The Ford Escort Cosworth is one of the coolest homologation specials of all time and probably the most significant Ford hot hatch of all time. It’s also extremely rare, especially if you want one in good condition and without any modifications.
Americans only got a small sample of the Ford hot hatch magic before the life of the Focus was so abruptly cut. And so, enthusiasts probably never got excited about the classic hot hatchbacks which made the Focus RS possible.
Between the Cosworth engine and the whale tail design, it’s pretty easy to see why the Escort is special. Plus, we believe a barn find like this is worth checking out just because Ken Block owns a 1991 Cosworth Group A rally car. Also, Jeremy Clarkson had one.
The Escort Cosworth was launched in 1992 and cost £25,000 in Britain. That might not sound like much, but it would be £55,000 in today’s money, equivalent to $71,600. Wow!
It had a bespoke body that was hand-built by Germans and a novel turbocharged engine that could get it to 60 mph in 6 seconds and on to 140 mph. Basically, if you loved driving like a hooligan in the 1990s, you bought one of these, which is why insurance premiums were insane at the time. Perhaps now you understand why a stock, unmodified and accident-free example is hard to find.
Europe’s 90s hot hatch hero
The Escort RS Cosworth was produced as a 3-door hatchback at the Rheine factory in Germany. While it somewhat resembled a normal Escort, it was one of the first production cars with real downforce, thanks in part to the body kit which included those iconic double wings.
Only the roof and doors were the same as on a normal Escort. And the mods under the hood were even more extreme. Like most cheap cars, the Escort had a FWD layout. However, this was upgraded with a longitudinal engine and 4×4. Can you imagine putting the engine the other way in a Toyota Corolla? Well, you can because of the 2JZ swap they did for the GR Corolla drift car.
The engine was also quite special. Officially, the Cosworth YBT turbocharged 2.0-liter produced 224 hp. However, tuners have found they could get almost 4 times the output from this block. Again, this was THE hot hatch for performance freaks in the 1990s.
And Top Gear magazine has just jumped onto the Barn Find bandwagon by posting their own car detailing videos. Perhaps this is the British equivalent of finding the perfect Mustang GT350 sitting for 40 years. The Escort Cosworth has only been in a barn for 11 years, but this has already done a number on its paint. Thankfully, the interior isn’t that dirty, and mouse droppings have been kept to a minimum.