RE: Ford Escort RS Cosworth: PH Used Buying Guide

RE: Ford Escort RS Cosworth: PH Used Buying Guide

Thursday 20th December 2018

Ford Escort RS Cosworth: PH Used Buying Guide

Ford's iconic 90s Escort is now more than 25 years old, and in high demand - here's how to buy a gem



The Ford Escort Cosworth ticks every box as a modern classic. For starters, it combines two of the most sought-after names in the fast car firmament, plus those pumped-up 1990s rally-bred looks. There's also genuine motorsport pedigree behind the car, and the road versions weren't slouches either.

As you'll probably be aware, Ford used a shortened Sierra Sapphire Cosworth floorpan to create the Escort model with the intention of competing in the World Rally Championship. This meant building 2,500 Escorts and they were very much homologation cars, using a large Garret T3/T04 turbocharger to give 227hp. It was enough to see the all-wheel drive Escort from rest to 62mph in 6.3 seconds and it was just as brisk at flying out of showrooms. Ford also made 200 Monte Carlo special editions to celebrate winning the eponymous rally in 1994.


However, as a road car, many found the early Escort Cosworth to all or nothing depending on whether the turbo was on boost or not. In late 1994, Ford addressed this with a smaller T25 turbo that greatly reduced lag and was claimed to better the 0-62mph time to 6.2 seconds.

There were plenty of other changes that came with this 220hp engine, including an improved inlet manifold, better oil system, larger throttle body and more sophisticated wasted spark ignition. The result made the later run of 4,500 small turbo cars much better to drive on the road and they were still easy to tune to 300hp with little more than a new ECU chip and improved fuel pump. These later cars tended to come in Lux spec with air conditioning, sunroof and leather seats.


Many tuners offered huge power gains for the Escort Cosworth, though usually at the expense of reliability or usability. Today, originality is what most buyers demand, so the stock of good, unmolested Cosworths commands prices from £35,000 for decent examples all the way to £60,000 for the best low mileage specimens.

Search Escort Cosworths for sale.



Bodywork and interior
As the Cosworth has moved out into modern classic territory, most should be in fine fettle and free of rust. It's still worth checking along the sills, arches, behind the body kit, boot floor, tailgate, door bottoms, chassis legs, battery tray and the floor pans as many will have been repaired in their younger days.

Also look for cracked suspension top mounts.

Recaro front seats are comfortable but may need retrimming to the driver's side bolster. The foam may also need to be replaced to reinstate the cushions to their former comfort levels.


Engine and transmission
It should be easy to work out if the car is an earlier large turbo model or later small turbo version from the cam cover. Earlier cars have the YBT engine with blue covers and the traditional twin-cam look, while later cars have use a YBP engine with smoother silver-finished cam cover.

Check the exhaust for blue smoke that points to worn piston rings or white smoke that indicates a blown head gasket. Many will have been fitted with uprated Ford Motorsport or Cometic gaskets to cure this. Stronger head bolts are another wise investment.

A turbo rebuild will cost up to £1,200.

Good quality replacement cambelts are cheap and easy to fit, but the best spark plugs will set you back £90 for a set of four.


Look for signs of oil and coolant leaks.

Rough running is likely to be the coil or ageing spark plugs. Both are easy to replace.

The engine oil pressure gauge should read 5-bar when the engine is started from cold and 1.8-bar when warmed through.

There are two multi-plugs on the left-hand side of the engine bay under the bonnet vent and they can let water in. The fuse box can also burn out its tracks, but replacement is simple.


Some cars might still have early alarm and immobiliser systems fitted. They can cause problems with the fuel pump, so are best removed.

Make sure the fuel pump is uprated to match any tuning to the engine as starvation will result in melted pistons.

The MT75 five-speed manual gearbox is tough and lasts well if the engine is putting out standard power. Tuned cars are more likely to suffer from worn synchro rings in transmission, so listen for any crunching and feel for any reluctance for the lever to shift between gears. A new clutch is £350 plus fitting for a quality aftermarket replacement or £150 for a Motorcraft item.


Suspension and steering
Standard set-up is a very good balance between comfort and control. Stick with this for road use. Spax and Gaz both offer kits to firm up the springs and dampers for track days or competition use.

Wheels, tyres and brakes
The original brakes were always only just up to the job of dealing with the Cosworth's performance, so many have been upgraded. As the market shifts towards cars in original condition, this is one area to consider sticking with upgrades as the standard discs are prone to warping. Standard kit was 278mm discs on the front and 273mm rear discs.


SPECIFICATION - FORD ESCORT COSWORTH

Engine: 1,993cc, 4-cyl turbo
Transmission: 5-speed manual, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 227/220@6,250/5,750rpm
Torque (lb ft): 224/214@3,500/2,500rpm
MPG: 28.3
CO2: na
Price new: £21,380
Price now: £35,000 upwards

Search Escort Cosworths for sale.

 

Author
Discussion

Thornaby

Original Poster:

370 posts

13 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
About 1400 left in the UK. Wonder how many are clean, never stolen and unmolested

cerb4.5lee

12,140 posts

124 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
I've always loved these and the rose tinted glasses are fully on. cloud9

Tickle

3,257 posts

148 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
My poster car when going through school in the early/mid 90's, more so than any Porsche or Ferrari.

Still on the very rare times I see one on the road it takes me back to seeing one as a teenager. They certainly have that appeal, to my age group anyway.

Couldn't justify the price of one now mind, and not sure if I drove one it would be a case of 'don't meet your heroes' scratchchin

wab172uk

1,354 posts

171 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
This was the car I lusted over as a young lad.

If I was my age now, back then, I'd have ordered mine in Imperial Blue.

However, if I win the lottery any time soon, this baby is mine.

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

Edited by wab172uk on Thursday 20th December 09:21

sortedcossie

115 posts

72 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all


I own car 7084 out of 7145 produced. Never bumped or stolen, has blue silicone hoses and a performance exhaust/air filter but have all standard parts bar the exhaust. It's never had the head off, or gearbox off. Owned it over 12 years now, not concours but it's a nice usable one with every receipt from day one.

Prices are a minefield though and sadly there is some right rubbish out there if you don't know what to look for. Corrosion and lack of some of the unique parts are a headache, and thus prices of parts have the "RS" tax on them.

Zetec-S

2,861 posts

37 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
cerb4.5lee said:
I've always loved these and the rose tinted glasses are fully on. cloud9
+1

Considered buying one, probably about 15 years ago now. I think prices were around £10-15k for a decent example. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

(although it would have been used as a daily driver so the high mileage and running costs over the years would probably have gone a long way to offset any potential increase in value)

Jon_S_Rally

488 posts

32 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
An icon for me and one I would still love to own. Think I've missed the boat sadly now.

JMF894

2,925 posts

99 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
Looking back now that rear spoiler really is laughable. Couldn't you spec it without? Can't recall ever seeing one without.

s m

17,722 posts

147 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
JMF894 said:
Looking back now that rear spoiler really is laughable. Couldn't you spec it without? Can't recall ever seeing one without.
Yes, you could

cerb4.5lee

12,140 posts

124 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
s m said:
JMF894 said:
Looking back now that rear spoiler really is laughable. Couldn't you spec it without? Can't recall ever seeing one without.
Yes, you could
The red one in the article doesn't have the bigger spoiler.

Baileyk

35 posts

8 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
JMF894 said:
Looking back now that rear spoiler really is laughable. Couldn't you spec it without? Can't recall ever seeing one without.
You could, very few people did (why would you the wing is the icon). There is one for sale on pistonheads at the moment with that option.

Jon_S_Rally

488 posts

32 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
JMF894 said:
Looking back now that rear spoiler really is laughable. Couldn't you spec it without? Can't recall ever seeing one without.
Yes, but only on the later, small turbo cars I believe. As said though, why would you? It's part of the lairy appeal for me.

NotNormal

2,123 posts

158 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
Although they are most certainly an icon of a generation you definitely need those rose tinted glasses these days. Driven a few and a lot of friends had them back in the day. Laggy engine, nasty plastic interior (bar the lovely front seats) and seemed to be forever going wrong with one thing and another. Weren't actually that quick in standard trim but they were ripe for modding which made them more of the blue collar weapon we all remember (ignoring the fact that in doing so just exaggerated the earlier points of lag and reliability).

Would love one as part of a collection based on the memories of youth but for me the drive never really lived up to the hype

bozzy.

186 posts

22 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
JMF894 said:
Looking back now that rear spoiler really is laughable. Couldn't you spec it without? Can't recall ever seeing one without.
You could, but wouldn’t that be like specking Scarlett Johannson without a vagina?

WCZ

6,821 posts

138 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
NotNormal said:
Although they are most certainly an icon of a generation you definitely need those rose tinted glasses these days. Driven a few and a lot of friends had them back in the day. Laggy engine, nasty plastic interior (bar the lovely front seats) and seemed to be forever going wrong with one thing and another. Weren't actually that quick in standard trim but they were ripe for modding which made them more of the blue collar weapon we all remember (ignoring the fact that in doing so just exaggerated the earlier points of lag and reliability).

Would love one as part of a collection based on the memories of youth but for me the drive never really lived up to the hype
this, also the worry of theft was legendary

at £30k I can see the appeal as that's how much a gtd golf is these days but at 90k it's nuts

wab172uk

1,354 posts

171 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
bozzy. said:
JMF894 said:
Looking back now that rear spoiler really is laughable. Couldn't you spec it without? Can't recall ever seeing one without.
You could, but wouldn’t that be like specking Scarlett Johannson without a vagina?
roflyes

s m

17,722 posts

147 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
A standard 220bhp one will barely see you ahead of a GT86 these days which most on here find slow

If it’s a weekend fun car you may as well get a cheaper LT car and make the most of the YB by stoking it up a little with an extra 130bhp
They’re quite lively with 330-350bhp


cerb4.5lee

12,140 posts

124 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
s m said:
A standard 220bhp one will barely see you ahead of a GT86 these days which most on here find slow
I was browsing earlier for a GT86 because I still lust after one. The 0 to 60 in 7.6 seconds and 151 ib/ft torque lead me to think it will be a world of disappointment...I need to drive one to see if the reality is better than how I imagine them to be performance wise.

A.J.M

6,369 posts

130 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
I’ve wanted one for years.
Large turbo, Imperial blue with Raven leather interior. cloud9

Prices are going one way and unless my circumstances change big time. I’ll have missed the boat on them which is a sad thing to admit.

350bhp, 18” Rondalls and nice brakes and suspension would keep me happy for the summer use it would get.


Maybe one day.

s m

17,722 posts

147 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
cerb4.5lee said:
s m said:
A standard 220bhp one will barely see you ahead of a GT86 these days which most on here find slow
I was browsing earlier for a GT86 because I still lust after one. The 0 to 60 in 7.6 seconds and 151 ib/ft torque lead me to think it will be a world of disappointment...I need to drive one to see if the reality is better than how I imagine them to be performance wise.
They handle nicely Lee ( but nothing groundbreaking imho if you're used to things like your 200SX and feelsome cars of the 80s/90s like M3s/Cosworths ) but don't 'feel' like 200bhp to me. Coming down in price as well

Try one and see as there are plenty of ways to pep them up. For me the rear space was too small as a useable 4-seater