Still, with modern cars more insulating than ever, lots of people see the appeal of the raw RS. Thanks to a nominal 212bhp and standard limited-slip diff, 0-60mph falls in just 5.9sec, and it looks like it just drove off a rally stage.
Ford made 4501 examples, and a good chunk of them still live. About £7000 will net you a high-mileage car, but budget nearer £10,000 for a tidy one.
3 - Ford RS200 (1984-1986)
If we’re being brutal, the RS200 homologated rally special was a bit of a flop. Late to the Group B party, it got a best result of third on the 1986 Swedish Rally before the class was banned for 1987. Even so, it looked like no other rally car at the time, as it made no effort to look like any Ford production vehicle.
While Ghia should be thanked for the strangely attractive styling, Cosworth was once again in charge of the engine, with a turbocharged development of the BDA fitted amidships. Power ranged from 250bhp for the road cars to more than 600bhp for the Evolution models.
If that sounds tempting, you’ll need deep pockets. The cheapest currently out there is a quarter of a million quid.
4 - Ford Fiesta RS1800 (1992-1997)
Entry to the RS club doesn’t have to break the bank, as demonstrated by the Fiesta RS1800. Launched in 1992 as a replacement for the wayward Fiesta RS Turbo, it replaced the laggy CVH turbo engine with a 130bhp version of Ford’s new 1.8-litre Zetec motor.
The 0-60mph sprint increased by 0.2sec to 8.1sec but it was still rapid for such a small car back then. As well as the boy-racer bodykit, you got Recaro seats and tweaks to the suspension.
You can pick up one for comfortably less than £5000 today, but the challenge could be finding one. Only a few thousand were made and fewer still remain.
5 - Ford Escort RS1600 (1970-1974)
This may not be the first RS-badged Ford (the German-market 20M RS takes that honour), but it is the one that cemented the brand’s reputation.
A car truly developed for motorsport, it shouldn’t be confused with the simpler and cheaper RS2000. Not only were all RS1600s specially built by Ford’s Advanced Vehicle Operations and fully seam welded for strength, but they also received Cosworth’s famous BDA twin-cam powerplant. Good for 120bhp in the road cars, they went on to produce well over 200bhp in competition cars.
With any three-door Mk1 Escort now in great demand, the RS1600 has become seriously expensive, at £50k-plus. This or a pair of new Focus RSs?