The Benchmark Escort Mk-I Concept is a modern interpretation of the original Ford Escort model, created with a retro-styling design language. The author is Rajesh Kutty, an MA Automotive Design from Coventry University.
elow we report Rajesh Kutty‘s integral description of the project, including his considerations about the recent retro-design trends.
Recently, we have witnessed a resurgence of retro-styled versions of the Mustang, the Challenger, and the Camaro to quote but a handful of cars that have been styled in this manner, with design cues taken from their elder sisters from the past.
These cars provoke our perceptions of the original’s form and how we link it to the derivatives.
At times there may only be a thin line of difference between the past and the present, particularly in the case of the Miura or the Ford GT (GT40), which may blot the difference we perceive and hence be inclined to think them as copies of the original.
The recollection of one’s younger glorious days, arousing the emotion and admiration one had for the cars of the past is what these ‘retro-styled’ cars seek to achieve.
Ford being proud of their diverse automotive heritage kicked off this recent trend of design direction known as “The Living Legends”, featuring such cars as the Forty-Nine, GT40, Thunderbird and of course, the Mustang. Each of these cars, are of course, of American origin.
The concept shown here is what could come out from “The Living Legends” stable on the other side of the Atlantic.
About the original Ford Escort
The Ford Escort, a small family car, originated in 1968 and evolved from what was the Ford Anglia and is in spirit, today the Focus.
The Mk-I adorned typical cues of that era, such as the ‘Coke Bottle’ waistline and the ‘dog bone’ shaped front grille and headlamps.
The Mark-I Escort was attributed to making Ford into the unbeatable rally “force” of the early 70s.
Due to its seemingly endless ability to be tuned and tailored to its owners needs, it was very popular amongst the “petrol heads” in Britain at that time.
One such “factory-equipped” version was the Escort Mexico with a 1.6 litre Kent engine.
Ford Escort concept sketch by Rajesh KuttyThis came as an outcome of the Escort’s best achievement at that time, the 1970 London to Mexico World cup rally.
Even today, in Britain there is still a huge fan base and cult following for the original Mk-I Escort.
Benchmark Escort Mk I: Escort revisited
The car depicted here is more faithful in it’s styling cues to the rally going original than its road going sibling, as can be seen from the bubble wheel arches, the wheels, the paintwork, netted headrests of the ‘Mexico’ and the number of lamps that would show the way forward.
Ford Escort concept by Rajesh KuttyThe lower pair of fog lamps remain faithful to the car’s predecessor and are directed outwards as was typical of the rally cars at that time.
The front grille takes inspiration from the three bar grille that its American cousins display and diverge outwards to end up as seats for LEDs of the headlamp.
During the era when the Escort was born, Ford surprisingly did not embellish its face with its long-standing logo, the blue oval.
Instead, it had F-O-R-D incorporated into its bonnet and boot lid, which has been patronized in this concept as well. Though there is evidence of its contemporary blue oval by having it ornamented on the 20” alloy wheels.
One may argue crafting a retro-styled, indisputably handsome car that is evocative, comes at the cost of only so much innovation.
Arguably a differed scale and cleaned up form lacks the “Power” and emotive draw of the original match. However it’s only fair to make use of a rich heritage, in order to explore potential cues for the next in the product portfolio. At least it would make up for those of us who never had the opportunity to be in the era when ‘these’ beautiful cars did exist.
This “Revisited” Mk-I escort has been originated, styled, designed and modelled in both CAD and 3-Dimensional form in the U.K. at Benchmark Modelmaking Ltd.
The scale model has been completed to include “tactile” realisation of all details right through to the interior to fully convey the design language behind this vision. It has yet to be displayed to the public.
About the Designer
Rajesh Kutty is an MA Automotive Design from Coventry University (2004).
He currently works at Benchmark Modelmaking, UK. He is involved in designing and modeling trains, aircrafts, and cars. He has undergone Studiotools training at IED, Turin (Italy) while working there for a short stint prior to his current job.
At Coventry University he was the winner of ‘The best Model of the Show’, and runner up for ‘Best Concept Design’ at the Graduate show held at the British Transport Museum, Coventry in 2004.