Ford Escort RS2000: Our Shed
Our shed: Dave Morley adds a performance legend to his shed
Dream garage. We've all played it now and then. You know the rules: Money no object, name the five cars that would be granted space in your ultimate lock-up.
Funny thing is, my dream garage hasn't altered much over the years, despite the arrival of all sorts of exotica (some of which I've even been lucky enough to sample). Nope, I reckon my answers of 30 years ago would be much the same as they are now. Maybe I was just old before my time...
Anyway, one of the cars on that list was always going to be the Ford Escort RS2000. And while I know the earlier Mk1 car is mega-collectable now, it's the Mk2 that gave the newly-pubescent Morley goose-bumps all those years ago. I can still see the colour advert on the back of motoring mags of the day: A bright orange RS2000 lurks in a dark, narrow back-alley. The tag-line reads: 'Street legal'. Oooooh. Excuse me for a moment.
But here's something else - it seems that every bloke roughly my age also has the hots for an RS2000. Or so it seems. I'm constantly amazed at how this little white, working-class Ford stops people in the street. Literally.
Okay, so it's a pretty tidy one, but experience has taught me to buy the best one I can afford, especially when it comes to the condition of the body. And a few months ago, that's precisely what I set out to do. By chance I met up with an old colleague who's right into his old Eskys. He let slip that he'd heard about a car that might come up for sale. This car.
Pulling on my Sherlock Holmes hat, I managed to find the fella through a car club, let him know I'd appreciate first refusal and then waited. Finally, he caved in. I took it for a spin and made him an offer. Within a week, I owned it.
Sadly, my car is not one of the 25 German-built cars that were imported here in 1976 for Ford to test the waters (although the last one of those I saw was a cut-and-shut, so it was probably only an RS1000). Why it took another three years for Ford Oz to finally build its own version is anybody's guess, but it did, and mine is one of those. At least it's a two-door (Australian-built examples were also available in four-door form) which, to me, is the essence of the whole RS thing.
Crucially, almost all the RS bits are there including the plastic nose, rubber rear spoiler, multi-gauge dashboard, Scheel seats and the compliance plate. The original tiller was missing and the replacement is a K-Mart shocker. Its days are severely numbered. As was the fashion of the day, some knucklehead has cut a sunroof into the RS, but as Ponchard explained: it's of the time. Celebrate it. I think he's right. Oh, and the wheels are non-standard, but what could be better for this car than the 13x6 Minilite copies? (Okay, real Minilites, but now you're being cheeky.)
So, yes, I'm rapt with the little bugger. Now to turn it into the dream version of my dream car. One of them, anyway.