The following article was written by Liam Kirkness, who owns one of
the 25 Mk1 RS2000s that were exported to Australia.
Liam's RS2000 as it looks today
It was 1975 and Ford Australia needed to import 25 Mk1 RS2000s
to qualify for Group C racing. The cars were sent on their way to Australia and arrived in
May 1975. The colours of the cars were 3 Modena Green, 9 Vista Orange, 3 Stardust Silver,
6 Olympic Blue, 1 Sebring Red, 1 Daytona Yellow, 1 Diamond White and one unknown. When
they arrived they were prepared for Australian Compliance which involved about thirty
different items, such as:
Clear washer lines were changed to Black rubber.
Australian inertia seat belts and buckles.
Additional lap sash belt for rear.
Fitment of Australian Compliance Plates.
Carbon Canister for Emission Control (Connects to Fuel Tank and Air
Cleaner, to limit the amount of fuel vapour.
Vacuum pressure relief fuel tank cap
Different R/H Door rear view mirror
Adjust the arc on the wipers
Instrument illumination switch (Allows two levels of illumination).
Then after pre-delivery most of the cars went to Ford dealers around
Australia. Some of the cars were kept as road going cars but the majority were converted
to race cars.
My car (the Diamond White RS2000) was owned by Bruce Hodgson who is
a well known Ford Australian race / rally driver. He received his Mk1 and prepared it for
the 1975 Hardie Ferodo 1000 at Bathurst. The car was logged with CAMS (Confederation of
Australian Motor Sport) in October '75. Then he competed in the race were he came 13th
Outright and 6th in the class of 1301cc-2000cc after doing 141 laps.
This is the car at Bathurst in 1975
As far as I know he used the car in the 1976 Castrol International
Rally in Canberra. I am still trying to find proof whether it was the same car. Bruce kept
the car until late 1976 and sold it on. He still retains the original engine as Group One
Spec. The history of the car after that is still not exactly clear, but I think I am the 4th
I found the car by sending letters to all the Ford clubs in
Australia stating I was looking to buy a genuine Mk1 RS2000. It took a while for any
replies but then one day I received a phone call from a guy in Sydney by the name of Tony.
We spoke for about an hour discussing a car that he owned that was a genuine RS and one of
the 25 cars originally imported. I asked him how much and we did a deal. Because of the
distance involved (it's a long way from Perth to Sydney!) I purchased the car via a home
video he shot. The car had been off the road for about seven years and in that time Tony
had stripped the car and painted it. He went to England and purchased quite a lot of new
parts and additional items such as the wheels, centre console, Cibie driving lights.
To cut a long story short, about six months later and after spending
a great deal of money, I finally received the car. It was very dirty and full with boxes
of parts, which I think it took me about a day to sort out. I spent the next few months
finishing the car off to get it ready for licencing. I still came across quite a few
problems, the main one being the engine which was rebuilt into another block.
I have now done about 6,000 kms since the rebuild. I have
changed the head since then to run on unleaded fuel and fitted a milder camshaft. I have
received a lot of good comments about the car and even won an award for 'Top Escort' at
The All Ford Day in October 2000. It was celebrating 75 years of Ford in Australia and
there were about 15 Escorts there.
My car club, The British Ford Owners Club, had organised a display
at Rally Australia and my car was invited to take part. There were only seven cars
allowed. We had a 1965 Mk1 Lotus Cortina, Mk1 Capri RS3100, Mk2 Escort (Flat nose RS),
Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth 4x4, Sierra Cosworth three door, Ka rally car on loan from
Ford Australia (was part of the Ka Championship in Europe) and my car. It was an excellent
show and we got to do a display lap around the Langley Park Special Stage every night. On
the first night we had all the drivers waiting to go on their parade lap standing in the
front of our stand. They walked in and started looking and sitting in our cars. I was
talking to Juha Kankkunen about my car, as he had owned one as a road car. He really liked
it and I took a photo to prove it !!
Top Rally driver Juha Kankkunen, admiring
As you can see it has been pretty interesting so far and hopefully
more to come, as I am still researching my cars history but also the whole 25 cars.
If anybody knows any info that would useful please email me, I would be glad to hear from
Our thanks to Liam for submitting this interesting
article. If anyone would like to contact Liam, he can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org