In the United States, we never really got to know the sprightly, rear-wheel drive Ford Escort (Mks I and II), as by the time the small family car was introduced here for 1981, it had modernized, switching to a front-wheel drive layout.
That fact might lead most to dismiss the car as “nothing special,” but to do so would be a mistake; the Ford Escort had quite the successful rally racing career, even propelling two drivers to first and second place finishes in the 1979 season of the World Rally Championship.
With that in mind, take a look at this: a 1974 Ford Escort RS2000 (Mk I), which is being sold by Cool & Vintage in Europe. Petrolicious brought the car to our attention, and it’s been the recipient of a thorough restoration and modification process. The original 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine – a mill the Ford Escort RS2000 borrowed from the Pinto – has been massaged by Julian Godfrey Engineering to produce 206 horsepower. That’s roughly double its original factory power rating.
Paired to the newly-invigorated engine is a ZF 5-speed manual transmission, which sends the torque through an Atlas limited-slip rear. The clutch and “Monte Carlo” brakes are from AP Racing, but should something happen to go wrong, this Ford Escort RS2000 comes equipped with an automatic fire-suppression system. Other racing-inspired features include a full roll cage, strut braces, racing bucket seats, and a trunk-mounted fuel cell, plus a few lightweight alterations like a bumper removal, acrylic windows, and a fiberglass hood and trunk.
All-in, a total of £135,000 (about $197,000 US) were spent on this Ford Escort’s restoration, and it’s only been driven for a total of about 2 hours since. Price is available upon request (see the original listing here), but we suspect this Ford Escort RS2000 will be anything but cheap.
Then again, can one truly put a price on absolute joy?