Cup Rally, when Ford’s 1-3-5-6-8 finishing order pulverised extensive opposition. The Mexico was popular in the showroom. More than 10,300 were sold between 1970 and 1975.

An even larger seller was the Escort RS2000. Although not conceived for motor sports, it seized a hatrick of giant-killing victories on the 1975 and 1976 Tours of Britain, whilst perfecting a balance between driving pleasure and affordability.

The first and second editions of Escort RS2000 were practical performers, developed around the Ford Cortina’s 2.0 litre SOHC engine. The four-speed gearbox was unique, as was the effective short shift gear change. The 100 bhp RS2000 was introduced in October 1973. Performance was midway between Mexico and RS1600 yet the plump power band made it an everyday favourite that sold over 30,000 units in two generations between 1973 and 1980 across Europe.

The RS1800 was a second edition Escort with advanced seventies 16-valve engine that existed to compete and was the RS hand-made rarity. One that sipped fuel at a modest 26mpg whilst delivering 0-60 mph acceleration in 9 seconds and topping 110 mph.

Not all early RS Fords were Escorts. The Capri RS2600 developed by Ford of Germany premiered fuel injection for production European Fords. Kugelfischer mechanical injection straddled the iron Ford 2.6 litre/150 bhp V6 and prompted 126 mph and a dizzy 0-60 mph time of 7.3 seconds. Racing RS2600s secured both the European and German touring car championships. Fewer than 3500 Capri RS2600s were manufactured, but demonstrated that the RS approach could also deliver a more sophisticated product.

Throughout the 1973-74 fuel crisis, Ford kept faith with the RS emblem. The Capri RS3100 entered the showrooms and was the successor to the German RS Capri, which competed around the World with an advanced Cosworth 32-