Ford Escort RS 2000

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Ford Escort RS 2000

1976 - 1980
United Kingdom
4 cyl.
115 bhp
4 spd. man
Top Speed:
165-180 km/h
Number Built:
3 star
The RS 2000 was designed by Ford's Cologne styling department in Germany, home of the company's high performance European operation. This same factory had also produced such cars as the super successful Capri RS 3100.

But it took Ford Australia quite some time to decide that the time was right to introduce the RS 2000 to Australia, despite it not being a stranger to enthusiasts.

Through its successes in motor racing, especially in events like the Hardie Ferodo 1000 and to an even greater extent in rallying, it was a car well known and  highly respected.

Introduced in 1976, the Escort RS2000 Mk II, European manufactured cars were fitted with a 110bhp Pinto engine, allowing the sporting Escort to effortlessly reach over 110mph.

Cosmetically, the biggest difference to the previous model was in the uniquely angled GRP nose panel which contained four headlamps.

Alloy wheels on the Custom model gave the RS2000 an aggressive look and the model has now become quite collectable. Although most RS2000's were built in "Custom" trim, a basic RS2000 with steel wheels and no tinted glass was also available from 1978.

The Australian version was not the pure-bred German RS 2000. Instead Aussie buyers had to make do with a compromise car. Sure, the styling was the same, but because the RS 2000 was made in Australia Ford chose to use the standard 2.0 liter OHC Cortina engine.

Although it was a nice suburban engine, quiet and moderately powerful, it was not anything like the more highly tuned European RS 2000 engine. Despite the disadvantage, the Australian RS 2000 still proved itself to be an exceptional little car for drivers who wanted extra excitement to brighten mundane driving.

The scoop nose of the RS 2000 was actually made of plastic. The beauty of this, because of its special design, was that in minor accidents the plastic would actually pop back into place after twenty-four hours or so, saving many lucky owners expensive panel-beating bills.

The RS 2000, with its stiffer suspension, naturally handled much better than the more mundane Escorts. Of course you had to put up with a choppy ride, but the handling improvement was quite significant and well worth such the small inconvenience. The four-speed gearbox had a sporty short throw and engaged gears positively, giving the driver utmost confidence. And as for the 2 liter Cortina engine, well at least it was very tractable, and few were fortunate enough to have driven the European version, so they didn’t really know what they were missing out on.

The interior continued the sports theme of he car. To keep the driver and passenger firmly in their ,places during hard cornering, Ford fitted the ultra-comfortable Scheel driving seats along with other refinements such as a soft-feel steering wheel and an oversize tachometer.

However, apart from these sporty extras, the interior was quite barren, with only an AM radio to add life to the dash. Despite the fact that the Australian-made RS 2000 was a long way from being a real RS in the European sense, it was still a much more exciting drive than the ordinary Escorts,  and that is why it remained popular with enthusiastic drivers.

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Also see:

Ford Escort RS Specials
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