PH Heroes: Ford Escort RS Cosworth
Forget the bodykitted horrors it inspired, the Cossie deserves its place in the PH hall of fame
The ability of cars to reflect the personalities of the people that build them never ceases to amaze. Cue sweeping generalisations about Ferraris symbolising fiery Latin passion and Porsches the German obsession with engineering über alles. Run with the theme and apply it to Essex and, well, actually it still works.
This is a car that should be on any PHer's radar, though. The shadow of that huge wing looms large, the imitations attached to many an unsuspecting Escort LX back in the day all but destroying the formidable competition pedigree forged in the forests by the likes of Francois Delacour and Carlos Sainz.
First impressions of this Ford heritage fleet example don't do much to overcome that image either. This is a car that suddenly feels of another era, the Duplo dashboard seemingly level with your knees and the combination of Recaros trimmed in Granada Scorpio style ruched leather and a stocky, thick-rimmed wheel hardly dishing up the tactile delights.
In its 1992 road test Autocar praised the "delectable quality of the shift" but the gearbox in this car is a pig. Long of throw, balky and slow-witted, its partnership with the woolly clutch and mushy accelerator are hardly the thing of dreams.
The gearshift still feels more like that of a knackered old Transit than a Group A rally contender, though, and the fat steering wheel needs a fair bit of encouragement to move off the dead centre. And doesn't offer much in the way of feedback once it does.
With a bit of heat in its veins, the gearbox starts to loosen up a bit too, even if the throw remains long and the gate wide.
Hints of that legendary Cosworth pace also become apparent with a bit more commitment. On-paper stats don't look too impressive, a 0-60mph time of 6.2 seconds in that Autocar road test slower than both the Delta Integrale and Nissan Sunny Gti-R it was tested against and the top speed - not helped by that barn door bolted on the back - just 137mph.
Grip is huge, stubborn even, and if the front end does start to push on you've really gone in very hot indeed and the merest lift will tuck the nose back in. There's never any feel from the steering wheel but the Escort seems to point itself in the direction you look and, as the confidence grows, its speed as a cross-country weapon starts to really hit home. There's a reason rally cars have always made such great road cars in the UK and the Escort suddenly feels as brutally effective as those wild looks suggest it might be.
I'm 31 now, but had an Escort Cosworth Lux (L-reg) when I was 19. Don't even ask what the insurance was
Interestingly, prices have gone up since those days (in the 2.5yrs I owned my car it went from £12k to £14k)
Mind, thats not as bad as the E30 M3 Evo I once fancied from a garage, with 75,000 miles, lovely condition and up for £6995.00 (Wonder what crazy money thet would be worth now)? Just couldnt pull the trigger on a LHD car.
Mind, thats not as bad as the E30 M3 Evo I once fancied from a garage, with 75,000 miles, lovely condition and up for £6995.00 (Wonder what crazy money thet would be worth now)?
I haven't found out much about the car - anyone else have link etc?
However it is probably worth remembering that the cars are 20yrs old now and not only do they feel that way inside (i.e. it's a 20yr old Escort dash) but the power (of a standard one) is less than a luke-warm-hatch today.
Nevertheless, those that want to can overlook that for bags of character and a rear spoiler straight from teenage boys' bedroom walls.
Glorious cars, big turbo lag but nice to drive, would be as good as a current 'modern'.
Anyone remember the RWD RS2000 prototype from the early 90s? Escort Cosworth bodyshell, N/A 2.0 16v engine, Scorpio drivetrain.
It was also the first time I had been in a Cosworth for a few years, his is tuned to 550bhp and Ive never felt power like it.
I would love one.
Rare & Powerful by Adam Kennedy Photography, on Flickr