September 26, 2022

Missed out on Woman Di’s £650k Ford Escort RS Turbo S1? Fortunately you don’t must spend that a lot to purchase a superb one… right here’s our information to the unique, and the very best Escort RS Turbo.

Information from Quick Ford journal. Phrases: Dan Williamson.

Ford Escort RS Turbo S1 historical past

August 1980 Escort Mk3 begins manufacturing at Halewood (UK) and Saarlouis (Germany).
November 1980 Escort XR3 launched in UK, as front-wheel-drive three-door hatchback with 95bhp 1.6 CVH engine, Weber carburettor, four-speed gearbox and sports activities suspension.
February 1982 XR3 continues with five-speed gearbox as customary.
October 1982 XR3i and RS1600i manufacturing begins at Saarlouis, each primarily based on XR3 however with Bosch gas injection. SVE-tuned XR3i has 104bhp, revised suspension, brakes and cabin. German RS1600i has 113bhp, distinctive entrance suspension, 6x15in alloy wheels, new entrance and rear spoilers, decals and Scheel seats.
Could 1983 New Escort Mk3 bodyshell together with revised entrance suspension mounting factors, bigger (48-litre) gas tank, repositioned gas pump, and smoother upholstery.
October 1984 Escort RS Turbo introduced at Paris motor present, developed by Ford Particular Car Engineering (SVE) for Group A motorsport homologation, requiring 5000 examples.
15 December 1984 Saarlouis manufacturing begins of Escort RS Turbo, primarily based on XR3i however with Garrett T3 turbo, Bosch KE-Jetronic gas injection, viscous-coupling limited-slip differential, RS1600i-type entrance tie bars, Orion 12mm rear anti-roll bar, Diamond White paintwork, colour-coded bodykit, driving lamps, 15in alloy wheels, blue decals, and Recaro seats. Commonplace or extra-cost Customized Pack obtainable.
20 December 1985 Escort RS Turbo Collection One manufacturing ends, after 8604 constructed, together with 5576 UK gross sales (all however three manufacturing facility Black examples have been white).

Why you need a Ford Escort RS Turbo S1

  • Cooler than a snowman browsing on an iceberg, the so-white Collection One hits the Eighties’ style spot. Park it alongside a Ferrari, and the prancing horse might be overridden by the previous Blue Oval.
  • Motorsport homologation – and important racetrack success – means the Collection One has secured its place in Ford historical past.
  • It must be stated: the Collection One is essentially the most investable of all front-wheel-drive Escorts, and also you’ll actually not lose money by having fun with this quick Ford.

Why you don’t need one

  • RS Turbos aren’t precisely quick. A inventory 130bhp Collection One is left for useless by trendy scorching hatchbacks, and making it quicker merely hammers down the worth.
  • Your neighbours received’t be impressed by your £30k Ford Escort; they’ll see it as both an Essex boy-racer’s journey or simply some previous banger with an outdated registration plate.
  • RS tax is actual, and also you’ll end up forking out big sums of cash for easy stuff like bits of trim you’d see in an Escort van.

Ford Escort RS Turbo S1 key factors

  • Id – Originality is essential. Solely real Collection One RS Turbos are value massive cash – be very cautious of a automotive with questionable historical past, specification or VIN.
  • Exterior – RS Turbos have been huge rotters, so test the physique in all places – inside wings, chassis rails, floorpan, roof, beneath carpets, behind bodykit and so forth. In depth corrosion can nonetheless kill a Collection One shell.
  • Inside – Principally customary XR3i equipment, the Collection One cockpit is difficult to search out in mint situation. Recaros are likely to sag, and an uncracked dashboard is a four-figure treasure.
  • Engine – CVHs could be rattly and smoky, however watch out for heavy knocking noises and blue plumes underneath load – suggesting a blown turbo or knackered pistons and/or rings.
  • Transmission – Guarantee it’s a pukka Collection One gearbox with LSD, keep away from rumbling or crunching synchros, and test for clutch slip – a quite common RS Turbo grievance.

What to search for when shopping for the Ford Escort RS Turbo S1


Don’t purchase a Ford Escort RS Turbo S1 with out checking its identification. Not simply an internet car historical past test (which is, in fact, vital for any costly motor) however an intensive inspection of the complete automotive. Should you can, discover an Escort skilled and take them alongside to assist.

Collection Ones have been (and nonetheless are) faked/rung/reshelled so much even by quick Ford requirements, so don’t be fooled by one thing dodgy.


Start with the VIN plate on the bonnet slam panel, ensuring it tallies with the digits on the log e-book, the stampings within the flooring beside the motive force’s seat (beneath a flap within the carpet) and the body-coloured construct plate (additionally on the slam panel). The VIN ought to learn WF0BXXGCAB, adopted by two letters referring to construct date and numbers that correspond with the engine code (additionally seen on the cylinder block).

The shell itself ought to be a late-model Mk3 (constructed from Could 1983-onwards) with single-bolt entrance strut tops and longer rain gutters on the roof: no RS Turbo had the shorter early gutters. A real Collection One also needs to embody a double-skinned battery tray, triple-skinned metal within the engine bay (really feel it by a gap pressed into the chassis on the inside wing) and distinctive entrance anti-roll bar mounts. Guarantee there’s a roughly-hacked cut-out within the entrance panel for the radiator (replicas are typically too neat), and that there are factory-fitted captive nuts on the bulkhead to connect the ECU.

All RS Turbos had an Orion-type rear anti-roll bar with factory-made mounts, which are likely to look awkward when added afterwards to a pretend. There also needs to be a singular rivet within the spare wheel properly for a filler neck stabiliser, plus a pair of grommets within the rear valance just under the again bumper.

Bronze tinted glass was customary on all Collection Ones, together with opening rear home windows. The bulk have been specified with the non-compulsory Customized Pack, which included electrical entrance home windows and central locking (simple to retrofit) plus bronze-tinted glass sunroof – more durable so as to add to a duplicate.

It’s additionally value checking the date stamps on the home windows and wheels match up with the automotive’s construct date.

And in case you discover a Collection One apparently factory-finished in any color aside from Diamond White, be very doubtful. Solely three non-white Collection Ones have been constructed by Ford – all in Black. A couple of RS Turbos have been repainted in numerous shades (corresponding to one in Mercury Gray, purple Datapost racers, and a blue automotive from TV present CATS Eyes, which ended its life in a lake), however none have been Ford-produced.

CVH engine in Ford Escort RS Turbo S1

Engine & Transmission

CVH engines weren’t notably sturdy or refined when new; 30-odd years of thrash and increase means most have been rebuilt and/or at the moment are knackered. So until you see latest receipts for reconditioning, anticipate the whole lot to wish shut examination.

Extreme noise might be most blatant. Usually, you’ll hear tapping from the highest finish, often from the hydraulic lifters (oil adjustments are greatest each 3000-to-6000 miles) however probably additionally a worn camshaft if it’s clattering contained in the cylinder head. They’re not main issues, however watch out for knocking from the underside finish, attributable to worn crank/bearings – very dangerous information.

Test for blue smoke from the exhaust – at start-up it’s most likely valve stem seals (typical of a CVH) however underneath load extra probably failed pistons/rings or turbocharger; take away the inlet hose and test the turbo for play within the shaft. Oil splashed across the engine bay could possibly be from a leaking cam cowl, however be suspicious if it’s blowing out of the oil filler cap; a rebuild could also be impending…

White smoke can also be a fear, suggesting a blown head gasket or cracked head; beware an engine working scorching or with oil within the coolant. If the antifreeze seems contemporary, it’s maybe disguising a head gasket fault, or – finger crossed – exhibits indicators of latest servicing, ideally with a brand new genuine-Ford water pump. Ask the vendor to point out receipts.

Poor working is a typical Collection One trait, and infrequently attributed to the RS Turbo’s Bosch mechanical gas injection (MFi) setup, notably the gas metering unit, which is dear to interchange, tough to regulate and simply slips out of calibration. Widespread complaints are misfires, sluggish efficiency and problem beginning when heat. However there are a great deal of different potential culprits, corresponding to soiled or defective sensors and relays, a drained actuator limiting increase, air leaks and collapsed hoses leading to low energy, and drained wiring inflicting chaos.

Test the wiring loom for injury, chafing, dangerous joints and corrosion – which at greatest will result in dodgy electrical devices or poor beginning; at worse an underbonnet fireplace. New looms could be expensive however worthwhile for security and reliability.

manual gear lever in Ford Escort RS Turbo S1

Examine the gas pump and provider to verify they’re not rotten or held along with cable ties. Look beneath the bulkhead for proof of fuse field repairs or burnt-out relays, and take away the glovebox to view the wiring beneath the battery tray.

Don’t be stunned to search out proof of a supposedly-standard Collection One having been put again to inventory after a lifetime of modifications; original-looking examples are most dear, however in case you get pleasure from driving, a chip and stainless exhaust nonetheless make sense. Higher nonetheless, an EFi (digital gas injection) conversion is extra dependable, however will definitely hurt an RS Turbo’s worth.

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The RS Turbo was the primary mass-market front-wheel-drive automotive with a viscous-coupling limited-slip differential, but it surely wasn’t the identical gearbox utilized in rally variations. As a substitute, the Collection One’s B5 ’field was an uprated XR3i element, with bracing ribs, stronger bearings, larger enamel and 4.27:1 ultimate drive ratio.

Through the years, many RS Turbos have had damaged gearboxes changed with cheaper Escort/Orion diesel five-speed models, so test the correct elements are in place. Fortunately, second-hand RS gearboxes are nonetheless obtainable, and rebuild kits aren’t too expensive; it’s additionally possible to suit Collection Two elements inside an S1’s casing.

It’s frequent for the gearshift to really feel floppy, usually as a result of a drained gear linkage – a straightforward restore. Problem deciding on gears is extra of a priority; it could possibly be a easy clutch ratchet fault (low cost to repair) or failure of the synchromesh rings – particularly if the gears are crunching between second and third; a rebuild might be wanted.

Clutch issues might also be in charge, notably if there’s an excessively low biting level or clutch slip underneath load (flooring the throttle in fourth gear to make sure the highway pace will increase because the engine revs rise). The usual S1 clutch can’t address greater than 170bhp, though many have been swapped for the bigger Collection Two clutch and flywheel.

Nasty transmission noises are likely to imply an costly restore is required: rumbling throughout driving factors to impending mainshaft failure, whereas growling suggests the driveshafts are worn (and in have to restore earlier than they wreck the gearbox). Fortunately, clicking on full steering lock means the CV joints have to be changed; an inexpensive and straightforward job.

Suspension and brakes on Ford Escort RS Turbo S1

Suspension & Brakes

Collection One entrance suspension had RS1600i-style tie-bars with separate 16mm anti-roll bar, plus an Orion-sourced 12mm rear anti-roll bar; in the event that they’re not in place, begin asking questions in regards to the automotive’s authenticity; get able to stroll away.

Test the tie bars aren’t bent out of form as a result of they’re fairly weak, and OE Ford substitute joints are now not obtainable. Pay attention for vibrations and clattering from the suspension, suggesting one thing free corresponding to a snapped spring. It could even be a damaged steering column bush, which is an inexpensive repair. Rumbling is almost definitely as a result of worn wheel bearings.

Collection One roadholding was reputed amongst Ford engineers to be unpredictable, primarily as a result of snatchiness of the LSD. There’s no energy steering, in fact, however the dealing with ought to really feel direct, albeit lower than the requirements of a contemporary ST. If the Escort feels sloppy, suspect worn elements or – worse nonetheless – floorpan corrosion. Perished suspension bushes are a typical trigger for vagueness, particularly within the rear wishbones. Polyurethane replacements are the answer, ideally Powerflex, which can be found in factory-look black for concours contenders.

It’s typical to search out aftermarket suspension already in place. Don’t be dissuaded in case you see good-quality dampers (corresponding to Bilstein or Koni) and decreasing springs with not more than a 25mm drop; be involved in the event that they’re low cost Chinese language coilovers, particularly if mated to low-rent tyres.

Collection One brakes have been inventory XR3i 239mm vented entrance discs and 203mm rear drums, which have been barely as much as the job when new. If the automotive’s nonetheless on customary stoppers, guarantee they’re not juddering by the pedal, which usually means the discs and pads have to be changed; but when they’re pulling to 1 aspect, a calliper might be sticking.

The rear drums might also be seized on or off (test by jacking up the again of the automotive and spinning the wheels whereas getting an assistant to use the footbrake and handbrake), or leaking from a wheel cylinder. Examine the brake strains for corrosion and the hoses for splits or ballooning.

Thankfully, brake elements are low cost and straightforward to supply, being shared with lesser fashions. For eager drivers, OE-looking upgrades are preferable, and elements corresponding to Cosworth 4×4 entrance callipers with RWD rears match behind the usual seven-spoke RS alloys to take care of the concours look.

Interior on Ford Escort RS Turbo S1


Should you’re paying prime greenback for an RS Turbo, it’s very important to see an immaculate inside. Despite the fact that a lot of the cabin trim was shared with the Mk3 XR3i (Monza upholstery with blue piping), it’s arduous to search out in mint situation as a result of it’s not hard-wearing; naturally, it’s very fascinating and equally expensive.


Solely the RS Turbo’s Recaro entrance seats differed from the XR3i’s (albeit carrying the identical material), however they have a tendency to wear down on the bolsters, sag on the bases and collapse beneath. The winders additionally loosen, though repairs are easy. Test the motive force’s seat hasn’t been changed with a passenger-side Recaro to disguise put on.

Make sure the door playing cards aren’t broken or reduce for audio system. Watch out for cracks, splits and warping within the dashboard, otherwise you’ll have to spend a four-figure sum – and a very long time looking out – for a mint substitute. Examine the parcel shelf too; audio system and sagging knocks down the worth.

A number of Collection One house owners have a second inside (one for exhibits, one for the remainder of the 12 months), so attempt to get these uncommon elements included in a deal. If not, collect spares whenever you see them and retailer them in a secure place.

In case your Ford Escort RS Turbo S1 has the non-compulsory (however regular) Customized Pack, test the electrical home windows and central locking work correctly as a result of motors are likely to pack up. Indicator stalks and dashboard switches are fragile, however they’re shared with base-model Mk3s, so don’t are typically overly costly or arduous to supply.


Rotten RS Turbos are nonetheless on the market – often offered as tasks and barn finds, however often masquerading as mint or restored automobiles. Many rusty or broken RSs have additionally been reshelled into second-hand customary Escort three-door bodyshells, now value significantly much less money – so beware.

Corrosion can assault an Escort nearly anyplace. Have a superb look across the entrance panel edges, bonnet, entrance wings, outer sills, door edges, A-pillars, rear wheelarches, gas filler, tailgate, and across the sunroof of any Customized Pack; blocked sunroof drains are likely to lead to rusty rear quarters, whereas the sunroof body rusts the place the glass bonds, and NOS sunroofs are breathtakingly expensive.

Jack up the automotive to examine the floorpan, chassis rails (notably in the direction of the rear), entrance crossmember, rear valance and boot flooring. Elevate the bonnet to test the suspension turrets, inside wings, bulkhead, battery tray and fuse field space. If attainable, have a look at the bulkhead from contained in the cabin by eradicating the glovebox. Really feel the carpets for dampness (increase them in case you can, paying specific consideration to the inside sills), elevate the again seat and rear quarter panels to test the rear wheelarches for moisture.

Inside the boot, examine the wheel properly and chassis rails from above – discovering rot right here means it’s already fairly in depth. The boot flooring can also be sometimes a spot to identify creases or cracks attributable to earlier accident injury.

Be aware of the seam sealer on the rear quarters and the entrance wings, which ought to have a factory-applied end, which is troublesome to duplicate throughout repairs.

Should you’re intending on a concours restoration, you’ll want to look arduous for real Ford physique panels, though good-quality reproductions can be found. The Collection One bodykit isn’t troublesome to supply, however test the wheelarch extensions aren’t cracked. The grille was shared with the first-generation Orion, whereas towing eye covers and decals can be found as reproductions. Bumper overriders have been shared with the Escort Ghia, however are typically arduous to search out and relatively expensive.

Driving lamps and brackets are costly, so be certain they work and aren’t damaged. Different lights have been fitted to lesser Mk3 Escorts, however don’t be stunned to see them working erratically as a result of previous Fords are liable to dangerous earths and corroded connectors; cleansing the contacts and treating rust is the same old remedy.

Ford Escort RS Turbo S1 costs

Mission: £8000 to £15,000 – Watch out for ‘barn finds’, which for this cash could also be rotten, half-stripped of the great bits, or decidedly dodgy. Don’t splash out if the identification is questionable.

Good: £15,000 to £25,000 – Useable Collection Ones at the moment are critical money, so anticipate to see mileage of 100,000 or extra, together with wise modifications and possibly some lacking factory-original elements. Don’t get spendy on a pretend or reproduction.

Concours: £25,000 to £50,000-plus – Present-worthy S1s have rocketed in worth on the heels of three-door Cosworths, and low-mileage examples have offered for north of £60k. For that a lot it must be mint and utterly customary, however £35k ought to bag an RS with about 70,000 on the clock.

Ford Escort RS Turbo S1 photos