Ford - Escort RS1600 Cirrus Concept
A new and important series of competitions in Car design was conceived in 1969 when discussions first took place between IBCAM and the Editor of The Daily Telegraph Magazine, Mr John Anstey.
The idea developed into the British Styling Competition. The purpose of the Competition, to be organised by the Institute with the full backing of The Daily Telegraph Magazine, was to promote the widest recognition of British car body design, a field dominated in recent years by Italian stylists.
By October, 1970, plans were finalised for the first British Styling Competition, with co-operation from some of the major car producers in Britain, including Ford, British Leyland and Chrysler.
The first competition called for designs of a 2-door GT car based on Ford "Escort” mechanical units.
Entries were judged by a distinguished panel of experts comprising Sir William Lyons, Eric Archer, David Baches, Arthur Ballard, Tom Penny - all notable figures in the British Motor Industry-and A. de Tomaso, the Italian designer.
The Winner was Michael Moore of Chrysler UK, whose entry was submitted under the nom-de-plume "Cirrus”. The winning designs were displayed at the 1971 Earls Court Motor Show, and the designers received their awards from Sir Barnes Wallis, a dominant figure in British aircraft invention and design.
The most important prize of all, however, could not be presented on the day. This was the actual, roadworthy, car built to the winning design.
This car, still under the name of "Cirrus”, is on display at the IBCAM Daily Telegraph Magazine stand at Earls Court Motor Show this year. Later it will become the property of Michael Moore, the winner.
Special credit must go to those organisations and people without whom "Cirrus” would never have appeared at Earls Court.
The Daily Telegraph Magazine, and particularly its Editor, John Anstey, who originally conceived the British Styling Competition in its present form, have been most generous in the time and money they have devoted to the project; prominent IBCAM members prepared the details of the Competitions and assisted in the judging; the Ford Motor Co. provided, free of charge, the Escort RS 1600 on which "Cirrus” was based; the bodybuilders, Woodall Nicholson Ltd of Halifax, worked almost day and night to produce the car in time; and Mr G. F. Mosely, a member of IBCAM with wide coachbuilding experience, co-ordinated the building project between the bodybuilders, the designer and the many suppliers of materials and parts.
The second Competition has now been held and the prize winning designs for a family saloon, based on Austin Maxi mechanical units, are on display at this year’s Motor Show. The winning car in this Competition will also be built and exhibited and, in due course, will become the property of the winning designer.
Built on a Ford Escort underframe, fitted with RS.1600 power and mechanical units, Cirrus is an entirely handmade body in the GT concept.
The low profile design has a"Kamm” tail, tapering towards the front, giving a wedge aspect from a three quarter rear view.
The simple but purposeful styling is a combination of semi-razor lines and round corners, with deep eyebrows over the wheels and ventilation slots above the rear wings.
The additional length and lower roof line produce an attractive side elevation view as well as establishing a lower centre of gravity to give good handling and roadworthy properties.
The two entrance doors have framed, exceptionally curved windows, well "tumbled home”, making a narrow width roof, and the framed fastback style backlight is hinged at its forward end to give access to the rear luggage compartment.
A one-piece front bumper, angled at both ends, protects both headlamps and indicators. Above the bumper is a portion of the air intake, flanked on either side by the combined head and side lamps, which are covered by transparent panels shaped to follow the lines of the body. Below the bumper is the other portion of the air intake, incorporating the number plate mounting. At either side of the intake are fitted the indicator lamps.
The low front end and steeply sloping bonnet and windscreen give both an attractive appearance and good visibility At the rear, the bumper is in two sections, with the number plate fitted between them. Above the bumper, the stop/tail, reflex, fog warning light, and reverse lights are incorporated in a horizontal, full-width, lighting unit. The indicator lights conform to the panel profile at the junction of the wings and rear panel.
The body is of all steel construction with slim pillars giving maximum visibility, consistent with strength and safety, and with fixed, curved quarterlight glasses. The body is protected against corrosion, undersealed and finished, after priming and filling, in metallic Sparkle Green paint.
Inside the car the contoured front seats are trimmed in corded cloth with PVC surround on polyurethane foam fillings and lattice diaphragms. They have built-in head restraints and matched ventilation slots to both cushion and squab. The squab is adjustable for rake, and hinges forward for access to the rear seats.
The rear seat is similarly trimmed, also with ventilation slots, and the upper part of the squab is arranged to fold forward, giving additional luggage space.
A platform on each door houses the door pull and controls for the electric operation of the door windows, while the rear quarter wheel arch trim houses the inertia reel for the front seat belts.
The floor and boot are fully carpeted, with access to the spare wheel beneath the boot floor, and through ventilation is provided at the rear end.