For many motorists, the Ford Escort RS was a must-have. Especially when sporting ‘go faster’ stripes, it ticked all the right boy racer boxes. RWD – plus light bodywork – were just the ticket … sometimes literally! Starring in Seventies TV show The Professionals bolstered the Escort’s hard-hitting image. As well as doing its sales figures no harm at all!
The RS, though, was more than a rocketship roadster. It doubled up as a top-flight rally car. The Mexico model marked Ford’s win in the London to Mexico Rally. The smaller RS1800 version was still ultra-competitive. With its twin-cam motor – and all round disc brakes – many an owner took to the stages. On the road, too, it did not disappoint. An X-Pack of optional extras saw to that. Between its nose and the tarmac, the RS2000 sported a ‘droopsnoot’ – a polyurethane spoiler/air dam. It cut drag, according to Ford.
Technologically, then, the Escort impressed. Certainly, its suspension was on solid ground. A set of MacPherson struts sorted the front. A live axle – on leaf springs – looked after the rear. The Escort’s monocoque steel shell could be strengthened. Its in-line four engine produced 86bhp. Top speed was 103mph. Later versions upped both stats. The gearbox was 4-speed manual. As ’70s interiors went, the Escort’s was slick. An array of dials, bucket seats and a sports steering-wheel all helped with harum-scarum high-speed shenanigans. Which – if you had bought a Ford Escort RS – was what you wanted!