Ford Escort RS2000

The escort RS2000 was the last car to be introduced to the AVO production range, introduced in the June of 1973. The car fitted nicely into the AVO range with its performance almost comparable to the complex RS1600, but with the reliability and ease of maintenance as the Mexico.

The original name for the car was to be the "Puma", but it was decided to keep with the RS tradition and so it was re-named the RS2000.

The car used the same type 49-body shell as the Mexico and RS1600. Fortunately, there was a new engine in use at ford, the 2-litre overhead cam pinto design, which Ford then decided to use instead. Fords then had the major problem to persuade the new bulky pinto engine to fit into the engine bay, which was something it had never been meant to do. The only way of achieving this was by discarding the engine driver cooling fan and replacing it with a thermostatically controlled Kenlowe fan. The engine produced 100bhp (2bhp more than in the Cortina).

The gearbox was the German type e-box and was totally different from the RS1600. They used a final drive of 3.54:1. The car was launched in England on 11th October 1973 priced at £1586.

It was claimed that the first 2000 cars were built between the June and September of 1973, and were reserved for the German market, which is why British buyers could not get hold of the cars until the October of that year.

Although group 1 homologation was achieved (5000 units built) it is now accepted that around 3500 RS2000 cars actually left the production line at Aveley. It has been claimed however, that over 1000 cars were produced on the Ford production line at Saalouis in Germany, although no solid evidence of this is to hand.

The early cars were fitted with the superb German scheel seats, but these were replaced with Fords own RS cloth seats for the British market.

At the AVO factory Ford built 4 Mexico estates, with one of these being later converted into a RS2000 estate by the request of Charlie Reynolds. To our knowledge this car still exists and is located in Bristol.

When it comes to works competition cars, the only ones to be built by Ford were AOO 674L and the two PVX cars, which ran in the Tour of Britain in 1974.

AOO was originally a left-hand drive German built 1973 Mexico spec shell, which was later to be changed to right hand drive for the Mintex Dales rally. Ford had to up-date its rear suspension from 73 Mexico spec to the 74 Mexico/RS2000 system. This entailed fitting a transverse member at the four end of the boot floor, which can best be described as an internal cross member, on to which the rear shockers locate. They are thus much nearer the ideal vertical position than before and mounted so that they will not punch holes in the floor, which, is what non turreted escort shockers required a reputation for doing.

As for the engine, it was along way away from the glossy catalogue description. A total of 165bhp at 6750rpm and 152lb ft torque at 4000rpm, is quite an improvement on the standard figures. The head was polished and ed with valves from the V6 Capri and given a 10.9:1 compression ratio. Janspeed made up the exhaust manifold to Borehams specification. Carburation was by twin 45 DCOE webbers on conventional stud manifold.

The car was entered into the Mintex Dales under group 2 and was on average 80bhp under powered against its competitors, but still managed to win the event. In early 1974 the car was given to Gerry Marshall to allow him to fully familiarise himself with the car so that he could enter the 1974 Tour of Britain. This was done because the RS2000 car was totally new to Gerry as he was originally a Vauxhall team driver.

Next came PVX 445M and PVX 446M, which were both entered into the 1974 Avon Motor Tour of Britain. This was an event designed to incorporate rallying and circuit racing into one event, featuring rally and race drivers from all over the world. These cars were all entered under group 1 classification (designed as a cheap form of motor sport). The event ran between the 12th and 14th of July 1974, and consisted of 5 race circuits and 11 special stages. The first leg covered 36 hours and a lot of driving. The drivers of these cars were Roger Clark and Jerry Marshall.

The cars were build almost identical except for the drivers seat in the car that Roger drove, as this was changed for a Terry Hunter design, which was Rogers preferred seat at that time. Borehams secret weapon unveiled when the cars arrived at pre event scrutineering was that the RS2000 have somehow been homologated with twin downdraft solex carburettors. Certainly 140bhp maybe even 150bhp was available.

At the end of this long and tiring event, the two RS2000s finished a respectable 1st and 2nd place respectively.

An RS2000, driven by Tony Pond, entered and won the 1975 Tour of Britain. This was the last time an RS2000 was entered into an event by a works team. The AVO factory was closed in December 1974 to make way for the development and manufacture of the MK2 escort.