Designated to defend the interests of Ford Motorsport in the World Rally Championship, the Ford Escort Cosworth Group A made its official debut in 1993, quickly proving to be a worthy descendant of the famous Ford Escort RS1800. It is one of the first "works" examples that MY Gallery offers for sale, the winner of the 1993 Catalunya-Costa Brava rally in the hands of François Delecour.
L421 NHK made its competition debut in November 1993 in the Catalunya-Costa Brava rally, the penultimate round of the world championship. François Delecour won the rally after a dominant performance (15 fastest times and 11 second fastest times in 29 stages!). L421 NHK was built specially for the Spanish event and would not be seen again in the world championship, its only other entry as a works car being the Burana 400 Mänttä Ralli in August 1994 in the hands of Tommi Makinen. The event (which he won!) was used as a preparation for the 1000 Lakes rally a fortnight late where he would sign (at the wheel of L124 PAR this time) his first world championship victory!
However, in the meantime and afterwards, Ford Motorsport extensively used L421 NHK for testing (notably for the 1994 Monte-Carlo rally) after which he car was acquired by Gilles Stiévenart at the beginning of 1995. As a client of the Belgian tuner First Motorsport, the French press owner entrusted them with the maintenance and running of the car, which retained its official Ford Motorsport livery (white with metallic blue side flames) for another year, with only the "Mobil 1" logos having been replaced by "Editions Stevens" or "Radio France Picardie" and "Compte Tours" depending on the event. Stiévenart won the Rallye de Haute-Picardie in February 1995 and 1996, as well as the first edition of the Terre de l'Auxerrois in April 1995. He also entered L421 NHK as course car for the Rallye du Touquet in October 1995, and repeated this in October 1996, this time with a new "Eurosport" livery.
The car was mainly entered with its original British registration, but was sometimes used with the Belgian registration ZCK-100. This is notably the case for its first event in the hands of Gilles Stiévenart (Rallye de Haute Picardie 1995) but also for the Tour Auto de la Réunion 1996, for which it was hired by Tony Ricquebourg who finished 2nd. Satisfied with this one-shot, the 1996 Reunion island champion bought the car to compete in several events on home soil during the following two seasons.
Back in France, L421 NHK passed into the hands of Arnaud Mordacq in 1999. Maintained by "Garage Autosport", repainted in grey, bearing the "Igol" colours and now registered 2500SR62, it enabled the Northerner to make a name for himself by winning several prestigious events from 1999 to 2001 (Rallye du Touquet in 1999, Rallye des Géants and Rallye Charlemagne in 2000, Rallye des Géants, Rallye de Sainte-Baume and the final of the French Rally Cup in Amiens in 2001). The Escort was sold during the 2003 season to another Northern driver, Eric Brunson.
Eric Brunson brought the ex-Delecour Escort Gr.A back to the First Motorsport workshop, with the Belgian tuner carrying out a complete overhaul and an upgrade in preparation for the 2004 season (new engine and 6-speed gearbox in particular). The car is still painted grey, but carrying a new orange and blue livery.
Unfortunately, the Ford now registered 3800YF14 did not enjoy its new colours for long: during his first race at the wheel, Eric Brunson went off the road in the Rallye de la Côte Fleurie. The beautiful Escort needed a new shell.
L421 NHK was rebuilt by First Motorsport during the winter of 2004-2005 using another Ford Motorsport shell, numbered #114, bought from Gilles Stiévenart who in turn had acquired it as part of a large batch of spare parts from Boreham. The car also benefited from being equipped with several evolutions (Reiger dampers, large Brembo brakes in particular).
Two seasons followed, 2005 and 2006, which were simply fantastic for Brunson who, at the wheel of 3800YF14, with its unmistakable livery, scored several wins and podium placings.
After its time with Brunson, the Escort changed hands regularly: Arthur De Sousa drove it successfully in 2007, Philippe Rebière in 2008 and 2009 while Stéphane Palissier used it extensively in 2010 and 2011, mainly in regional events. It should be noted that the car was once again entrusted to the good care of First Motorsport for the technical maintenance.
Frédéric Raynal would write the last lines of the career of the soon to be 20 year old car. Having acquired it in 2012, he competed in a few regional events the following year. In 2014 he competed mainly in the French Rally Championship, giving the Escort multiple top placings!
For 2015, Raynal handed over the Escort to Laurent Cessac who competed in the French Rally Cup in what would be the car's last season of competition.
In 2016, Laurent Cessac entrusted the complete mechanical overhaul (engine, clutch, differentials, gearbox...) of the car to... Fred Raynal, then sold it at the end of the year, to Bruno Guerin. In 2017, the car was sold to a Belgian collector!
Today, L421 NHK is offered to you in a configuration as close as possible to that of 1993, but with all the Group A evolutions which successively equipped it (6-speed gearbox, 18-inch wheels, 3-way Reiger dampers, big 380mm brakes etc...).