Dan & Steve Minton – keeping a racing heirloom on track
“It broke my heart to let it go,” says Steve Minton, nodding at a Mk2 Ford Escort that will be familiar to anybody who watched racing during the 1980s.
Back then, Steve and brother Dale had great success in Special Saloons and, subsequently, Thundersaloons. When older cars were phased out of the latter early in the ’90s, the Escort was stripped down and put into storage as a rolling chassis prior to being sold in 1998.
And there the story might have ended, until Steve’s son Dan started doing some research. “In about 2004 I began looking around the internet,” he says. “There were all sorts of nostalgia racing threads. It wasn’t a serious mission to find it, just casual curiosity. And then in 2008 we established that it was still around, in Hastings.”
Steve: “I spent a couple of hours trying to persuade the owner to sell, over a cuppa and a bacon sandwich, but he had plans to turn it into a track-day car. He then found out that he was going to become a father, so had to divert resources elsewhere, and we did a deal to buy it back.”
The subsequent rebuild took longer than anticipated, but in spring 2016 the car appeared at the Classic Sports Car Club’s Silverstone meeting, in period navy-and-white livery but with a blunt Escort snout replacing the original RS2000 ‘droop-snoot’. Steve, 68, and Dan, 41, have since shared it in Special Saloon events and plan to continue.
“I’m glad it’s with the family once more,” says Steve. “As far I’m concerned it will never be for sale again.”