1972 Ford Escort RS1600 Mk1 Coupe (LHD)
|Engine||DOHC 4-cylinder, 1599cc (BDA type)|
|Body Work||2 Door Sedan|
Ford’s Mark 1 Escort proved a winner in rallying and touring car racing right from the outset, beginning with the Twin-Cam of 1968 using the same running gear found in the Lotus Cortina. Smaller, lighter and with a stiffer bodyshell, the Escort proved a world-beater, famously dominating the London-Mexico World Cup Rally in 1970 and proved a fabulous weapon on the road. The Escort was clearly capable of handling even more power and Ford created a legend when it launched the limited production RS1600 in 1970, the first in a lineage of “Rallye Sport” Fords that lives on today. The heart of Ford’s new frontline rally weapon was, of course, the Cosworth-developed BDA engine, a heavily reworked version of the Kent motor with belt-driven camshafts and four valves per cylinder. Initially produced at Halewood, production shifted to Ford’s new AVO facility in Essex from November 1970 and just 1,139 were built by the time the model was phased out in late 1973. Ford made a number of improvements to the RS1600, including Dellorto carburettors replacing the Webers in April 1972 and the final 200 built featured alloy engine blocks and upgraded interiors, with full carpeting and new sports wheels. With 120bhp on tap, the BDA-powered Escort was an exceedingly rapid little sports saloon, capable of reaching 113 mph. The model enjoyed a stellar competition career, winning a number of significant rallies including the East African Safari, RAC and 1000 Lakes, while Zakspeed-prepared cars terrorised the opposition in the European Touring Car Championship for several years. With interest in performance Fords at an all time high, the RS1600 remains the most iconic and collectible Escort of all, with examples routinely fetching six-figure sums around the world.