After two seasons of tin-top endeavour, five of the Ford-supplied Escorts were returned to Essex, while AMR hung on to XOO 349F, Gardner’s title-winning machine.
The car now waiting to join the stable of a lucky collector and/or racer has had a fascinating life over the past four decades. It reappeared in national-racing circles in 1972 in the hands of Dan Moore under the Gillian Fortescue-Thomas racing team banner, and sporting Shell livery. A year later it was bought by Alec Poole, winner of the BTCC in a Mini Cooper in 1969. It was dispatched to South America and then changed hands once more – this time to Harry Watkins in 1975. Another long-haul exodus came XOO 347F’s way in 1977 when it went to Trinidad.
The story then jumps 30 years, to 2010, when the car returned to the UK to undergo a full restoration to AMR 1968 spec by John Mitchell. Completed in 2014, the car, fitted with a 240bhp Geoff Richardson FVA engine, made its Goodwood debut at the Festival of Speed that year and is admired wherever it appears.
Serious Blue Oval lovers can expect to part with somewhere in the region of £200,000 - £250,000 for this 1.6-litre, 878kg red-and-gold racing icon, complete with paperwork from Essex County Council confirming its authenticity and Ford Motor Company history.