque or motoring theme, giving enthusiasts and attraction visitors the chance to see some of their favourite machines close up.
For more information on the 2017 Beaulieu events calendar, visit www.beaulieu.co.uk/events or find us on Twitter @Beaulieu_Hants, on Facebook at /nationalmotormuseum or on Instagram @national_motor_museum, your next motoring day out could be just around the corner.
Where will you go?