Ken Block and the Ford Escort make strange bedfellows. While the former is a rally champion who pilots his trademark Subaru WRX, the latter is an economy car with very little performance car potential. At least here in the U.S. But as is usually the case, Ford Europe got some of the coolest small rear-wheel drive cars on the planet, while America got the front-drive left overs.

This video found on Edmunds Inside Line shows Ken Block and fellow rally driver Chris Atkinson behind the wheel of a vintage Escort Mk II rally cars.

Ken Block is known for many things in the rally world, most recently his appearance on Top Gear and his choreographed Gymkahana I and Gymkahana II videos. All of those videos feature him in his Subaru WRX. But in a throwback to the time before time i.e. the 1970’s, Block is shown with Atkinson piloting an old Escort Mk II. This is the European version of the Escort, not to be confused with anything ever sold in the U.S. (though Mexico got this exact car; why, I’m not sure).

Block appears to be having a blast at the helm of the Escort, and even remarks “How much fun is this thing?” as he flies through the empty Team O’Neal Rally school. And why not? These old Escorts were heavily modified, with a 5.37:1 rear drive axle, 4-into-1 high torque exhaust manifolds, and chassis mounted engines that allowed the motor to be mounted lower and further back for better weight balance. These Escorts helped Ford to dominate the World Rally Championship throughout the 80’s, nabbing the manufacturers title in ’79, a feat they would not repeat until 2006. Makes one wonder where to get a hold of an old Euro Escort…

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