Ford Escort RS1600 (1970)
Ford in Germany takes credit for the very first RS models but the car to set the standard for everything Rallye Sport has come to stand for is the Escort RS1600. Inspired by the earlier Escort Twin Cam, the RS1600 fitted a more modern Cosworth-designed engine celebrated since by its ‘BDA’ designation. Dominant in rallying and on track, motorsport success for the RS1600 ensured demand for the road versions was intense, setting the scene for generations of RS product to follow, including the latest Focus RS.
Key innovation: Cosworth tuned twin-cam engine
Ford Escort RS2000 (1975)
The commercial and competition success of the Escort RS1600 inspired various evolutions of the hot Escort, including the Mexico, the RS1800 and the 2.0-litre RS2000. A simpler car than the RS1600, the RS2000 gained cult status with the arrival of the distinctive ‘droop snoot’ front grille and the powerful, torquey engine behind it. Both immediately set it apart from the rest of the Escort range, ensuring iconic status among ’70s fast car fans.