Ford Escort RS1600 sale will test market

By: Unique Cars magazine

escort rs1600 c Who would have thought they'd be worth big dollars? escort rs1600 c
escort rs1600 d Under that humble exterior is a race winner. escort rs1600 d
escort rs1600 a The BDA engine was a street-modified Formula 3 unit. escort rs1600 a
escort rs1600 b Interior looks perfect - you can almost smell the 70s! escort rs1600 b

Ford Escort RS1600 MkI 1971 restoration up for auction

A 1971 MkI Ford Escort RS1600 to be auctioned by Silverstone in the UK over 2-3 September will be an interesting test of how the UK classic market is travelling.

These cars have become a hot item over recent years, helped considerably by their raised profile in a UK TV series For the Love of Cars.

Prices have been climbing for some time and there is a mini industry in the UK in building both the real thing and replicas using the more humble standard versions.

The guide price for this hero car is 50-55,000 pounds (AU$84-92,000), which seems a bit light on. A similar car was recently sold locally by Shannons for $118,000, which was about the middle of the estimate.

We would have thought the bigger market in the UK might do better.

This particular example looks exceptional.

Here is the auctioneer's description: 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 (1.6 L 'Kent'-engine) road version 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 now famous 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.

Even today, Mark I Escorts are still very popular in the historic rallying scene with their reputation for a great balance of power and handling, making them true driver's cars. The BDA engine emits a distinctive and appealing 'growl', which can be heard for quite a distance when the vehicle is being driven hard. Estimates suggest that only around 1137 RS1600s were produced in total.

We are informed by the vendor that YKP 877J, one of the earliest known remaining examples of an original RS1600 BDA 'Twin-Cam', was the subject of a full bare metal restoration around five years ago and was rebuilt with the focus on 'period' accuracy.  A photographic record is included in the sale of this car and clearly illustrates the painstaking attention to detail involved in this car's restoration.

It's finished in Sebring Red, a slightly orange colour exclusive to the RS1600 and Capri RS3100, and the paintwork is smooth and blemish free. The car is as bright and detailed underneath as it is elsewhere, while all shut lines appear excellent and the car sits squarely on its original steel wheels.

With the emphasis on authenticity, all replacement parts, where possible, were genuine Ford NOS (New Old Stock)  and the period detail is difficult to fault. The rear chrome bumper still even has the correct 'Ford' sticker on it. An absolutely correct unmarked interior, and correct dash and instruments all merely emphasise the effort that has been put into getting it right.

The spotless and leak free BDA 'Twink' makes all the right noises and sits in an engine bay that simply illustrates the quality of this restoration.

We understand that the car has a current odometer reading of around 29,000 miles but it has only covered just over 100 miles in the last five years since restoration.

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