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Lot 55: Ford Escort RS 1800

Car, H&H Sales Limited (13 March 2010)

When Ford announced the second generation Escort in January 1975, there was a specialised top-of-the-range model, the RS1800, which was intended for use in motorsport, particularly rallying. Only available in two-door saloon form, the RS1800 production car featured a 115bhp/1.85-litre version of the 16-valve/twin-overhead-cam Cosworth BDA engine (Ford had first introduced the 1.6-litre version of this power unit in 1970), backed by a four-speed gearbox. The chassis layout was similar to all other Mk II Escorts, the structure being of unit-construction, with MacPherson strut independent front suspension, a solid rear axle, and with front wheel disc brakes.

During 1975, the first RS1800s were built, virtually by hand, and 'KKL 280P' (a Kent identity) was the first of a series of such Escort RS1800 rally cars to be prepared by the Ford RS dealership, Haynes of Maidstone, and had great success in the hands of John Taylor, who also managed the programme and oversaw the car's maintenance. Although this was not strictly a 'Works' machine, and was not maintained by the Ford Motorsport workshops, it was always built to the latest factory specification.

Because ex-European Rallycross Champion John Taylor was also very active with the Ford Motorsport operation, as a test and development driver, he made sure that his own machine was running to the latest specification. On some occasions, too, 'KKL 280P' would be drafted into a large factory team entry.

Originally built as a standard RS1800 road-car at Halewood, in June 1975 (and therefore one of the very first to be constructed), it was then completely re-built and prepared for international rallying, with a reinforced body shell, a 2-litre engine from Terry Hoyle. ZF transmission, four-wheel disc brakes and every other 'Works'-standard piece of equipment. It was first registered in August 1975. Always competitive in John Taylor's hands, and almost entirely in the British Isles, it was rallied for two seasons, winning the Irish Tarmac Championship of 1976.

Once a second Haynes of Maidstone car was completed, 'KKL 280P' was then sold to Stuart Pegg (a South African rally co-driver of the period), and driven on his behalf by competitors such as Roger Clark, Jan Hettema, Malcolm Wilson and Andy Dawson. Then, in 1982, it was sold to David Sutton, who traded it on to a French customer. At this point it was converted to left-hand-drive, and carried the French number of 7087 SR42, for use in Europe.

After returning to the UK in 2004, the Ford was then restored to its former UK specification, livery, and British registration mark. Because 'KKL 280P' retains the same body shell with which it ended its period rallying career, and original Terry Hoyle engine cylinder block, it ranks as one of the most original Escort RS1800s in existence and is to be sold with a number of historic photographs plus other documentation.

Lot Details
Auction Car
H&H Sales Limited, Stoneleigh Park
TypeCar
Lot Number55
Estimate£90000-£110000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£99000
Year1975
Condition rating0
Registration numberKKL280P
Mileage-
Chassis numberBBATPG09584
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)2000
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors