A Detailed Look Back At The Ford Escort RS Cosworth | Daily News Byte


The Ford The Escort RS Cosworth dominated the British car scene when it arrived in 1992. It entered with its powerful motor, crazy styling and no-nonsense attitude. Built at the pinnacle of rallying, the hundreds Cossie is a beast.

Although similar at a glance to the standard Escort, the RS Cosworth is very different indeed. The only body panels they actually share are the doors and roof. The wheelbase is slightly longer than the standard car to squeeze in the Ford Sapphire’s drivetrain. Independent suspension and big brakes at all four corners showed that the Escort RS Cosworth meant business. However, the jewel in the crown is under the hood.

It’s been a long time since the Escort RS Cosworth, and we haven’t seen anything quite like it since. As electric cars become mainstream, let’s look back at a car that’s raw, analog, and full of soul.

The Ford Escort RS Cosworth Is An Early ’90s Icon

Silver Escort RS Cosworth on the road
via Bring A Trailer

The Escort RS Cosworth was the subject of many posters adorning the bedroom walls of children growing up in the 1990s. This is the cheeky chap that the public can’t help but love. Cossie isn’t about luxury or labels, it’s all about performance and doesn’t care what the neighbors think.

With Group B rallying dead and moving on from the insane RS200, Ford experimented with the Sierra and Sapphire models before turning to the Escort platform for building their next rally car. They chose the highly modified version of the fifth-generation Escort, complete with an all-wheel drive system from the Ford Sapphire. In accordance with rally homologation regulations, an initial 2,500 road-legal units rolled off the production line for a select number of very lucky customers. Between 1992 and 1996, Ford built a very limited number of just over 7,000 Escort RS Cosworths.

Related: A Detailed Look At Ken Block’s Ford Escort Cosworth

The YB Engine From The Escort RS Cosworth Is A Masterpiece

1992 Ford Escort RS Cosworth engine-Apr-28-3-59-47-PM
Via: Bring a Trailer

The motor found under the hood of a Ford Escort RS Cosworth is a thing of beauty. Unlike today’s cars, all the parts and the valve cover are on display. Engine building experts Cosworth are responsible for the best parts of this car, hence putting their name on the badge. On the face of it, the 2.0-liter inline-four-cylinder doesn’t look anything special. They put a hefty Garrett turbocharger on the side, and the little Escort made a solid 224 hp and 224 lb-ft of torque. Weighing in at just over 2,800 lbs, it can shoot to 60 mph in under 6 seconds and top out at 140 mph.

The big turbo on the first homologation units resulted in a lot of turbo lag. In rally cars, this is not an issue as the engines are in a higher state of tune. However, for the de-tuned road versions, it leads to an uplifting driving experience. Not much happens before 3,500 rpm, and then all the power hits at once, blasting you down the road as you try to hold on to the steering wheel.

It looks like a lot of fun, but for the next Escort RS Cosworths, Ford decided to tame it down a bit. They reduced turbo lag by using a smaller Garrett turbocharger which made the car more manageable without losing performance. By anyone’s standards, it’s an absolute handful to drive. Power is transferred through a five-speed manual transmission to all four wheels. The split is 34% front and 66% rear, perfect for power sliding around rally circuits or your local parking lot.

Ford Escort RS Cosworth’s Styling Divides Opinion

Ford Escort Cosworth - Side View
via Bring A Trailer

No doubt about it, the Ford Escort RS Cosworth is a wild looking car. Some love it, some hate it, but you just have to respect it. The standard Escort is a friendly, small hatchback that’s a perfect grocery-getter. While you can see the base Escort, the RS Cosworth is more aggressive. It’s muscular from every angle, and it always looks rare.

There’s a front chin spoiler and louvers on the hood that indicate this isn’t your normal Escort. The 8-inch wide wheels at all corners sit under the extended wheel arch, giving the RS Cosworth a wider stance. The interior is nicely decorated with Recaro seats and plenty of gauges, so you can keep an eye on things.

The rear is the most recognizable part of the entire car. A ‘whale tail’ wing extends from the top of the rear window, continuing the roofline to the trunk edge. It’s one of the most dramatic setups on a factory car, and also a nod to its predecessor – the Sierra Cosworth.

And if the massive rear aero piece isn’t enough, there’s a large second lip spoiler mounted on the trunk. It’s certainly not subtle, nor is it everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s in keeping with the character of the car as a whole and lets you know that every drive is going to be a blast.

Related: A Detailed Look Back At The Ford Escort RS Turbo

For Many Blue Oval Fans, The Escort RS Cosworth Is The Holy Grail

Black 1994 Escort Cosworth parked
via Bring A Trailer

For some people, the Ford Escort RS Cosworth is a distillation of everything they love in a car. It’s fast, loud, unpredictable and defies convention. Yes, the BMW M3 is a beautiful, refined and powerful car. But Cossie is just as quick and never takes herself too seriously. It’s light but still very fast. With no bad behavior or image to uphold, the Ford Escort RS Cosworth is happy to give you endless fun.

Sources: Ford, Supercar Nostalgia, Bring A Trailer


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