valve V6 unit. Using a Ford cylinder block, this Capri harnessed over 400 horsepower and sped up to 175 mph.

Into the eighties the Escort changed over to front drive - so Focus RS will be far from the first RS to use driven front wheels - and the derivatives kept coming. They included the first production fuel-injected Escort RS1600i and Ford’s first turbocharged European Ford, the Escort RS Turbo. The second generation Escort RS Turbo, made between 1986 and 1989, established a new RS one-model production record of 37,024 units.

The mid-engined, four-wheel drive RS200 was conceived as Ford’s purpose-built reply to the powerful Group B rally cars. Technically, the RS200 was one of the most sophisticated competition and road cars of all time, a fact reflected in its design construction and execution. The 200 examples were made between 1983 and 1986. After a brief competition life due to major change in regulations, the RS200 programme closed in 1986 with many national titles to its credit. The RS200 followed an aborted Escort RS1700T project, and delivered the most rewarding road driving experience since the GT40. Like those Le Mans-winning Fords, the RS200 was a pure two-seater and had some Ford production components incorporated in a breathtaking “clean sheet” design.

Its in-line, mid-mounted BDA variant, a 1803cc BDT with turbo charging, delivered 250 to 620 bhp in varying road to rally cross specifications. Offset within a hybrid aluminium monocoque chassis, was a twin shaft FFD- Ricardo 4x4 transmission. The 2-door body was produced primarily in glass fibre supported by Aramid and carbon fibre composites.

Often overlooked in the plethora of RS Escorts, Ford also produced two RS Fiestas, the CVH-based 133 bhp RS Turbo from 1990 to 1992, and the RS1800 between 1992 and 1995. The latter packed a Zetec engine of 130 horsepower. Both RS Fiestas had similarly startling 130 mph pace allied to sub-8 second 0-60 mph sprinting abilities.