﹒Imported from the idyllic climates of South Africa
﹒Period Perana rear louvre
Riding high on the crest of its multiple rally victories, Ford broadened its RS Escort range in 1976 with the addition of the Pinto-engined RS2000.
The RS2000 was a rear-wheel-drive sports-oriented version of the Escort Mk2 and was easily identified by its polyurethane beak, which bolted on to the standard Escort's front end and incorporated quadruple headlamps and an aerodynamic sloping grille.
In addition, the RS2000 featured side graphics, a blacked out rear panel and a black rubber lip spoiler on the boot lid.
Like all rear-wheel-drive Escorts, the RS2000 has become increasingly popular in recent years with stratospheric increases in valuations and cars with the correct pedigree going for seriously good money.
This example fits that bill. It's unusual in that it’s a South African-built car and was imported to the UK a few years ago, its current owner buying it through a friend with contacts over there.
Unlike most UK cars, it has never had any bodywork repairs during its life. Indeed, all of the car’s paintwork is original and it's never been restored. That means that it has a few signs of age, none of which detract from its overall appearance and if anything add to its patina.
Although the owner has kept much of the paperwork related to this car while it has been in the UK, much of its early life is not known.
It was built at the SAMCOR factory near Pretoria, South Africa, in 1978, where the company also built Cortinas and V6-engined Granadas as CKD kits for the South African market.
The Escort was largely the same as a UK-spec car but for a few differences, the most notable being opening front quarter lights in the doors as opposed to the one-piece front windows in UK cars.
A Ford Motor Company of South Africa VIN plate appears on the car’s front panel, highlighting its origin.
As well as the full UK V5 showing the date of import, the RS2000 comes with a valid MOT (even though is exempt) to back up its roadworthiness.
The seller also has all of the import paperwork detailing the cars arrival to the UK and proving the pedigree behind it and its original source.
While the exterior of the car has never been restored, the current owner took it upon himself to re-trim the interior which was both worn and sun damaged.
He went to the bother of finding the original seat material and both front seats have been re-trimmed in their original black cloth. New black carpets further enhance the interior’s aesthetic appeal.
All dials and switches operate as they should and the dashboard blanking plate proves that no radio has ever been fitted, further enhancing this car’s originality.
Finished in Venetian Red, the Escort's paintwork is astonishing given that it is 42 years old and has never been resprayed.
As a result, you could forgive it for not being perfect. If you wanted the basis for a concours restoration then this car will be it, as the body is in great condition.
But to do so would possibly detract from this car’s overall appeal as in its current state it looks absolutely stunning.
Get up close, and you'll notice a few imperfections. There's a dent in the offside rear sill and another smaller dent on the near side front scuttle panel, but these are all part of the car’s history and unless you wanted to take some of that away, then in many ways they add to its originality. After all, this is a car that wears all of its original factory paintwork and over 90% of it is in astonishingly good condition.
There are a couple of areas that have been touched in, repairing minor scratches both on the panels and the bumpers, but again these are all part of this remarkable car’s unrestored story. There are others that are spotless, immaculate restorations, but there are none that have this car’s completely untouched factory specification.
Included in the sale are the four spoke RS alloy wheels fitted to the car, which were not those with which it left the factory. However, the original steel sports wheels are included should you wish to put it back to standard.
As with the bodywork, the engine is in fine shape too, with the only difference to the factory standard being the addition of a K&N air filter, which the current owner added to improve performance as well as the engine’s soundtrack.
However, he's been careful to retain the original air box should you wish to put it back to 100% standard specification. The car also comes with a spare starter motor and some spare rear lamp units.
The car starts on the button and soon settles to steady idle with no excessive smoke and the engine sounds very healthy.
This is a car that appeals on many levels. One of those is its overall condition as despite a few very minor cosmetic defects, none of which you immediately notice, it looks a million dollars.
It would very easily convert into a concours standard restoration and if that's the way you wanted to take it then the cost of getting there really wouldn't be prohibitive. But, and it's a big but, what that would do is take away some of this car’s remarkable originality. It's not perfect, but it is absolutely stunning and the very few minor cosmetic defects add more to its patina than a full restoration would take away.
We can't think of a more original RS2000 on the market right now.
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