• May 30th 2010 at 11:07AM
  • 18
1997 Ford Escort Rally Car – Click above for high-res image gallery

Long before the Mitsubishi Evo and Subaru Impreza came to prominence in the world of rallying, the Ford Escort often dominated the world's backwoods trails. Today's eBay Find of the Day is one of the last of the line before Ford retired the Escort nameplate after nearly three decades.

This 1997 Escort Cosworth did okay, but it really wasn't one of the more successful in the line. It first competed in 1997 and ran until 2006, when it was used in the X-Games rally competition. The 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four produces over 300 horsepower and 400 foot-pounds of torque. The car currently has a seven-speed FFD gearbox installed, but the original six-speed unit is included in the deal, as is an extra engine and numerous other spares. The starting point is $60,000, and there were no bids on the car as of this writing.

[Source: eBay Motors]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      The car that made me love cars!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh the unspeakable acts I would commit to obtain this piece of rally awesomeness!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I remember the time I wanted an Escort GT. It was 1995, and for some reason, I found it appealing. Instead, I got a Mazda B2300 truck. Looking back, I have no regrets. The Escort was an awful car..
        • 5 Years Ago
        "The Escort was an awful car.."

        We're not talking about the daft American Mazda-beased heap of junk with an Escort badge.

        We're talking about the European Escort, which ran from 1967 to 1998 covering five generations. In 1970, an RS model won the London-Mexico rally and the famed RS Mexico model was born. RS mk1 and mk2 models dominated rallying in the 1970's and into the early 1980's, even after the launch of the FWD mk3 in 1980.

        The RS Cosworth was based on mk5 Escort mechanicals and bodyshell while using a shortened Ford Sierra platform. The road car has a 225bhp, 2 litre turbocharged Cosworth engine with 4WD. It wasn't as successful on the rally scene as the old Escorts, but even so it was a brilliant machine and the road going versions for a while actually appreciated on the used car market. Brilliant cars.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Doug, your last comment doesn't change the fact that your original comment was completely ignorant of Cosworth Escorts and completely irrelevant to the story.
        • 5 Years Ago

        While it's true I never owned one, I never said I never drove one. I drove one (1991 wagon) multiple times up and down the Eastern seaboard (CT to MD and back). My opinion that it was awful was largely based on that experience. The car was loud, slow, and uncomfortable. Further, it had a terrible paint job that lost its clear coat after a few short years. That was a 1991. I was looking into a 1995 GT with the hopes that a higher trim level would bring with it higher quality. I was disappointed to learn that it only brought more content/options. My opinion was not based on gas mileage because gas was cheap. It was not based on the car's ability to fit the family I didn't have. It wasn't based on the parent company's roots (though this car had a large content of foreign parts AND labor.) Those, sir, were YOUR priorities and that's why there are so many cars in a given class.

        Learn to read. Don't add details that weren't there, unless you were part of the buying decision I made 15 years ago.

        By the way....and I'm totally making a wild assumption here.... If you're a veteran, thank you.
        • 5 Years Ago
        These Escorts were VERY different that the ones you're talking about. Ir's like comparing the 08 Tiburon with the 09 Genesis Coupe. They may seem similar, but there's absolutely no competition
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Anyone wanna donate $60k to the "I want this car" fund?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would love to own this car. Looks like a typical street "ricer" at first, but man just to drive that thing on back roads (at least with my limited aka zero off-road rally skill) would be a blast. I love the fuse panel mounted on the dash. Ah, if only there was made a car with function over form.

      I can dream, can't I?
      • 5 Years Ago
      De-lurking here after a few years.....
      This car made me come out of the shadows. I'd been a distant rally fan since the late 70's (magazines, etc), but the first rally I ever attended (Wild West 1995) I met the gracious Carl Merrill with his very thick Maine accent, and his (then) pink Cossie he let me sit in & admire. I believe this featured car is the one he was piloting when he had a heart attack (& died in) on the first stage of the 1998 Prescott Forest Rally (AZ).
      $60k is a bargain given the build quality, history& speed of this Cossie.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Neat find, but dunno if the car and parts are worth the beginning price.
      • 5 Years Ago
      RS200 is the only one better than these.....

      And as for bashing the mazda-ford US version,....don't knock it too hard please...it was the best one we got.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree about the Mazda-Ford Escort GT. The truly bad American Escort GTs were the all-Ford ones Produced from around '86-'90. They didn't handle, corner, or go particularly fast. They were forgettable. All of the Escorts/Tracers produced '91 on were a Protege' platform with mix-and-match Ford and Mazda powertrains. They were better driving and lasted longer.

        The RS200 was a unique car that never got fully developed as a WRC car because of the sudden end to the Group B era in the '80s. Even so, it saw enough competition success in a multitude of venues that it became legendary anyway.
      • 5 Years Ago
        • 5 Years Ago
        Totally agree with you!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I rode in that car once. I was at the Practice Stage of STPR one year talking to Carl Merrill, who owned it. He casually asked me if I'd like a ride in it. I said "yes". It was the fastest 3.8 miles on dirt and gravel in my life, and not particularly scary as Carl was the North American Rally Champion. My ride was his warm-up run through the Practice Stage that afternoon. Carl won STPR in 1997 in that Cosworth with Lance Smith as codriver. That's no small feat if you've been there. I've been at STPR for 20 years. Carl was a kind, courteous, humble man who spared no expense to have the best rally car money could buy. I miss him.

      If this car is in the same condition and tune it was then, I don't think $60,000 is unreasonable at all. It was reliable, won a lot, and had podiums at many rallies. It's also historicly significant. If I had lots of money I'd buy that car so fast it would make your head spin!
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