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The Mk II Escort RS2000 story in Australia starts back in 1976 when Ford imported a batch of 25 German-built RS2000s, 25 being the important number to satisfy the Aussie Touring Car homologation rules of the day, giving Ford a ticket into the two-litre class of local touring car racing where guys like Bob Holden, a former Bathurst winner, went on to compete with other two-litre contenders such as Toyota Celicas and Dolomite Sprints. The German cars were snapped up by race teams, and since only 25 of these ultra-competitive cars were imported and with Bathurst heritage and the sort of exposure that racing brings, they were naturally sought after and developed a bit of a cult following.
Ford naturally reacted to this and, with an existing plant in Sydney already churning out Mk IIs, it seemed logical to produce the RS2000 locally, however, a number of complications and procrastinations, including the fact that the much-revered ‘RS’ moniker in Europe is a commonly used insult in Oz, meant that it was almost three years later that RS2000s began rolling out of the Homebush factory. Uniquely, in Australia, the RS2000 was available with four doors and 880 of these were made in comparison to 1,500 two-door cars. So, whilst people in Australia did slightly favour the 2-door version, it's clear that locals didn't directly feel that sports versions necessarily had to have only two doors. Probably, the fact that some of the fastest locally produced muscle cars were four-doors was a factor as well as the whole notion of a four-door not being 'sporty' wasn't as entrenched in the mindset of Australian enthusiasts as it was over here.
However the Australian cars were not mechanically identical to their European cousins lacking the radius arms, alloy sump/ bell housing etc. and the 2.0-litre single-overhead-camshaft 'Pinto' engine, but were effectively a standard 2-litre Mk II with the distinctive droop-snoot front end, RS alloys, all-black interior and RS graphics. Mind you, with 94bhp and a torquey delivery, a relatively close-ratio four-speed gearbox and a weighbridge ticket of about 950kg, the Mk II RS2000 was remarkably quick for a 4-cylinder car and it was really only rotary-engined Mazdas that could stay with a two-litre Escort.
This lovely, four-door, example dates from 1979 beginning life at Ford’s Homebush plant near Sydney and, according to the Letter of Authenticity from the RS Owners Club, is a genuine RS2000. It’s one of probably less than a dozen four-door cars to have returned to its spiritual home and having spent most of its life in a very favourable climate, has never required major bodywork and appears to be in lovely condition. The Signal Yellow paintwork retains a deep shine, the black window surrounds are in good shape, the engine bay is showroom standard and the RS alloys have been refurbished and fitted with fresh Pirellis. The interior, however, has been fully refurbished and sports the correct RS instruments and steering wheel and the black leather ‘Fishnet’ Recaros are European-spec as opposed to the more basic Scheel ones fitted from new. It has also been converted to run on lead-free petrol and has just sailed through an MOT with ‘no advisories’.
This is a very rare fast Ford, a worthy addition to any collection and would certainly be a conversation starter at RS Owners meets where very few people would have seen another one.