The Mk1 RS2000 was brought out to exploit a gap between
the existing Escort Mexico and Escort RS1600. Ford felt there was a market for a car with
more power and refinement than the Mexico, but without the higher production and ownership
costs associated with the more complex RS1600. Ford believed that such a model would
appeal to a wider customer audience than the existing 'sporting' Escorts, and would offer
RS motoring at an affordable price. So, unlike the RS1600, the decision to produce the MK1
RS2000 was very much a commercial one rather than to satisfy any motorsport ambitions that
the Ford Motor Company had.
Early Left-hand-drive example
According to Jeremy Walton's excellent book, RS: The Faster Fords, this idea was confirmed by the reaction
of a visiting party of RS factory personnel and dealers from Ford of Germany. Stuart
Turner (Ford's Competition Manager at the time) had arranged for them to see and try the
prototype RS2000 at Brands Hatch and the result was an order worth some £2 million for
The LHD version was announced on July 4th 1973 but it
wasn't until October 11th 1973 that the first RHD version was available for sale in the
The list price when launched in the UK was £1,441,
approximately £200 more than the Mexico but £200 less than the RS1600. The new car
featured a 1993cc OHC 'pinto' engine with aluminium sump, a close-ratio gearbox with
aluminium bellhousing, a higher final drive ratio and a plusher interior cabin.
Unregistered RS2000 parked outside Ford AVO in
The RS2000 was instantly recognisable by its wide
decals along both sides and across the bonnet and boot lid, although there was a 'no cost
option' to delete these and replace them with a more subtle coachline. The car sat on 5.5
inch steel rims with 165 / 13 tyres but the four-spoke RS alloys soon became a popular
A Ford owned RS2000 pictured in 1974
The only modification to the MK1 RS2000 came about in
November 1973 when, like the mainstream Escort models, the vertical rear damper mounting
Back in the early 1970's, the RS2000 offered everything
you could want in a sports saloon. Great handling, performance, practicality, easy
maintenance and affordability. It fitted naturally into the RS line-up and poached sales
from both the Mexico and RS1600.
On sale between 1973 and 1975, the car was extremely
popular and it is estimated that 5,334 examples were built, with 3,759 being for the UK
market. It remained much in demand, even after production ceased, until the MK11 versions
arrived in the summer of 1975.
The Other MK1 RS Escorts
To find out more about the MK1 Mexico, Twin Cam and
RS1600, please click the link below.