Performance Upgrades for the Ford Escort GTby William Zane
The Ford Escort GT was made from 1991 to 1996 and was the high-performance addition to the compact Escort family of cars. The GT featured a 127-horsepower, four-cylinder Mazda engine, sporty bodywork and chassis refinements. Today, the Escort GT has become a relatively rare car that takes well to performance modifications to build on an already impressive platform.
Performance Wheels and Tires
One modification that the GT benefits from is the addition of larger wheels and performance tires. Lighter wheels reduce the car’s unsprung weight (the weight that the suspension carries around), which makes it feel more responsive in cornering. Performance tires made of softer rubber will heat up quickly and provide more grip during cornering. Check an online source (see Resources 1) or local auto parts store for wheels and tires that fit the Escort GT.
Suspension and Brake Upgrades
To enhance a stock Escort GT’s cornering ability, replace stock springs with stiffer, lower springs from a company such as Eibach (see Resources 2). These lower the car’s center of gravity and reduce body roll. Pair the springs with a set of performance Koni or KYB shock absorbers. Also, install a set of cross-drilled brake rotors and performance pads for better stopping power. Install braided steel brake lines for a firmer pedal feel that allow the brakes to be modulated more precisely. These items are available from most auto parts stores.
Don't neglect the engine (see Resources 3). Start with a cold air intake for an increase in power. By delivering dense, cold air to the engine, a cold air intake allows the motor to run more efficiently and make more horsepower. On the exhaust end, replace the restrictive stock exhaust with a larger-diameter exhaust system and tubular headers to make more power. You can also upgrade the ignition system with a high-performance coil, better spark plugs and larger spark plug wires. For the ultimate in performance, install a supercharger or turbocharger for a dramatic increase in horsepower.
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