If somebody used the term "greatest road-going performance Ford," what would come to mind? Shelby GT500, maybe? Boss 302? Or perhaps the Ford GT? All worthwhile candidates, but the Blue Oval's finest street car might actually be a 1990s hatchback with an engine from a Pinto and a spoiler from a teenager's sketchbook: the Escort RS Cosworth.
PHOTOS: 1977 Ford Escort RS1800
This all-wheel-drive, one-of-7000 Group A homologation special used a weaponized version of Ford's T88 Metric engine, reworked into a twin-cam 16-valve with a Garrett turbo slapped to the side of its 2.0-liter block. Output was rated at 224 hp but could reach three times that amount in competition and aftermarket guises.
The RS "Cossie" never sold in America, and only a very small number leaked into the States through gray-market importation. We spotted at an Ohio specialty performance dealership, and the sales group claims it has somehow been made to comply with EPA and CARB regs, with a California smog tag included. There are only 13,000 miles on the odometer, and it's slightly modified with a tune and exhaust, good for a potent 305 hp—at less than 3000 lbs, that puts it in the same league as the new 2015 WRX STI.
Yes, $55K is a steep price, but stateside Cossies pop up about as often as Paul Thomas Anderson films, and this Imperial Blue example looks to be in absolutely fantastic condition.
SEE THIS: Group A Legends