Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Series One RS Turbo

Famed for being the only RS Escort to attain royal approval - Princess Diana had one; the only one to leave the factory painted black - the Series One RS Turbo was a combination of homologation evolution, reputational rebuilding, and bandwagon-leaping in the hot hatch era.
The Escort's reputation took a bit of a hit with Project Erika, which became the mkIII Escort, in that unlike the previous two generations, the new model wasn't rear-wheel drive. However, a new wave of FWD hot hatch enthusiasts, spurred on by the success of the Golf GTI, 205 GTI, Astra GTE et al, were appeased first by the XR3 (and subsequent XR3i), and then by the homologation-special RS1600i. What the RS Turbo achieved was to take this road-racer, mix in a little forced induction, slap on a de rigueur bodykit, and sell them in nothing but Essex Stiletto White.
Prices of Series Ones today reflect the fact that the keen-eyed enthusiasts of the eighties have grown to an age where they can afford to fulfil those childhood dreams. And given the nature of boy-racer hot hatches - they tended to get either nicked and burnt out, or wrapped around lamp-posts - their relative scarcity means that prices are escalating sharply.
So, would you go standard or modified; concours or period-tuned? The car we see here, spotted at the 2013 Bromley Pageant, represents the latter. The Escort sits low over RS seven-spokes (seventeens are risky on a mkIII, but the Turbo can pull off these Ford rims, just), there's the obligatory stainless-steel drainpipe, and all manner of tuning shenanigans happening under the bonnet. Power Engineering have long been the go-to guys for souped-up Fords, and the abundance of shiny bits and Samco hoses here suggests rather more than factory-standard horsepower. And look, you can see a dump valve there, for that trademark RS Turbo sneeze. Marvellous.

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