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RS Turbo Series 1 – 1984 to 1986

Feb 02,2006 Julian

Once the RS1700T project had been canned (see RS1600i) by Stuart Turner, Head of European Motorsport, it was clear the future (at least in rallying terms) was held in the newly emerging Group B, in which the RS200 would later compete. However, in 1983 a firm plan was introduced to bring a new breed of performance cars to the market based on the Sierra and Escort bodyshells that would be able to compete in the Group A arena.

The first of these new machines, based on the current Mk3 shell, would see a Garrett T03 turbocharger fitted to a 1600 CVH engine with Bosch electronic fuel injection system to produce 132bhp. Many parts were shared with the RS1600i, although the wheels (which looked the same) were slightly different, as were the dampers (now softer) and an FFD designed limited slip diff along with an improved braking system.

Whereas the RS1600i had been slightly understated in appearance, there was no mistaking the bold styling of the RS Turbo, which was a massive hit with customers from the moment it went on sale even with its near £10.000 price tag, however, the aesthetic concept was a very shrewd move by Ford which saw them utilise existing parts which had already been ‘tooled’ for its final appearance. The front and rear aprons along with the side skirts were actually aftermarket accessories from the XR3i, and the three bar grille was lifted from the Orion, but once combined in true Twin-Cam fashion (only available in white) the car became a masterpiece in styling, ultimately going down as another RS ‘cult classic’.

The interior was just as well received; grey Recaro seats with blue piping (big in the eighties!), matching rear seats/door panels, along with a three spoke RS steering wheel and tinted glass. An optional custom pack could be added incorporating central locking, electric windows and sunroof.

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