Launched with the strap line “Simple is Efficient” the third generation Ford Escort was code named “Erika” while in development taking the name from Fords Product Planning Dept leader Erick A. Reikert.
The Escort MKIII went head to head in the market place with the popular Volkswagen Golf which had turned VW fortunes around after the demise of the ‘Beetle’.
Like the Golf the 3rd iteration of the Escort employed front wheel drive, unlike the Golf the Escort was a conservative hatchback retaining some vestige of a three box shape bodywork at the rear, although the tailgate included the rear sloping window.
The 132hp RS Turbo version of the Escort was launched in 1984 with the 5 speed transmission driving the front wheels through a viscous coupling differential that was a world first for a front wheel drive car. The RS Turbo proved a strong competitor in production saloon racing where it rendered the hitherto dominant Ford Capri 2.8i obsolete in the space of 12 months.
In the top photo national radio DJ Mike Smith and Lionel Abbot shared the #25 to win the 1986 Willhire 24 hour race at Snetterton at their second attempt becoming the first two driver team to win the race since it’s inception in 1980. The #32 was driven by Karl Jones, Patrick Watts and Chris Creswell in the 1987 Willhire 24 hours qualifying 2nd, to a Ford Sierra RS Cosworth, and finishing sixth, third in class after a late driveshaft failure. By 1989 the Escort RS Turbo’s driven by Vaughan Richmond, #44 seen at Brands Hatch and Jonathon Harrison, #60 seen at Silverstone, were overwhelmed in class B by half a dozen faster BMW M3’s.
My thanks to Tim Murray on The Nostalgia Forum for the race details on the #32 at Snetterton.
Thanks for joining me on this ‘Turbo Erika’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Americana Thursday. Don’t forget to come back now !