OK so I haven't been working on my project car much in the past few months since first posting about it here. But having Dave Ko go through his work with the Evo I naturally thought of my project languishing. While Dave Ko is showing what you can do with one of today's most popular cars to tinker with, I'm working with a used, inexpensive economy based car that does have some rally heritage. And that's my end goal, to get this thing on a track and enter some SCCA events.

One major factor for me starting this project is that I finally paid the car off (goodbye Ford Credit) and now feel a new ownership of the Escort. I also never really worry about reliable transportation with regular test cars in the Autoblog ?fleet,? so I won?t be restricted in making any changes from ripping out the passenger seat, rear seats, installing a roll bar etc.

Trunk Full of PartsBut to start we have much humbler beginnings. I?ve bought a few parts sporadically with eBay funds including a new front strut brace, larger rear sway bar (19mm instead of the stock 13 mm) and new Energy Suspension engine mounts and brackets for the rear sway bar. Total cost for these plus some new Sylvania replacement bulbs for routine maintenance was $200. Next I?ll be getting some new tires since my current set shouldn?t even be in use by the first snowfall. I?ve narrowed it down from the last time I asked to the Kumho Ecsta ASX and Bridgestone Potenza G009. These are basically to get me through the winter months and improve handling over the stock tires and wheels. I have a set of wheels from the S/R edition of the ZX2 waiting to be put back on as well.

At this point I?ll update everyone when the current modifications are complete and ask what readers would suggest for the next step. I?m guessing suspension and brakes come to mind.

Almost forgot: You might notice some front fender damage in the image above. This is not from my reckless driving. I?ve been hit now on both fenders while having the car parked on the street. That?s not the odd part. The thing is no other cars on my street get hit like this and every ZX2 I see in Chicago has fender damage almost identical to mine. Can anyone post a theory? Also will this bother the car in SCCA events? I can?t see why it would hamper how the car drives in any way? It?s just minor dents and paint scratches. Is it worth fixing immediately?

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