In the history of cars, there wasn’t a bigger or more comprehensive racing and performance program than Ford’s Total Performance project during the ’60s. In those days, Ford produced, raced and promoted numerous performance cars, all of which became legends. And, they won championships all over the world. From those small English-built Cortinas over legendary Shelbys and Australian-built Falcons, Ford was making performance cars in all shapes and sizes.
But the crown jewel was, of course, the mighty GT40 and its incredible Le Mans success. After they shut down the Total Performance program and the recession killed Ford’s racing aspirations, the company continued to produce performance cars, selling them in various markets. Ford UK and Ford Australia, along with the Ford company in Dearborn, Michigan, never abandoned the idea of affordable performance cars.
So for the next few decades, they introduced inexpensive but still exciting models that captured the imagination of the public. While most people know about the Mustang and similar models, there are a lot more Ford performance cars lost in the corridors of time. So keep reading to find out about the 20 forgotten and underappreciated Ford performance cars.
Ford Escort RS1600/RS2000
Ford presented the Escort Mk1 in 1968, as a compact, rear-wheel drive saloon they aimed at family buyers. The basic version used those forgettable 1.1 and 1.3-liter engines, but for those who wanted more, Ford offered the hot 1600 RS and RS2000 models. Those cars had a special suspension and engines that packed a lot of power.
And better yet, their low weight made them capable of defeating those more expensive cars, as well as those proper racing monsters. The RS Escorts were the perfect rally cars so most of them battled on muddy back roads during the ’70s and ’80s.