RE: Ford RS1700T: Spotted

Thursday 17th January

Ford RS1700T: Spotted

The Mk. III Escort is less famous than its predecessor, and much less successful. It's also fantastically rare



From Aussie V8 Supercars to Le Mans endurance racers, Ford has enjoyed more than its fair share of motorsport glory over the years. To many of its UK fans, though, it'll be the Blue Oval's stage-based success which emphatically stands out, from the Mk.II Escort-based RS1800, driven to victory by Björn Waldegård in 1979, to the highly successful Focus era - and plenty more to boot. Less well known, for good reason, are the icons that could have been; the almost-rans and projects which fell at the final hurdle. And it's this category into which today's Spotted falls.

Following the launch of the new Mk. III Escort, Ford decided that a successor to the RS1800 should be created, a model to build on the previous iteration's racing prowess. Unlike its predecessor, however, the standard Mk. III was front-wheel drive, meaning any rally car built in its image would be in silhouette only, with a bespoke rear-wheel drive platform beneath. Power came courtesy of a Cosworth-developed 1.8-litre turbo four-cylinder engine, the aluminium unit producing up to 350hp and propelling the 1700T to 60mph in 4.2 seconds.


Eighteen prototypes were built in total, although some were little more than mock ups, and only four are known to survive today. They included innovations such as a rear transaxle, to better distribute weight in the front-engined car and an aluminium torque tube to aid chassis rigidity. Once the project was cancelled, Manager Mick Jones took some of the more complete cars to South Africa, where he continued to enhance them while entering the less stringently regulated local competitions.

Those cars were rebodied in Kevlar panels with polycarbonate windows, saving 250kg over the original design, with suspension articulation increased and cooling improved. Nonetheless, the all-wheel drive era had arrived, and while the 1700T found success versus comparable rear-wheel drive rivals, it was out of its depth against Audi's all-conquering Quattro.


The 1700T may have been too late for its time, then, but it holds a place in motorsport history regardless. In predating Lancia's 037 it stakes a claim to being the first of the Group B silhouette cars, paving the way for plenty of incredible machines to come. And while the car itself was left by the wayside, its engine and technical innovations were all carried over to the RS200, allowing Ford to develop a prototype of its all-wheel drive Quattro rival in just three months.

This particular car was built in 1984, and is the 17th of the 18 produced before the project was abandoned in favour of RS200 development. With just 1,147 miles on the clock, it's described by the seller as running and driving very well, as well as being "an excellent addition to any vintage rally fan's collection." It would be hard for us to disagree.

See the full ad here.



Author
Discussion

mersontheperson

Original Poster:

122 posts

104 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
Nice car with a peculiar stance

Cambs_Stuart

410 posts

23 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
It does look mich higher at the front. The front wheels also look very far forward in the arches.
But 350 bhp in not very much weight? I bet its entertaining to drive.

generationx

2,107 posts

44 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
There is your very definition of "hen's teeth" to a serious Ford RS or rally collector.

GravelBen

13,629 posts

169 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
Why is PH squeezing articles into a frame that only uses the middle third of my browser window, and distorting pictures to fit? I'm looking a cartoon-squished Escort hehe

Anyone else having the same issue?

Jerseyhpc

21 posts

44 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
The 1700T is the predecessor of the RS200 and bequeathed many components to it. As a failure it is a glorious one and I have always lusted after one. There are 4 known cars remaining and one mythological one that may or may not be held by Ford. The prototypes were shipped to South Africa after the programme was cancelled and they have turned up from there. Malcolm Wilson has a road car in his collection.
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InitialDave

4,359 posts

58 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
I remember you used to be able to get replica body kits for these, I think most of them ended up on FWD cars, but I'm sure I recall at least one replica that went the whole hog and was converted to RWD.

Don1

13,077 posts

147 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
Jerseyhpc said:
The 1700T is the predecessor of the RS200 and bequeathed many components to it. As a failure it is a glorious one and I have always lusted after one. There are 4 known cars remaining and one mythological one that may or may not be held by Ford. The prototypes were shipped to South Africa after the programme was cancelled and they have turned up from there. Malcolm Wilson has a road car in his collection.
The very definition of TLDR hehe

sortedcossie

100 posts

67 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
Now that is a proper rare Ford.

ZX10R NIN

13,292 posts

64 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
I've never seen one of these, but I do know a guy who has a pair of Cossie powered MK3 & 4 Gartrac Escorts which are a rare sight let alone something like the above.

egern0

12 posts

40 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
GravelBen said:
Why is PH squeezing articles into a frame that only uses the middle third of my browser window, and distorting pictures to fit? I'm looking a cartoon-squished Escort hehe

Anyone else having the same issue?
Which browser are you using? Firefox is sometimes a little picky when interpreting style sheets. No problems here in Safari, Chrome or Edge, but I'd suggest restoring your default view-settings no matter what browser you're using smile

selym

6,805 posts

110 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
GravelBen said:
Why is PH squeezing articles into a frame that only uses the middle third of my browser window, and distorting pictures to fit? I'm looking a cartoon-squished Escort hehe

Anyone else having the same issue?
Looking like the first time you saw the SWB Ur Quattro!

GravelBen

13,629 posts

169 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
egern0 said:
Which browser are you using? Firefox is sometimes a little picky when interpreting style sheets. No problems here in Safari, Chrome or Edge, but I'd suggest restoring your default view-settings no matter what browser you're using smile
It is Firefox, don't have the issue with any other websites but PH isn't exactly cutting edge.

GravelBen

13,629 posts

169 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
selym said:
Looking like the first time you saw the SWB Ur Quattro!
Its just enough distortion to be irritating!



Midgster

355 posts

173 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
Don1 said:
Jerseyhpc said:
The 1700T is the predecessor of the RS200 and bequeathed many components to it. As a failure it is a glorious one and I have always lusted after one. There are 4 known cars remaining and one mythological one that may or may not be held by Ford. The prototypes were shipped to South Africa after the programme was cancelled and they have turned up from there. Malcolm Wilson has a road car in his collection.
The very definition of TLDR hehe
I thought I was just having a deja vu moment.


s m

17,224 posts

142 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
GravelBen said:
It is Firefox, .
Remember to think in Russian......

Mick Jones rolled one at nearly 130 and survived OK


BFleming

897 posts

82 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
Although POA on PH, this is advertised elsewhere for a mere $455k. Hens Teeth or not, I'd prefer the RS200.

selym

6,805 posts

110 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
BFleming said:
Although POA on PH, this is advertised elsewhere for a mere $455k. Hens Teeth or not, I'd prefer the RS200.
Agreed.

Salmonofdoubt

472 posts

7 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
For years I had heard about these but had never seen a real one. As someone who grew up lusting after the MK3 RS1600i, S1 RST and MK4 RS Turbo this was something of a unicorn car.

Augustus Windsock

1,607 posts

94 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
Didn’t KAT do a bodykit that looked like this (especially the rear bumper treatment) back in the early 80’s?
Seem to remember getting a brochure through the post and despite 80’s excess it did make me a little bit sick in my mouth (says the man that considered having the ‘tiger stripes’ on his 3dr Cosworth back then too....)
As an aside, am i the only one that detests ads that state ‘POA’, I wonder how many punters ring up and ask the price, thinking £200k and get laughed at?
Isn’t it just a device to squeeze more £££ from ill-prepared punters, ie ‘think of a price and double it’...
If I ran PH, or any of the major classic car magazines, I wouldn’t allow any ads that didn’t have a price, but then again, if I ran the UK I’d tell the EU where to stick their £39billion divorce settlement...

Michael-b35fl

16 posts

45 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
I remember seeing grainy pictures of this in a book on ford's. I never thought I would ever see one but low and behold there was one at race retro a couple of years ago. It was a static display mind. Shame as they do offer driving experiences with classic rally cars. I would love to have driven it. The stance is odd on it though. It seems even higher at the front when seen in the flesh. I am off to buy a euro millions ticket so I can get this when I win.