Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Escort RS Cosworth: budget supercar

...depending on your definition of 'budget', obviously.
The Escort RS Cosworth really is the proverbial rose that grew from a pot of dirt. The mkV Escort that it was based on was a horrible, depressing little car; trust me, I had one for a little while and it made me sad. I bought the RS2000 (largely on the strength of this advert) in the hope that the top-of-the-range sporty model might be immune from the woes of the rest of the range, but it was not to be; it was all rattly cam-chains and overly-aggressive ABS. And everything - everything - in the car felt as if it had been built down to a price; the interior plastics were scratchy, the body panels were wafer thin, it was just crap.

But all of that was forgotten with the introduction of the RS Cosworth in 1992. Suddenly the meek little Escort looked a little more muscular, and lifting the bonnet revealed an evolution of the turbocharged Cosworth YB (essentially a Pinto with a fancy head, but in reality so much more) as found in its predecssor, the Sierra RS Cosworth, mounted longitudinally and driving a 4WD system. It offered 217bhp, which may not seem hugely impressive today but was little short of ballistic back then.

OK, it wasn't really a mkV Escort as such. The mechanicals were derived from the Sierra, with an Escort body sort of stretched around it. Like many of the all-time classics, it was built out of malice - a pure rally car that found itself homologated as a road car out of the necessity of regulations. Make no mistake, this is no ordinary Escort. This is a junior supercar.
(The example you see here is a [heavily modified] limited edition Monte Carlo Cosworth - the connoisseur's choice, some say...)

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