RE: Ford Escort RS1600i: Spotted

RE: Ford Escort RS1600i: Spotted

Wednesday 21st November

Ford Escort RS1600i: Spotted

More of a Blue Oval aficionado than a fan of the Griffin? We have just the car...



The 1980s were such great years for the affordable performance car. The decade saw the birth of so many rorty, naughty and hilariously silly sports machines that sat atop ranges of run-of-the-mill ecoboxes anyone could afford. Take today’s PH Hero, the Vauxhall Astra GTE, for example. As Alex explains in his piece, the Luton-made hot hatch was a compelling package that probably deserves more attention today, although it certainly wasn’t for everyone. The Mk1 Volkswagen Golf GTI was the better refined option, while the Escort RS1600i was the lairy one of the bunch.

You only have to glance at an RS1600i to realise this car is not messing about. It was a homologation special, after all, produced as the necessary road version to enable Ford to go rallying. It had a big rear spoiler, decals and fog lights. Compared to the simple shape of the Golf and the comparably plain GTE, it looked like a bloody hooligan. You could say it set the agenda for fast Fords to follow, with the aggressive styling of the modern Focus RS showing a clear lineage.


Thing is, the RS1600i wasn’t technically the best hot Escort on sale. The XR3i was. The RS version, developed at Ford’s German base, was based on the earlier XR3 so lacked a few of the later model’s upgraded parts, including stronger brakes and realigned front struts. But the RS1600i used adjustable Koni shock absorbers and lower suspension, meaning it was the keener, more focused machine.

On the road the sporting model’s competition focus was obvious. It’s 1.6-litre engine was louder thanks to changes to the four-cylinder’s valve gear mechanism – it was larger and mechanical – as well as the use of a bigger-bore exhaust, giving the RS a throaty bottom end and raspy bark up top. With 115hp it wasn’t rapid, but wind the motor up towards its 6,500rpm redline and progress was certainly swift enough. With dinky 15-inch wheels wrapped in six-inch-wide rubber, the car felt exciting and lively. And required a more astute driver than the slightly more forgiving XR3i.


This alone might explain why prices for RSs are rising today, although it’s probably at least as much to do with the car’s rarity. Just 2,500 were produced in Cologne for the UK market. According to HowManyLeft, there are 159 XR3is still left in the UK today, but just 95 RS1600is remain. That makes today’s Spotted, a Diamond White RS1600i, rather special, especially considering how good a condition it appears to be in.

In 54,000 miles it's remained in completely standard form, even retaining the factory-fit engine bay stickers, original keys and service stamp book. It’s probably one of the best right-hand-drive cars in existence; perhaps even one of the best RS1600is in the world. A fact that might help making the asking price of almost £30,000 a little easier to swallow.

See the full ad here.

SPECIFICATION - FORD ESCORT RS1600i

Engine: 1,597cc, four-cylinder
Transmission: five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power(hp): 115@6,000rpm
Torque(lb ft): 109@5,250rpm
MPG: N/A
CO2: N/A
First registered: 1983
Recorded mileage: 54,000
Price new: £6,834
Yours for: £29,995

Author
Discussion

viggyp

Original Poster:

1,464 posts

71 months

Wednesday 21st November
quotequote all
Absolutely love these and would rather have one of these over the Turbos. This coming from someone who can't stand the CVH lump.

CharlieAlphaMike

211 posts

41 months

Wednesday 21st November
quotequote all
I yearned to own an RS1600i back in the day but couldn't afford the insurance so had to make do with a lowly 1.3 Escort Laser cry Actually I loved it. It had a factory fitted sunroof and front spot lights plus a loud (aftermarket) stereo. Oh and it was my first brand new car. What more could a teenage boy want?

MDMA .

4,281 posts

37 months

Wednesday 21st November
quotequote all
Awesome car. Mine was National day winner from 86-91. 5 years on the trot.

PistonBroker

1,553 posts

162 months

Wednesday 21st November
quotequote all
I've already commented on the Astra thread as we were very much a Vauxhall family back in this era - Dad had a Nova SR, Mum had a 1.2 which was replaced with a 1.0 when she wrote it off, and 4 more Vauxhalls followed between them.

But it didn't stop me lusting after these as well. The RS1600i was loads cooler than the XR3i imo and perhaps even cooler than the S1 RST. Always a bit more of a hooligan element to them I felt.

Another one to add to the 'why don't I have a big barn full of this stuff bought cheap 20 years ago?'!

SS2.

10,850 posts

174 months

Wednesday 21st November
quotequote all
I sold my [lovely] Copper Bronze Mk 1 Mexico to fund a white RS1600i.

Loved the RS and it did us proud (a coil pack was the only issue in 4 years of ownership), but it lacked the character of the Mex.

More than 20 years on and I wish I still had both, though. cloud9
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SlimJim16v

1,921 posts

79 months

Wednesday 21st November
quotequote all
No, the XR3i wasn't the best one on sale.

When Ford updated the XR3 to the XR3i, the chassis and brake improvements were also done on the RS.
I believe they were bigger rear drums and better rear suspension geometry.

Nice cars, but too slow. My friend had one with a turbo conversion, much better.

blade7

8,223 posts

152 months

Wednesday 21st November
quotequote all
£30k for a tarted up XR3i, LOL.

skylarking808

194 posts

22 months

Wednesday 21st November
quotequote all
When my father worked at a small Ford dealership when these came out.
A work colleague of his took it for a "test drive".
They reached 100mph and the bonnet flipped open off the pins which made the drive interesting haha.

Such an early eighties icon, especially those decals.

Toyoda

954 posts

36 months

Wednesday 21st November
quotequote all
I've posted this before, but may be of interest to anyone into this sort of thing.

https://www.thecarwarehouse.co.uk/vehicle/551/ford...

vixen1700

10,404 posts

206 months

Wednesday 21st November
quotequote all
£30k! laugh

HumanSteamroller

21 posts

13 months

Wednesday 21st November
quotequote all
Those bonnet decals cloud9

Helicopter123

4,441 posts

92 months

Wednesday 21st November
quotequote all
This is the DBs.

cookie1600

1,028 posts

97 months

Wednesday 21st November
quotequote all
Not the most expensive one that's been up for grabs in the last few months:

https://www.classiccarauctions.co.uk/ford-escort-r...

£46K ?!!!!!!!!!!!

What the hell should I buy and put by, to capitalise on this crazy 80's car price boom?

832ark

717 posts

92 months

Wednesday 21st November
quotequote all
An absolute turd yuck

cookie1600

1,028 posts

97 months

Wednesday 21st November
quotequote all
Could I also ask why this one from the same seller and with only 9k miles, was only £21,695? (still a lot)

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...

https://www.kgfclassiccars.co.uk/details.php?cid=7...

JD2329

166 posts

104 months

Wednesday 21st November
quotequote all
Only 159 XR3is are left?!!!
Doesn't seem that long ago they were everywhere...oh dear, perhaps it was...

JD2329

166 posts

104 months

Wednesday 21st November
quotequote all
Only 159 XR3is are left?!!!
Doesn't seem that long ago they were everywhere...oh dear, perhaps it was...

Pericoloso

36,903 posts

99 months

Wednesday 21st November
quotequote all
I had 3 of these ,bought from 1999 to 2003 ,owning all 3 till 2008 when I couldn't get the only runner to erm.... run properly.

All black.

My first road trip to Italy was in one ,at 23yo ,the car ,not me.

iSore

3,701 posts

80 months

Wednesday 21st November
quotequote all
I had one in 1988. In some ways they were better than the XR3i - seats and steering wheel mainly but in other ways they were bizarrely bad - a revvy engine allied to van gear ratios and a tall final drive, dreadful brakes and they tramlined like buggery. They looked nice but there were much better cars in the eighties. The Golf GTI was a much better effort.

Alucidnation

9,305 posts

106 months

Wednesday 21st November
quotequote all
£30k??

rofl