Classified Info

Ford Escort Mk1 RS1600

To Be Auctioned



 Ford Escort Mk1 RS1600 – Part of the Kinlee Collection, the Genesis of the RS breed, rare, valuable, superbly restored and rather special.

The Kinlee Collection illustrates our vendor’s lifelong devotion to improvement. Eclectic, yes, but each motor car represents an aspect of our vendor’s personality. Having bought many cars from us over the years, we appreciate our vendor’s loyalty in returning the nostalgic Escort RS16000 and much-improved E-Type back into our care for the next custodians. Before we come to the extraordinary Wolf Defenders, the unique restoration of the 110 Pick-Up started out as a wager between our vendor and his friend, who together have changed the skyline of a major city, and whether he’d recognise his old car once it had gone through our vendor’s private workshop, he didn’t!

Our vendor’s appreciation of engineering started early, awarded Student of the Year five years running whilst ignoring the obvious distractions of 1970s college life. With success came fast cars and a classic Aston Martin or two, but one day, an interest for improving a certain type of Land Rover began and became a passion that has grown into a private workshop with skilled technicians who do take their time when restoring the cars and maintaining our vendor’s fleet of classic Astons, Jensens and more. Finally, when asked by this consignor of the significance of Kinlee, our vendor referred us to his favourite song by The Kinks: I’m Not Like Everybody Else.

Ford had, for a number of years, used active participation in motorsport as a means of getting their showroom doors swinging, and 1968’s new Escort was to prove no exception. Popular at Club level in every discipline of the sport, it was at an International level that the name ‘Escort’ became synonymous with winning. The Ford works team was practically unbeatable in the late 1960s – early 1970s, and arguably, the Escort’s greatest victory was in the 1970 London to Mexico World Cup Rally being driven by Finnish legend Hannu Mikkola. This result, and the ensuing acclaim, prompted Ford to produce the famous Escort Mexico road version in honour of the rally car.

One step up from the Mexico, the Escort RS1600 was developed using an engine that was essentially a detuned Formula 3 unit, designated BDA (Belt Drive A Series). Both the Mexico and RS1600 were built simultaneously at the Ford Advanced Vehicle Operations (AVO) facility located at the Aveley Plant in South Essex and, as well as higher performance engines and sports suspension, these models featured strengthened bodyshells, making them ideal for rallying. Only 1,137 examples of the RS1600 were built, but even today they remain popular in the historic rallying scene with their reputation for a great balance of power and handling, making them a true driver’s car. The BDA engine emits a distinctive and appealing growl, which can be heard for quite a distance when the vehicle is being driven hard.

Most unusually, when this RS1600 was supplied new on 24th July 1971, its first owner chose to export the car to the island of Malta where it was to remain until 2005. Having covered just over 42,000 miles out there, with little evidence of any rust or corrosion, it was imported to the UK by Ford enthusiast Mike Butler who then restored the car painstakingly through a nut and bolt process that was not finished until 2013. Today, it remains in its original colour of Ermine White and is happily still married to its original engine, gearbox and internal trim, with a replacement dashboard recently fitted.

In the history file we can see evidence of the monies spent and also a list of the ‘rolling roads’ visited in order to get the engine running as sweetly as it does today. It’s supplied with a Ford workshop manual for the RS1600 as well as lots of bills and receipts. Joining the Kinlee Collection in 2021, when our vendor bought the car from us when offered fresh from a six-year slumber, as part of our much respected late vendor’s Ford collection.

This is a seriously rare opportunity to acquire a BDA-engined Mk1 Escort RS1600, carrying the most appropriate registration number.


Our auction finale of 2023 is taking place at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show at the NEC, Birmingham (B40 1NT) 10th – 12th November. The UK’s biggest and best motor show attracting visitors, bidders and buyers from around the world. Viewing is available on Friday 10th November 10am – 6pm as well as Saturday and Sunday from 9am. Cars and Automobilia can be viewed in Hall 2 and Motorcycles in Hall 5. The Collectors’ Car Sale will take place on Saturday 11th at 10am with the Automobilia Sale following at 4pm and the Motorcycle Sale will take place on Sunday 12th at 10am – all in Hall 2. Admission to the auction stand is by catalogue only. Catalogues will be available to purchase at the catalogue desks at the entrance to our stands for £10. Each catalogue admits two people. Admission to the show is not included in the price of the catalogue. Show tickets can be purchased via the Classic Motor Show website, use the code ICONICAUC for £2 off per ticket.



Seller Info

by Gary Dunne
Published: 8 November 2023 (4 weeks ago)
To Be Auctioned
Member Since
22 Sep 2013
Phone Number
+44 (0) 1926 691 141
Currency Options
To Be Auctioned
Seller Accepts
Bank Transfer
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