The MkI RS2000 was introduced to exploit a gap between the existing Escort Mexico and Escort RS1600, Ford spotting a niche market for a car with more power and refinement than the Mexico, but without the cost and complexity of the RS1600.
Ford believed that such a model would appeal to a wider audience than the existing 'sporting' Escorts so, unlike the RS1600, the decision to produce the RS2000 was very much a commercial one rather than to satisfy any motorsport ambitions that the company had.
And what a smart move it turned out to be: when Stuart Turner (Ford's Competition Manager) arranged for a group of German dealers to come and try the prototype RS2000 at Brands Hatch, the result was an order worth some £2 million for left-hand-drive cars. The LHD version was duly announced on 4th July 1973 but it wasn't until 11th October that the first RHD versions were available in the UK.
The list price at launch was £1,441, some £200 more than the Mexico but £200 less than the RS1600. The new car featured a 1,993cc OHC Pinto engine with aluminium sump, a close-ratio gearbox with aluminium bellhousing, a higher final drive ratio and a plusher interior.
The RS2000 was instantly recognisable by the 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 (as here) were a popular option.
The only modification to the MkI RS2000 came about in November 1973 when, like the mainstream Escort models, the vertical rear damper mounting was introduced. The car was extremely popular thanks to its great handling and performance, its practicality and ease of maintenance. Around 5,334 examples were built in total, 3,759 for the UK market, before it was replaced by the MkII version in the summer of 1975.
First registered in March 1974, this stunning green RS2000 was extensively restored by the previous owner who kept it from 2000 until 2012. The bodywork was restored and repainted and the engine reconditioned, including converting it to run on unleaded fuel in 2002. The rear axle was rebuilt in 2007, a Janspeed stainless steel exhaust fitted in 2009, and the suspension legs were sand-blasted and powder coated in 2011.
On completion the car was inspected by Rowley Automotive Assessors of Newquay in April 2012 who declared it to be “excellent, almost to concours standard” and that “no mechanical defects were noted”, further stating that it should have an insurance valuation of £23,000 (document on file). The vendor acquired the car in June 2012 and has kept it in storage ever since.
Recently recommissioned for sale, the car is said to remain in excellent condition throughout, flying through its MOT in April 2017 with no advisories recorded. The history file includes sundry invoices documenting the restoration process, various old MOTs back to 2002, a DVLA record of past owners back to 1991 and the aforementioned assessor’s report.
As good an example as we have ever offered, this fine RS2000 is ready to go or show and looks good value at the sensible guide price suggested, this being a model that has soared in value of late.