"In light of the Ford Motor Company completing production of the first of its new Ford GT we take a look at one man’s project to bring back another racing legend into the 21st Century. Project 917. Ian Howe is "
Lead image Influx/James Lipman
Ford introduced its first-ever RS-badged car, the Escort RS1600, in 1970. Over the forty years since then the Rallye Sport identity has been an important part of Ford’s sporting image.
Over the years the Rallye Sport name has been applied to many spectacular road cars – many of which have proved their point by winning in all sorts of road races as well as numerous rallies and rallycross events. The ‘RS’ badge has never been applied lightly and each and every model and derivative has offered outstanding performance, road holding, vehicle safety and value for money.
There are many reasons people become RS owners. One of the most common is that “My Dad always had an RS”. There’s something down to earth about the RS Ford that has been passed down from father to son time and time again, or in some cases, father to daughter.
Another common refrain amongst members is that a wide eyed kid saw their first Escort Cosworth winning the Monte Carlo rally in 1994 and ever since dreamed of owning a rally car. And the genius of the RS Ford is that it remains relatively accessible, yet manages to remain desireable and in some cases, downright exotic.
Perhaps the RSOC have it right on the money with their “Pride, Passion and Performance” slogan.
So many RS owners take great and unique sort of pride in their cars, and ownership of an RS badged car certainly becomes a passion when the rising costs of insurance and fuel – not to mention restoration and maintainence – fails to deter an owner from taking their RS out to a show or local meet. And the performance, after all, is definitely there.
Whether you are after exceptional road handling and speed or comfort and class the RS has it all. It doesn’t matter which model you fall in love with –and this is why the RS brand has endured over time and been attributed to many Ford models right up to an including the latest 2010 Ford Focus RS500.
In the late eighties The Ford RS owners club was formed by a group of enthusiasts who wanted to celebrate this heritage. Now it’s a thriving international club catering for all RS Models built by Ford since 1969 – from highly modified and track-prepped cars to the meticulous standards of the Concours Competition.
The club has an active schedule of events run by local groups of enthusiasts up and down the country. These events are usually a chance to view some of the best kept RS models out there and meet their dedicated owners, or perhaps find that hard-to-source part you require to complete a complete restoration on your own cherished RS.
Some events include the opportunity to test your RS on a track and on ‘central’ groups day you can run the ¼ Mile drag strip at
To find out more about the RSOC visit http://www.rsownersclub.co.uk/
Gallery Images courtesy Ford Media
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