Words and photos courtesy of Yeow Yi Fan
The 1970s were the golden age of Ford’s rallying exploits and the Mark II Escort continued its predecessor’s unchallenged reign on virtually every racing competition it participated in. The second installment of Ford of Europe’s Rallye Sport offering, the RS1800 was designed specifically for competitive rallying. Under the bonnet is a 1.8-litre 4-cylinder developing 115 bhp and 120 ft-lb which sounds puny by modern standards but when you have less than 1 ton to carry, it must be a hoot to zip around in.
Anyway, I hold this RS in high regards not because it is a masterpiece. Far from that in fact as this is after all only a Minichamps. This is one of the most difficult to find pieces amongst my current fleet as Minichamps allegedly made only 660 pieces. I also adore the styling of these 70s Escorts especially the Mark 2s. Sure, the Mark 1s have the Coke-bottle curves but I am more of a boxy guy. These plus the thrill of finding one combined to make this one of my most treasured additions ever.
I also remember when I grew up in the 90s someone in my neighbourhood was driving a Mk 2 Escort. Back in those days (and still is today), people were driving Corollas and Civics while you get the occasional Lancers. Then there was this weird looking Ford box-on-wheels in a weird gold-yellow-orange kind of paint that somehow stood out. I remember ‘inspecting’ this car to look for clues as to the car’s identify. There it was, ‘ESCORT’ boldly claimed on the left of the trunk… (Disclaimer: That particular Escort I saw was obviously not an RS.)
I bought this Escort on eBay at a total cost of €184.80 from France. The downside of being a collector in the far east is that your shipping fee is usually 1/3 of the total purchase cost! The purchasing experience was relatively positive except for the detached spoiler. Nothing a little super glue cannot fix!
As far as I know, Ford made mostly white Escort RS1800s with maybe one or two in red. You have to admit though there is no better colour scheme for the car especially with the dual-blue stripes running across the flanks.
The rear side is my most favourite angle of the RS1800. You can see part of the rear suspension plus the ducktail spoiler that amplifies its sporting credentials. The stylistic tones are further enhanced by the very cool RS1800 script. Car design was so restrained back then before the birth of fake vents and imitation diffusers.
Enter the cabin and that is when things begin to disappoint. Everything looks as it is made entirely of cheap black plastic. Not saying the actual interior is The Continental but the finesse here could have been much better. Then again, cars from this era do have notoriously cheap-looking black plastic interiors.
Detailing on the central console and some proper gauges provide some welcome colour relief to this black void. Bonus mark is given to Minichamps for even bothering to detail the window cranks.
Lift up the bonnet and you will be greeted by a jewel of an engine replica. Yes, there is nothing much to see here but the detailing is very good with a pleasant mixture of colours and the usual cabling and plumbing. One thing I noticed is that the hinges for both the bonnet and trunk feel industrial-grade. I have no problem setting them at any position I wish.
Also, the engine appears to sit a little too low. Or at least much lower than the actual car based on the pictures I have seen. Engine bay decal lends this an added air of authenticity.
At the back, there is a sizable boot and that is just about it!
This is a real definition of a clean and simple diecast model. Not that you should but it could be a perfect canvas for anyone wanting to create a customized rally competitor. I reckon the potential on this is limitless or you could just get the racing variants which Minichamps has made (which may be sealed bodies!)…
If you flip over the Escort, you get some minimal detailing on the undercarriage. Probably the most ungainly sight of the model and no, there are no functioning suspensions.
Surely there are flows? Yes, I hate those injection runners of the headlights and assembly holes on the headlight housings that give the impression of ‘headlight irises’. Not going to do anything about it since I like this piece so much I could look past them. My window frames do not feel securely installed onto the doors. I suppose these are the only complaints I have.
Oh, and if I could, I would slap a set of Rostyles to make it more badass. Thank you for reading and happy collecting!