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wow...i just looked back on my old escort van thread and noticed its going on over 10 years at this stage!! 


so as its turned into much more than just a simple reshell of my old mk2 van, i figured i may as well start a new thread here..


i know the site doesent see much traffic nowadays, but its still invaluable to have a record of everything thats being done somewhere permanent thats easy to go back and check out whenever its needed for reference etc..


so, to get up to speed on where its at.....i had got my hands on a mk2 van shell needing a lot less work than my old van which was well tired...


i had done a mechanical rebuild on the old van including a izuzu td conversion which worked out well, and i knocked great craic out of the van for a couple of years travelling all over the country, deffo enjoying every mile, until it got simply unsafe due to the shell ending up a tad weak to say the least!!











the original plan when i got the replacement shell was to simply get it up to scratch and fit all the running gear from the old van that i had stripped bare, and sold on the shell (or what was left of it) for cuts...


but in the few years since, these vans have got thin on the ground and values have shot up considerably......so i gradually went away from the plan of building another diesel stormer for tearing about in without a care......and after all, i had my fun in the original van that was bought for very humble money a good few years ago!!


so the end plan was to build a nice modified but subtle van to my own spec, running a modern spec petrol engine rather than the diesel that would probably devalue it long term...


and there is another twist.....i much prefer the look of the mk1 escort vans.....even though mk2 vans are equally rare, ive had a serious hankering for a mk1 van for a long time!


i had a couple of lads trying to buy this van over the last couple of years, which would have been up my alley if i could find a suitable mk1 van shell as a project base to replace it with,,. but i simply couldnt find any for my purpose.  so in the end, i figured id keep this one and create a mk1 van from it!!


as most folks know, when the mk2 escort came out , ford simply facelifted the nose to look like a mk2 and didnt bother with the rest, so from the windscreen scuttle back, mk1 and mk2 vans are more or less the same bar a few small differences...


originally my plan was to fit a mk1 front to this van, and keep it mk2 inside....but the project is now going full circle and getting fully converted to mk1 spec including interior dash and trim etc!


again, with the way prices are going up for these, and the fact it will cost a pretty penny when finished no doubt, its best to have it fully one thing or the other!


over the last few years i have been gathering up the panels needed to complete the van, including full mk1 front etc.....


there will be a bit of modding along with some mixing and matching of parts involved to make it all work, but i guess it wouldnt be one of my vehicles if it was any other way!!


i had made the decision late last year that the body repairs and panel fitting would have to be farmed out, as i simply would never get the time to attempt it, or wouldnt be equipped for a lot of it...


when it came to deciding who i would get to carry out this work, there was only one man for the job as far as i was concerned....


damien mc laughlin, who is based in co donegal,... who,s work is second to none as i can testify, having seen the various build threads and finished cars hes been involved with, agreed to put me on his list and take on the job when he had a slot available....



so after getting the call after the last lockdown, i got the shell blasted in the areas needing attention, and got it up the road to damien.....


the special escort dedicated body jig he has in operation will be a huge help on a job like this where inner wings, and other crucial panels will be  swapped/replaced  etc..












he is already making nice progress on the shell and has sent pics of work completed so far......


i will post them in my next update!





Edited by oldskooler
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so, to bring things up to date where we are with this project.....


although i knew the shell needed attention in some of the common escort areas, having had a bit of a tidy up and cover up in the past, the most important thing as far as i was concerned when buying it, was that the van specific areas, roof gutters/load area/side panels/chassis legs/inner rear panel and back corners were in good order needing little or no repair...so no hunting for almost impossible to find genuine old stock van parts which command silly money if they can be found....










repair panels are readily available for the rest so i figured i had pretty decent base to start from....


and of course as is the case with any of these projects, and on a shell the wrong side of 40 years old, its no suprise to find more issues to sort the deeper you go into it....none of it comes as a shock to me at this stage!!


at first glance it needed both a posts sorting out, sills, rear arches, some floor, lower bulkhead and inner sill repairs


rather than cutting and shutting the mk2 inner wings to fit the mk1 front, it was decided to go the whole hog and fit mk1 inner wings to keep it factory looking.


another reason for going this way was because the mk2 inner wings are like new, so were carefully drilled out for resale, which should go a nice way to paying for the new ones!!



long story short, after taking into account the repairs needed to the lower bulkhead, floor pans, inner sills and seat crossmembers, the decision was made to fit a full new floor pan and lower bulkhead section..


the amount of labour saved doing small localised  repairs will go a long way to buying the new panels and will make for a much cleaner looking result...


its a pretty big metalwork project this one.......


ill let the pics do the talking!!

































Edited by oldskooler
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it proved a wise decision to replace the full floor section as it was discovered that the chassis legs ( despite being in good order ) were almost full of some sort of mud or silt which would not be good long term..


they will be cleaned out, prepped, primed and painted so the cavity wax will do its job properly when the van is finished..












front end looking as bare as it can be!!










included in the large shopping list of panels are a new  magnum 6 clock dash panel and heater bubble replacement....both were trial fitted and look like they will go in sweet!








thats it till next time!!

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heres the latest installment of progress pics...i was lucky to come across a genuine rear panel for the van a year or so ago....its one positive i find with these projects that run on a couple of years and sometimes get side tracked for longer, that sometimes bits turn up when your not even looking for them..


the inside panel was in good order apart from a small repair needed at the bottom, and a slit that was put in the past to no doubt get access to repair a bashed rear panel!












its also good to know that the bumper bracket strengtheners inside the panel are solid and fit for purpose..







there was a bit of light surface rust on the inside of the old stock genuine back panel from sitting for years, so i gave it a light blast and it got a shot of primer and paint ready for re fitting..





the rear corner panels had been patched up before.......not to a great standard, and seeing as no other stone has been left unturned, a pair of new expressed ones will be going in, along with a pair of theyre sills which are very good quality..


a pair of new chassis skid plates are now also fitted...






and the inner chassis rails have been cleaned out and primed.......

there really is great comfort in opening up all closed panels and cavities, and knowing all is tip top before going any further....it deffo gives good peace of mind when a project is competed..







next update to follow soon..

Edited by oldskooler
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the shell is really starting to come together now....fitting the full panel sections has proved to be a great plan....it saves so much work fitting smaller sections and finishing joints etc....


















as a mk2 lower bulkhead panel was fitted, the mk2 pedal box and heater box were trial fitted and look good....the plan is to run the much better mk2 heater box, and mod the mk1 heater controls and cables to work with it ....








till next time!!



Edited by oldskooler
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On 17/11/2020 at 12:16, quickrack said:

It's so cool seeing all the new sheet metal being used. Was that the full slam panel, rad supports etc section I see in the catalogue's?

Sent from my SM-A202F using Tapatalk

yep alan, thats the complete section including box panel..


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the old van shell is really starting to come together now..


heres the latest few progress pics.....


the wings and doors fitted up and checked for gaps etc,.....looking like all will work out fine with a bit of fettling...










theres a bit of a wait for some more of the required panels to arrive due to good old covid....rear corners etc from expressed panels...


so in the meantime, damien is concentrating on a few other repairs that need doing, like the upper bulkhead under the heater bubble....












inner wings are now fully fitted, along with the floor pan and lower bulkhead...


once the sills and rear corners are fitted when they arrive, she will be very close to a complete shell again! 






next update soon hopefully!!

Edited by oldskooler
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On 04/12/2020 at 18:25, notenoughtime said:

I was dying to say something but resisted lol 

lol....theyre the pics im being sent by the man doing the panel work.......have to say his workshop and workmanship are much more up to date!!

id be up for a gander and to take pics if it wasnt for lockdown and the fact the van is 2.5 hours away!!

Edited by oldskooler
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