Ford Escort RS Turbo – History Of A Future Classic

By Rob Harvey
By Rob Harvey

Marketing Manager - Bridge Classic Cars

The Ford Escort RS Turbo holds a special place in the hearts of petrolheads, especially those who grew up during the 1980s and 1990s. This compact yet powerful hatchback combined the practicality of a family car with the sportiness of a turbocharged engine.

The Birth of the Ford Escort RS Turbo

In the early 1980s, Ford wanted to make a competitive rally car. In order to compete in the World Rally Championship, the company needed a compact car with an agile chassis and a powerful engine. The Ford Escort, which was already a popular model for the brand, seemed like the ideal candidate.

The first-generation Escort RS Turbo was launched in 1984. It had a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine with a Garrett T3 turbocharger, producing a potent 132 horsepower. This turbocharged engine was paired with a five-speed manual transmission and a limited-slip differential, making it an exciting drive both on the road and on the rally circuit.

Its sporty design featured distinctive alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, and RS badging, giving it a bold and aggressive appearance.


Evolution and Second Generation

The second-generation Escort RS Turbo retained the sporty design of the original, with a distinctive front grille and a rear spoiler. Ford’s engineers worked on the chassis and suspension to enhance handling, ensuring that the car remained usable on both the roads and rally circuits.

While the Escort RS Turbo continued to be popular among driving enthusiasts, it faced growing competition from other hot hatches of the era. Ford introduced the Escort RS Cosworth, a more powerful and sophisticated rally car, which overshadowed the RS Turbo in terms of performance and prestige.


The RS Turbo Legacy

Despite the arrival of the RS Cosworth, the Ford Escort RS Turbo retained its popularity as an affordable and accessible high-performance car. Owners appreciated its nimbleness, turbocharged power, and the ability to tune the engine for even more power.

Over the years, the Escort RS Turbo also gained a reputation as a “cult classic.” Many owners and collectors today hold a special place in their hearts for this little rocket. Its presence at car shows and rally events remains strong, showcasing its enduring appeal.

RS Turbo in the Modern Era

As the years passed, the Ford Escort RS Turbo continued to influence the world of compact performance cars. Its legacy can be seen in the many high-performance hatchbacks and hot hatches that followed, including models like the Ford Focus RS, which continued the tradition of blending practicality with performance.

In 2000, Ford released the Ford Focus RS, a model that combined the practicality of the Focus with a high-powered engine, directly inspired by the Escort RS Turbo’s philosophy. This modern successor to the Escort RS Turbo featured a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with 212 horsepower, proving that the spirit of the RS Turbo still lived on.

Win Our 1991 Ford Escort RS Turbo

The Ford Escort RS Turbo may have been a compact car, but its impact on the world of high-performance vehicles was far from small. With its rally success, accessible turbocharged power, and iconic design, it has certainly left its mark.

With fast Fords like this continuing to increase in value, it is highly likely that these memorable cars will become even more desirable and collectable.

You can win our 1991 Ford Escort RS Turbo through Bridge Classic Cars Competitions. Entries close at 10.00 pm on Monday, 23rd October 2023 so make sure you enter the draw before then.

All the information you need can be found here.

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