The Ford Escort RS Cosworth Has Pedigree the New Focus RS Can't Match

The Escort RS Cosworth was a legitimate homologation special. The new Focus RS is just a very quick hatchback, but that doesn't make it bad.

Carfection

The only worth remembering about the old, front-drive Ford Focus RS is that its entire drivetrain fits a Volvo C30. The current car marks a huge improvement with its tight (if bouncy) chassis, manual box and handbrake, torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system and equally childish attitude.

But no matter how many RSes rallycross dudes Ken Block and Andreas Bakkerud thrash around the world, it'll never have the racing pedigree of a true homologation special. Enter the granddad, the Escort 'Cossie.'

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Carfection

Ever wondered why the 2500 road-going units of the Escort RS Cosworth have such tall wheel arches? Or why they came with a water tank in the back despite not having the spray for the intercooler? Ford UK's one-off yellow Escort RS Cosworth has many answers.

This example was upgraded by Ford's Special Vehicle Engineering division to produce 280 horsepower, and has unique Recaro seats and a Personal (Nardi) steering wheel. As an early model, this Cosworth packs a 'blue' valve cover, a bigger Garrett turbo, an all-wheel drive system that splits torque 34:66 front-to-rear, and an aero package fit for top-class nineties rallying.

By today's standards, this sportiest of Escorts has a lot of roll in its chassis, huge turbo lag in the middle of its power curve, and wheel arches dictated by regulations instead of designers. Yet it's still an icon. Ford's team created something truly special out of a boring mid-size car, with current Jaguar design boss Ian Callum guiding the pencil in 1989, sitting very close to a noisy wind tunnel.

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Talking about wings and a street car that had downforce at the front for the first time...have you seen the 2017 Ford Fiesta WRC in action?

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