1 FORD ESCORT RS1800 (1975-77)
WHY IT’S HERE A homologation special to replace the MkI RS1600 and continue Ford’s aspirations for rally triumph. Still Ford’s most successful rally car
This is probably the rarest of all rear-drive Escorts, especially in unmodified road trim. Yet that’s hardly surprising as one would have cost you 64% more than an Escort 1600 Sport in 1975. So just 109 were registered in the UK in the three years the RS1800 was produced, and a large chunk of those headed off for the rally stages.
As you can see from the specifications, in factory trim with a single twin-choke carb on its BDA engine the RS1800 was actually no ball of fire, merely fast enough to be a fun car to drive. But in full-on rally trim that same BDA could be tweaked to pump out over 250bhp, enough to bring the MkII Escort five successive RAC Rally wins and the World Rally Championships for both team and driver in 1979.
That ensures that the RS1800 will always be a legend, practically a deity to Blue Oval devotees, and is still rallied successfully today in historic events. Where it invariably does very well.
As befits a rally car, they’re biased towards oversteer, in a more controlled manner than MkI
Twin-Cams thanks to suspension revisions. So you can still hang that tail out at will and play silly beggars – in a fast Ford it’s almost rude not to.