Is this your last chance to grab a Ford Escort RS Cosworth?
As values of Ford’s Escort RS Cosworth are priced outwith the reach of mere mortals, is this our last chance to acquire Ford’s legendary tarmac icon?
If the Ford Sierra Cosworth set a new parameter for road-going mayhem, the Escort RS successor defined a generation of aspiring petrolheads. Akin to its Lancia and Subaru adversaries, the Escort Cosworth brought Group A rally car standards to the masses with an injection of aggressive styling and tarmac clout.
Designed and engineered in Boreham, penned by noted designer Stephen Harper and assembled by Karmann in Germany, the Escort employed a shortened platform pinched from the Sierra Cosworth, also utilising the Sierra’s 2.0-litre turbocharged longitudinally-mounted Cosworth-derived powerplant offering four-wheel drive.
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Launched in 1994, the Escort RS laid claim as an instant classic. Available in two trim specifications – club-spec and Lux, power output breached the realms of 227bhp, an astounding figure for its day. The output sum may sound paltry by modern standards, but a second-hand Ferrari Mondial V8 during the early 1990s was only claiming 214bhp at 6600rpm.
According to production figures, 7000 examples rolled out of the Ford factory over a four year period, with the first 2500 purely for the experienced driver; boasting enough turbo lag to leave most Porsche 911 owners blushing.
The remaining 4500 Escort RS Cosworths offered tighter response from the throttle pedal due in no small part to a smaller Garret T25 Turbo, yet that didn’t stop swathes of them from ending up in a hedge, up a tree or through the front of the local Woolworths.
The sad fact of the matter was that the Cosworth wasn’t just the car of choice for yobbos, yuppies and spoiled teenagers, but also for criminals. Relatively easy to steal, blisteringly quick, and able to out handle any police car from Plod’s automotive stable, no waste ground from the generation of Britpop and Brosnan’s Bond was complete without a torched Escort Cosworth.
As such, insurance prices shot skywards. Those with custody of Ford’s homologation child felt the need to squirrel their pride and joy away from prying eyes. Extra measures were taken to keep the vehicles safe, leading into a frenzy of exclusivity that’s still rolled out today.
While the Ford Escort Mk5 proves that familiarity breeds contempt, for the Cosworth equivalent it’s an entirely different story. Seldom seen out as car events or the pages of enthusiast magazines, asking prices have blown the roof off most auction houses.
A time-capsule example sold for £91k during the NEC Classic auction in November 2017, whereas less concourse variants regularly change hands for upwards of £45,000. And these prices are unlikely to dip anytime soon.
Going by the market trends set by previous fast Fords, the Escort RS Cosworth is destined to follow in the wake left by Escort RS1600s and the RS200. Except, the Cosworth has an ace card up its sleeve.
With the encroaching generation now finding a career path allowing disposable income, the Escort RS Cosworth is directly in the cross-hairs for children of the ‘90s who have always longed for one. With demand far outstripping supply, values are set to become turbo charged in the next few years.
Our advice would be to buy one now. As the Cosworth’s legendary status is passed from cohort to generation, prices will never be this ‘low’ again.
Silverstone auctions have this prime candidate for sale. Estimated to sell for between £30 - £35k, this could well be the investment of the decade – especially considering its provenance. This one was owned from new by the designer of the ‘Escort Cosworth’, Stephen Harper, and was purchased brand new by him from ‘Brooklyn Ford’ in Redditch on 25th August 1995.
A compilation of Stephen's Design Sketches and photos from the original development and styling phase are also included in the sale. Not only that, but the winning bidder will have the opportunity to meet Stephen himself. Get a closer look here.
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