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RS Cosworth

Feb 24,2006 Julian

The competition Sierra Sapphire never quite lived up to its reputation and before long, Ford was reviewing its options. The engine was fine but the weight seemed to be the problem so a smaller car from the range was required to drive home Group-A success. Enter stage left, the Escort RS Cosworth.

At first glance you could be forgiven for thinking that the Escort RS Cosworth is built up from a standard Escort shell. However, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. The problem, which the competition staff at Ford were well used to by now, was that the Sapphire engine and running gear would not fit into standard Escort shell, thus the new floor pan was based on the Sapphire and as such, was a little longer, the result being that rear quarters on Escort Cosworths are longer than their standard Escort counterparts. Hundreds of other new parts were required to complete the transformation and the first examples rolled of the lines in early 1992.

UK models were extremely well received and the aggressive styling and high level rear ‘whale-tail’ spoiler harked back to the days of the first Sierra Cosworth. Many body panels were purpose built for the Escort RS Cosworth including the bonnet with duel air ducts, wide arch front wings & rear quarters, and front and rear spoilers.

The Escort RS Cosworth heralded a return to competitive success for Ford in the World Rally Championship arena, with the car scoring outright wins on five separate rounds during its first year, which grounded the car as firm contender on both gravel and tarmac. The Escort RS Cosworth remained competitive on the world stage for several years and eventually went on to form the basis of Fords first evolution World Rally Car (WRC).

Production of the road going model came to a close in 1996 when new EU regulations regarding permitted noise levels came into force, which the Escort RS Cosworth could not meet.

The standard car was available in either ‘Lux’ or ‘Motorsport’ spec, and during its life was also available in limited edition Monte Carlo spec, immediately recognisable by its OZ alloys.

Images courtesy of Martin Holland

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