Escort XR3 RS1600 Turbo


Year 1981
Colour Black

Developed by the legendary Bill Meade and his team prior to the launch of the Ford Escort MK3 in 1980 and according to the vendor this Ford Escort XR3 based RS1600T is just 1 of 3 known survivors from the initial 30 cars ever produced.

These cars were the genesis and testing platform for the upcoming, homologated and infamous S1 RS Turbo that was to follow some 5 years later.

Featuring the Series X Pack and LSD along with a carburettor turbo, these cars were pretty much brushed under the carpet so to speak and very few people know of their existence.

This stunning example has benefitted from a quality and extensive rebuild to a very nice show standard, whilst still remaining useable.

Bill Meade and his Ford RS development team were tasked with creating a car that could compete on the market with the likes of the VW Golf GTI. The result was to be a turbocharged Ford Escort MK3. Working with Garrett Airesearch, the team developed a carb fed turbo that would bolt onto the 1.6 CVH engine. The result was a car that could produce 140 bhp with claimed performance figures of 0-60 mph in just 6.7 seconds. These kits were sold through official RS dealerships and it is thought that only 30 kits were ever produced. Of the 30, only 7 were fitted to road cars and the remainder were fitted to the cars that took part in Ford's Escort Turbo Rally Championship. The Ford RS development team gathered the data from these cars and following discussions with Ford, the Series 1 RS Turbo was given the go ahead for production, albeit with a few tweaks.

This particular example was supplied by Jack Hooleys of Nottingham and was a very highly optioned XR3. It was specified with black paint, bronze tinted glass, opening rear quarters, electric windows, tilt and slide sunroof, upper and lower foglights, and the Executive pack with electric aerial, shelf speakers and headlamp washers in the overriders. It was then fitted with the turbo kit - numbered MS-4. 

The specification is as follows;

  • 1.6 carburettor turbo CVH engine with 8.5/1 compression ratio
  • 50 mm double core intercooler
  • TB03 Airesearch oil fed turbo charger
  • Motorsport manifold
  • Coolex 50 double core aluminium radiator
  • 12" electric fan
  • motorsport air box
  • Lucus special distributor with advance and retard built in
  • Motorsport finned alloy rocker cover
  • 4.1 LSD championship special ratio 5 speed gearbox
  • 6x15 Ronal 7 spoke alloy wheels
  • Series X handling pack with Rallye Sport alloy twin fully adjustable roll bar
  • Motorsport fully adjustable insitue bottom arms
  • Series X Rallye Sport solid rear antiroll bar
  • Bilstein shock absorbers
  • Ashley 2.1/4 bore exhaust 

Internally, the XR3 seats have benefitted from a re-trim using the correct and genuine nos blue Laser cloth. A Ford Executive audio pack is fitted and blue bulbs illuminate the clocks and dials.

This is a very, very rare and special car which holds massive significance in the development of both the RS1600i and S1 RS Turbo. It would be a great addition to any RS or modern classic Ford collection.