The original 'Fast Ford'
The original Ford Escort was introduced at the Brussels Motor Show in January 1968 and soon became a commercial success as an attractive small family saloon. Ford had, for a number of years, used active participation in motorsport as a means of getting their showroom doors swinging on a Monday morning, and the new Escort was to prove no exception. Popular at club level in every discipline of the sport, it was at International level that the name 'Escort' became synonymous with winning. The Ford works team was practically unbeatable in the late 1960s / early 1970s, and arguably, the Escort's greatest victory was in the 1970 London to Mexico World Cup Rally being driven by Finnish legend Hannu Mikkola. This result and the ensuing acclaim prompted Ford to produce the famous Escort Mexico in honour of the rally car.
One step up from the Mexico, the Escort 'RS1600' was developed using an engine that was essentially a detuned Formula 3 unit designated BDA (Belt Drive 'A' Series). Both the Mexico and RS1600 were built simultaneously at the Ford Advanced Vehicle Operations (AVO) facility located at the Aveley Plant in South Essex. As well as higher performance engines and sports suspension, these models featured strengthened body shells, making them ideal for rallying.
Only 1,137 RS1600s were produced in total and with many of them ending their days against solid objects, they are now quite rare and hugely collectable. This stunning example is an Escort Mk1 RS1600 which has recently been the subject of a fully documented and extensive restoration, done to an impeccable standard. Silverstone Auctions will be offering this car at their upcoming Autosport International Sale on the 12th January. For more information on this and other vehicles at the sale, click on the link below. Photos: © Silverstone Auctions