I have a clean HO engine valve cover if you need one. PM me for more info.
OMG. What a great car. Love it. Purchased a 1990 Wild Strawberry EGT new in 1990. That was an awesome car. Ran flawlessly and stood up to constant abuse. Never let me down. We were Sport Compact before it was a thing. That started my relationship with the Escorts. Had about 20 since then. Kudos to you and your project.
I actually have two. The VC in the pic above and one that I pulled the entire top end from. There are 3 1st Gen GT's I need to pull the heads on to see if any are intact.
I know you already P- Coated your manifold but it's looking a little pitted too. Grab the VC and mani I have. They're in almost new condition and it would be a shame to not use them for such a cool resto project.