The MST Mk1 Is a Ruckus Little Car, Perfect for Weekend Touring, Car Journalist Admits

MST Mk1 12 photos
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/Hagerty
The hardest thing you can ever do is revive a legend. Many people have tried and terribly failed. It’s the same reason, no custom or project car build will ever match manufacturer standards. But one company did it. Secluded in rural North Wales, MST (Motorsports Tools), recreated the MK1 Ford Escort…err, sorry, built an MST Mk1. Hagerty’s Henry Catchpole got the chance to get behind the wheel of this rally recreation for the sole purpose of pushing its limits.
The MST Mk1 might not officially be a Ford Escort, but it glaringly resembles the legendary RAC rally icon. MST’s Mk1 might look, feel or even drive like the legend, but misses a critical piece – a Ford badge. Instead, it’s a modern hand-built recreation with the genetic make-up of the original Mk1 Ford Escort.

There’s just so much to love about this. It’s small. It’s so mechanical, you can feel everything when the diff locks up,” Catchpole said, shifting the gears on the MST Mk1’s H pattern manual gearbox.

The Mk1 Ford Escort is a big deal in Britain. It’s a mechanical legend that put the region on the rally map. Its years of dominance in the championship didn’t just trigger patriotism but immensely contributed to embracing Ford as the go-to car brand.

Now, recreating a car that not only put a country on the map but ensured it stayed there from 1972 to 1980 (back to back) isn’t a joke. It’s a responsibility. Surprisingly, MST, the North Wales-based motor company, has done it. Not once, but twice – and they did a perfect job.

Re-building a rally legend wasn’t the objective when MST started. If anything, they developed their business by selling tools. Slowly, they branched out into selling Ford Escort parts, and as Catchpole puts it, it now forms a majority of their business.

Think about it. You stock all the parts needed to build a complete car. What can stop you from creating one?

An Mk2 with a Duratec engine and a 6-speed Mazda box came first. And now there is this, an Mk1, with a 250 brake horsepower, two-liter BDG running on gen v throttle bodies, and a Life ECU,” Catchpole revealed.

According to Catchpole, the MST Mk1 is a nice cocktail of traditional and modern, something he’s looking forward to doing on his Ford Pinto.

The MST Mk1 doesn’t come cheap. It costs £150,000 ($164,024), thanks to its posh interior, history, and mechanical ingenuity.

We recommend watching the video below for the drive feel experience behind the wheel of the MST Mk1- the induction noise is glorious.

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About the author: Humphrey Bwayo
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Humphrey is a car enthusiast whose love and passion for automobiles extended into collecting, writing, driving, and working on cars. He got his passion for cars from his Dad, who spent thousands of hours working on his old junky 1970 E20 Toyota Corolla. Years later, he would end up doing the same with a series of lemons he’s owned throughout his adult life.
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