Skip advert
Advertisement

Escort RS1600

To the casual observer it might appear to be a humble entry-level model, but the plain looks hide thoroughbred racing mechanicals.

This is where it all started for the legendary RS brand. Unveiled in 1970, the Escort RS1600 was intended to be Ford’s latest rally weapon. To the casual observer it might appear to be a humble entry-level model, but the plain looks hide thoroughbred racing mechanicals. Under the bonnet is the first example of the famous BDA engine. Designed by Cosworth, it featured in the firm’s rally cars for nearly 16 years. In its final 2.0-litre, fuel-injected guise, this legendary motor was pushing out more than 240bhp.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Turn the ignition key, and it is clear that this example is a competition machine through and through. The 1.6-litre motor is unhappy at low revs, coughing and spluttering with each prod of the throttle. Move away from a standstill, and you’ll notice the heavy controls and a stiff ride that causes the car to crash over even small bumps. But stretch its legs and the RS1600 comes alive.

The steering is direct and the slick gearshift is a delight. Push a bit harder and you’ll revel in the rear-wheel-drive chassis balance. Yet it’s the hard-edged wail from the exhaust that dominates the experience.

The RS1600 started the blue oval’s long domination of rallying, which lead to the all-conquering Escort MkII of the mid to late Seventies. As a result, this model’s place in history is assured.

* Performance: 3/5
* Heritage: 5/5
* Style: 4/5
* Driver appeal: 4/5

Vote for your favourite fast Ford here, in our exclusive reader survey

Details

Model tested: Escort RS1600
Chart position: 6

Skip advert
Advertisement
In this review
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

‘Dacia Zen’ seven-year warranty brings added peace of mind
Dacia Duster - tailgate
News

‘Dacia Zen’ seven-year warranty brings added peace of mind

The value brand’s new warranty is also available on used cars, as well as for existing Dacia customers
16 Apr 2024
Car Deal of the Day: Mercedes EQC offers luxury EV motoring for £327 a month
Mercedes EQC - front cornering
News

Car Deal of the Day: Mercedes EQC offers luxury EV motoring for £327 a month

Mercedes’s EQC showed that the German firm was serious about electric cars and it’s our Car Deal of the Day for Monday 15 April
15 Apr 2024
New 2024 Audi A3 takes the fight to BMW and Mercedes with £32k price tag
Audi A3 Saloon - front action
News

New 2024 Audi A3 takes the fight to BMW and Mercedes with £32k price tag

The updated Audi A3 is available now, with the hot S3 version due from May
16 Apr 2024