With Ford’s new Focus RS making all the headlines this week, it seemed only right to look back at the family tree, and look at the skills passed down by previous generations. We could be here all night talking about every single RS, so I’ve set myself the strict rule of one per model. This is it, the best of the RS.
Easily the most contentious to begin with. There will be those who argue against this, and say the RS1600 (the first real RS) was the best, or the mk1 Mexico, or even the RS Cosworth 4WD, and they are all great shouts. So in the end it has to come down to personal taste, and for me it has to be the MK2 RS2000. The dropsnout takes some getting used to but once you do it just looks great. The Rs2000 has made many an appearance on TV as Doyles car in the Professionals and then in Lock Stock, not to mention when it was being thrown around rally courses all over the world. This car is seriously cool a great combination of racing pedigree and 70s style.
For the Capri the competition is a lot smaller. Despite success in the 80s in British touring cars the mk2 and mk3 never really ended up being particularly prevelent in Motor Racing. As a result the Capri tended to just have a normal S or later the injection models rather than RS. But for the mk1, racing was all important and this peaked with the rs3100. Quad headlamps and a duck tail spoiler, as well as that little front splitter. This was the real deal. It wasn’t much quicker than a normal 3 litre in road form, but it looked like it was, and when it turned up in European touring cars, it was dominant. Has a capri ever looked cooler than this.
A favourite for car theives in the 1980s means Sierra Cosworths are a rare beast now. But rarest of them all is the RS500. This thing was a monster, the 80s was a time to go crazy for turbos and the Sierra RS was no exception. If previous Fords had put working men in touching distance of more exotic machines, the Sierra RS500 took them past and kept going. Tuned by Tickford the 500 had numerous upgrades to the standard cosworth the most important, as always, being a bigger turbo. It’s a shame the Police were in Rover SD1s or they might of caught one. This car put giant killing on the map.
The Focus is the easiest of them all. The last two were good, that’s without question. But there’s an elephant in the room, and it’s front wheel drive! Most people thought RS stood for Rear Steer. So now the new one has turned up with its all wheel drive it automatically goes to the top.
The Best of the Rest
It wouldn’t be a list of RS cars without mentioning the RS200. Ford took Group B rallying to a new level when they brought this car out. It was immensely powerful and agile and was ready to take the fight to the 4wd Audi. Unfortunately it had a habit of crashing, and even worse, into spectators, and this caused problems with sales, as well as for the Group B rallying itself which was disbanded shortly afterwards. The final honarable mentions are the two Fiesta RS, and the original RS- the Ford 17M from Germany.
Missed off your favourite or disagree with the above, tell us your all time RS list in the comments.