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This identification guide / buyers guide has been written for those interested in the Ford Escort MK1 RS2000 (For the MK1 RS1600, click here). The MK1 RS2000, along with the RS1600, have become very desirable collector cars due to their success in motorsport, most notably in rallying. Like many collector cars, the RS2000 was built on the standard MK1 coupe bodyshell (with some difficult to spot modifications), and therefore potential for "replicas" in this particular model is significant. This guide attempts to provide information about the MK1 RS2000 so people can confirm whether the cars they are looking at purchasing or restoring are in fact genuine cars.

This guide provides information and identification criteria for external features, interior features, vehicle options and of course the relevant engine and chassis numbers which were unique to the MK1 RS2000.

Some statistics:

Number produced: 5,334 units built (3,759 sold in the UK market)

Period of Manufacture: July 1973 - mid 1975

Please note that this page has been drafted as a guide only, and should not be relied upon without seeking professional advice. We hope you find this guide interesting and useful, and really appreciate it if you would share Classic Register and like our Facebook page!

1. Exterior Features - Ford Escort MK1 RS 2000

The MK1 RS2000 had the following external features which make a good starting point for identification of a genuine car:

  • MK1 coupe body shell (Type 49), being a strengthened version of the standard Escort shell. Check for  reinforced suspension legs under the front mudguards and additional strengthening plates on the inner front mudguards, around the strut tops.
  • Side stripe / bonnet stripe decals (2 alternative designs available).
  • Safety glass all round, with laminated windscreen.
  • Anti-burst door locks.
  • Air extraction vents behind / below rear window.
  • Aluminium grille with black painted centre. (RS MK1 models always had circular headlights, as opposed to square standard lights)
  • Chrome rear bumper and front corner bumpers.
  • Steel 4 stud wheels with two tone dark grey paint and RS logo, being 5.5” X 13” in size with 165SR x 13, having radial ply tubeless tyres. These wheels should have part number 'H71AB 1007 AC' or description '13x5½-H2' cast into one of the spokes. Note - some wheels carry no markings so dont be too worried about this.
  • Optional four-spoke RS alloy wheels (fitted to most RS2000’s now).
  • Anti-lift aero-foil on driver’s side windscreen wiper.
  • RS2000 badges on front quarter panels and LHS bootlid.
2. Interior Features - Ford Escort MK1 RS 2000

The Ford Escort RS2000 MK1 had the following original interior features. Note, many of these features are not necessarily unique to the RS2000, and may have been shared amongst other escort models in the MK1 range.

 

Instruments:

  • Instrument cluster with speedometer, odometer, tachometer, battery condition indicator, fuel, oil pressure and water temperature, plus warning lights for ignition, oil pressure and main beam direction indicators.

 

Steering Wheel:

  • Three spoke flat RS sports steering wheel with padded imitation leather rim and with collapsible steering column (Diameter 35.6 cm).

 

Switches:

  • Switches for side / head lights, heater fan, windscreen wipers four way hazard and heated backlight. Starter / ignition switch. Direction indicators, main and dipped beam, headlamp flasher and horn operated from single control stalk mounted on the steering column, Floor mounted, foot operated washer and wipers.

 

Materials / Fabrics:

  • Washable black headlining, fitted interior carpets, padded vinyl dash top, luggage compartment mat, dark grey cloth seats, aluminium door scuff plates, padded sun visors.

 

Other features:

  • Heated rear window
  • Fully reclining individual front bucket seats with anti-tip device.
  • Remote floor mounted gearshift.
  • Safety styled door handles and window winders.
  • Dipping rear view mirror.
  • Ashtray in fascia and rear ashtrays in side panels and Cigar lighter in front.
  • Heater and demister.
  • Face level air vents, combined with demister nozzles.
  • Rear grab handles with coat hangers and one front without hanger.
3. Original Paint and Interior Colours / Codes - Ford Escort MK1 RS 2000

The Ford Escort RS2000 was originally available in the following paint colours listed below, and demonstrated in the images. The colour of the corresponding side stripes is also given next to the colour. The paint code is listed on the cars chassis plate under "Colour", where the Ford code will be listed. The colour is also mentioned on the AVO plate, which provides an additional point of confirmation.

  • Diamond White (Ford paint code: B / Du Pont: 42590LH)

- (Blue decals OR red pinstripe / coachstripe)

  • Sebring Red (Ford paint code: DN or N / Ditzler: 72076, Du Pont: 42588LM)

- (Red decals OR black pinstripe / coachstripe)

  • Daytona Yellow (Ford paint code: T / Ditzler: 81944)

- (Yellow Ochre decals OR black pinstripe / coachstripe)

  • Modena Green (Ford paint code: M / Du Pont: 43139LH)

- (Green decals OR black pinstripe / coachstripe)

  • Olympic Blue (Ford paint code: E / Du Pont: 43189L)

- (Blue decals OR black pinstripe / coachstripe)

  • Stardust Blue Metallic (Ford paint code: 3 / Ditzler: 33122)

- (Blue decals OR black pinstripe / coachstripe)

Note, if a car was special order, the code "Y" would appear on the chassis plate, and an individual colour applied, which would hopefully be described in the vehicles order records.

Codes thanks to paintref.com. At Paintref.com you can check these and colour chips yourself by searching their database.

4. Chassis Number - Ford Escort MK1 RS 2000

Location: The chassis number is located in two positions on an Escort MK1 RS2000. Firstly, it is stamped into the aluminium Ford chassis plate (under the heading "Vehicle No."), which is pop rivited to the front bonnet slam panel. Secondly, the number is stamped into the body panel on the top of the right hand side suspension tower. The numbers in both locations should of course match, and in a fully original car, will also be stamped on the engine block.

Format: A Ford Escort RS2000 should have a chassis number in the following format, subject to the decoding guide below:

MK1 RS2000 (example only) Chassis Number: BFATNP54456

1st digit: (Vehicle Source):

  • B = Ford Britain / C = Ford Britain affiliate company / G =Ford Germany

2nd digit (Assembly Plant): 

  • B = Halewood / F = Aveley / C = Saarlouis / K = Sydney

3rd digit (Model):

  • A = Escort.

4th digit (Body Type):

  • T = 2 door saloon

5th digit (Year of Manufacture):

  • 1973 = N / 1974 = P / 1975 = R

6th digit (Month of Manufacture):

  • 1973 : (Jan = J,  Feb = U, Mar = M,  Apr = P, May = B,  Jun = R Jul = A, Aug = G, Sep = C, Oct = K, Nov = D, Dec = E)
  • 1974 = (Jan = L, Feb = Y, Mar = S, Apr = T, May = I, Jun = U, Jul = M, Aug = P, Sep = B, Oct = R, Nov = A, Dec = G)
  • 1975 = (Jan= C, Feb = K, Mar = D, Apr = E, May = L, Jun = Y, Jul = S, Aug = T, Sep = J, Oct = U, Nov = M, Dec = P)

7th – eleventh digit (Serial Number):

  • Individual vehicle serial number for that particular month (between 00001 – 99999)

 

5. Engine Number - Ford Escort MK1 RS 2000

Engine Number Prefix:

The RS2000 should have an engine block with the number "20" cast into it in a large font (see images). The MK1 RS2000 used a Ford Pinto 2L engine, and the casting mark "20" makes a starting point for correct identification. Many people replace original engines with more common "205" or "202" Ford Pinto blocks, so look out for those large casting numbers as well.

In addition to this, like most other Fords, an original car will actually have the 7 digit chassis number of the car stamped into the flat area of the engine block. This can be replicated, like many things, but if it has the same chassis number as on the chassis plate, then its likely to be the original engine.

Location:

The engine size prefix and number stamping is located on the exhaust port side of the engine block. It is generally described as being below the number 2 exhaust port. There you will see a flat area where the stamping is, and below that, the number "20" casting mark. Note, blocks from different years may have the casting mark in different locations, and the location described here is just one example.

 

 

 

6. Chassis plate and AVO plate details - Escort RS2000 MK1

Chassis Plate additional information:

The following information should display in the other areas of the Vehicle ID plate for a RS2000 MK1, with the corresponding titles seen on the attached chassis plate image (note the attached image is just an example of the layout and not from an RS2000):

  • Type =

- Digit 1 (B = Britain, C = Ford Britain affiliate company, G =Ford Germany)

- Digit 2 (A = Escort)

- Digit 3 (T = 2 door)

- Digit 4 (Each represents a model year per the chassis number decoding above. E.g. N = 1973)

- Digit 5 & 6 = Engine code (same as below, "NE")

  • Drive Code = (R or 1 for RHD, 2 or L for LHD)
  • Engine CodeNE (being a 1998cc RS2000)
  • Version Code = Y (being RS2000's version code)
  • Transmission Code = (Should be either "1" or "5", being codes for manual transmission)
  • Axle Code = Z ( being the 3.54:1 difff used in the RS2000)
  • Colour Code = (see various Ford Codes in paint section. E.g., "E" for Olympic Blue)
  • Trim Code = A1 (being black cloth, which was standard on the RS20000)

 

Body / AVO plate:

The body plate or AVO (Advanced Vehicle Operations) plate as it is usually called, can also assist in the identification of a genuine MK1 RS2000. The AVO plate is located to the right of centre slam panel (if you are standing in front of the car), and will have the letters "AVO" and the original colour name printed on the plate  a few lines below that. The location is described again in the images, with an example of a plate attached.

 

7. Factory Optional Features - Ford Escort MK1 RS 2000

The Ford Escort RS2000 MK1 had the following options available as new:

  • Fire proof rear bulkhead.
  • Map reading light.
  • Full roll cage.
  • Front seats safety harness.
  • Sump guard.
  • Bilstein front struts and rear shocks.
  • Oil cooler.
  • Battery isolator switch.
  • Wheel arch extensions.
  • Console and clock wood trim.
  • Twin Oscar 6” driving lamps.
  • Drivers seat headrests.
  • Rear quarter vents.
  • Vinyl roof (only available with pinstripe, not larger side decals).
  • Rallye Sport Wheels (5.5” x 13") or Rallye Sport Wheels (6” x 13”).
  • Limited slip differential.
  • Metallic paint.
Mechanical features

Engine:
4 cylinder in line 1601cc (97.68cu in) with twin overhead camshafts.

Fuel System:
Mechanical pumpwith Twin 40 DHLA DELLORTO carbies.

Transmission / diff:
Four -speed synchromesh gearbox, Final drive 3.77:1.

Body:
Steel integral construction, safety glass all round with laminated windscreen. Anti-burst door locks. Air extraction vents below rear window. MK1 RS2000's were built using a Type 49 bodyshell. This was a strengthened version of the standard Escort shell and there are various things you can look for to identify this type of shell. Check for  reinforced suspension legs under the front wings and additional strengthening plates on the inner wing, around the front strut tops. On the underside of the car make sure that the car has rear radius arms fitted. These mount to the back axle and run forward and affix to the floor. Also check that the chassis rails are double skinned and have a look at the boot floor which should have 9 bolts protruding (used to fit a stone deflector - very few cars had this). The RS2000 also had flared front wheel arches used to accommodate extra wide wheels

Suspension:
Front: Independent coil springs, MacPherson struts with integral dampers and stabilizer bar. Rear: Live Axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs. Telescopic shock absorbers.

Brakes:
Front - disc brakes, diameter 9.625in (24.44cm), swept area 190.0sq in (1225.5sq cm). Vacuum servo-assistance. Rear - drum brakes, diameter 9.00in (22.86cm), swept area 96sq in (619.2sq cm). Vacuum servo-assistance.

Steering:
Rack and pinion steering.