Escort Mk3 RS1600i
Ford Escort Mk3 RS1600i
Return of the RS homologation special Escorts. Looks much like an XR3i, but the running gear and much of the trimmings are bespoke.
The standard fitment was a 195/50HR15 radial tyre on a 6J wheel.
Codenamed Erika during its development process, the Ford Escort Mk3 was the first Escort to feature front-wheel drive and to come in hatchback form. When it arrived in 1980 the Escort Mk3 came as a three- or five-door hatch or there was a three-door estate (a five-door estate arrived in 1983); buyers could choose from 1.1, 1.3 or 1.6-litre petrol engines. At first only a manual gearbox was offered but from November 1982 the 1.6-litre engine could be specified as an auto.
Part of the early line-up was the sporty XR3 with a 96bhp carburetted 1598cc engine; the 105bhp injected XR3i superseded this in October 1982. Just a month later the 115bhp RS1600i arrived, developed to satisfy Group A race regulations.
Ford had a busy year in 1984 with the launch of the Escort Cabriolet as well as a diesel engine for the more prosaic models. But the ultimate Escort Mk3 was launched in this year too: the 132bhp RS Turbo which came only in white and featured an eye-catching bodykit. In 1986 the Escort Mk3 was replaced by the Mk4.