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1996 Ford Escort RS Cosworth

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  • Mileage~64,248
  • TransmissionManual
  • Engine2.0-litre
  • LocationGloucestershire


1996 Ford Escort RS Cosworth

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Glyn Parry
Professional Consigner

Born and sculpted from rally DNA, this pacy hot hatch delivers an adrenaline rush that defined an era of speed, style, and driving exhilaration.

The Escort RS Cosworth was first developed at Ford's SVO department in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire. Loosely based on the fifth-gen Escort, it was substantially modified to incorporate the 4-wheel-drive Cosworth-powered drivetrain from the Sapphire 4x4. By fitting this equipment into a smaller, stiffer Escort hatchback, Ford believed it would have the best chance of winning against Lancia and Toyota in the Group A premier rally category. Now three decades old, the Escort RS Cosworth has aged gracefully. It's a nostalgic machine with avid followers from the golden age of rallying, "Fast Ford" fans, and car enthusiasts alike.

Built on a truncated version of the Sierra Cosworth chassis, the RS Cosworth was quite unlike other Escorts. With its 2.0L turbocharged longitudinally-mounted engine driving all four wheels, its enough to take the driver from 0-60MPH in ~5.7 seconds with ~224BHP under the sculpted bonnet. Although the Escort Cosworth was hand-built in limited numbers just over ~7,145 cars in total, it sold rather well, especially in the UK.

This example comes to market with ~4 years ownership, ~64,248 miles on the clock and just ~3,000 miles being covered over the last ~5 years. The RS Cosworth has a great amount of factory fitted extras including; glass sunroof, electric windows, electric mirrors, central locking, fog lamps and opening rear quarter windows. Retrofitted extras include; a Forge Turbo actuator, OMP strut brace, cone air filter, carbon fibre style engine cover sections, blue Samco hoses and a digital Alpine stereo. For the purists out there, we understand the car could be put back to factory standard, as the owner has most items with the exception of the wheels and airbox cover.

This is an opportunity to own a real piece of nostalgic rally inspired, turbo powered, RS charged Cosworth - all with low mileage.

This listing was written from information supplied by Glyn after meeting James the owner, and having visited and photographed the vehicle.

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Secure Auctions

We verify all our sellers and buyers to keep our community safe whilst also providing the highest levels of website security.

Full Transparency

8 out of 10 people that buy cars via our service don’t feel the need to visit due to the transparency and thoroughness of our listings.

Vehicle Delivery

We're there every step of your buying journey and will even arrange pick-up and delivery of your new vehicle.

Meet the owner

One of my favourite cars of all time, there's something so special about that RS performance and such a great drive!

It's safe to say that James, the current owner, is a big 90's car fan. Having owned many rally and sport inspired performance cars as part of his motoring history, James tells us, "I've loved having the RS as part of my collection, the Cosworth is a real joy to drive out on the road and it certainly turns a few heads".

With his children getting older, as well as having less space at home than before, James has decided to sell some of his collection to free up additional garage space, he said, "I'll really miss this car as I've enjoyed every minute of owning it".

James will be available to answer any questions about the car in the comments below.

Vehicle Owner

James saved £8,100* when they
sold their Ford with us.


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With its aggressive lines, distinctive wing, and a performance profile, the turbocharged Escort RS Cosworth is real attention grabber.

Wheels and Tyres

Multi-spoke OZ-Racing 17" wheels add a rally inspired look and are finished in an attractive dark grey colour. We didn't observe any significant signs of damage, and these showed nicely around all four corners including the carbon effect centre caps.

The wheels are fitted with Firestone Roadhawk tyres, which also appear to be in great condition. The specifications was 235/45, date coded 2019 to the front and rear tyres. For a more detailed view of the Ford's exterior and a closer inspection of the wheels and tyres, please refer to the photos and videos.

As mentioned, James doesn't have the original factory wheels.


The RS Cosworth maintains well-aligned panel gaps. Both doors, bonnet and the boot open and close smoothly when we visited the car. We noted that the side skirts needed a little re-alignment but didn't pose a major concern. During our visit, we didn't note any major dents on the car, only minor dings on some of the panels. The bodywork looked good overall, a well kept example.

We've highlighted in more detail our observations through our hi-resolution images and videos, so please take time to look through all the media files for a detailed view of what’s on offer and for you to assess the condition of the car for yourselves.


Finished in Ash Black the paint showed well across the panels, even in colour and finish. Paint coverage is consistent and presented no major concerns.

We only noticed some light marks across the car and a few very slight scratches, but otherwise the car showed its age very well. The Escort is finished with a large Ford decal sticker on the bonnet.

Again, we have taken high resolution images and videos of the car for you to assess the condition of the bodywork and paint for yourselves. The images are taken from a few different angles to show off the car as you would see it if you were standing there for yourselves. So please, take the time to fully assess these high resolution images and videos of the car, for you to make up your own minds about the condition of the paint.

Glass and Trim

All the glass sections on the RS Cosworth appeared to be in great condition, including the windscreen, sunroof, side windows, and mirrors. We didn't observe any cracks, chips or scratches during our visit.

The car is retro fitted with a carbon fibre front splitter. Overall this section showed in good condition, although we noted a slight mark on the nearside base edge.

Upgraded Morette headlights look great and show without concern - the original headlights are also supplied with the car.

Take a look through the exterior gallery and review video, we take you across all the areas of the car as if you were standing there for yourself. This way, you can see in greater detail how the exterior of the car is presented.


Speed meets sophistication in the Escort's cabin, with comfortable leather seats, purposeful technology and ergonomic brilliance.

Seats and Carpets

The Recaro seats in the Escort are finished in black leather. The front seat section appeared to be in good condition, with minimal marks on the passenger seat but a few signs of wear to the drivers seat bolster section.

The Ford is fitted with Cosworth black carpeted floor-mats, which show some wear to them. The interior could do with a good clean up to bring the standard back.

Inside the boot is presented respectfully, complete with a spare wheel and tool kit.

The roof lining was good although started to show with a little sagging in its finish.

Please see the interior gallery for more detailed images.


The black dashboard shows in great condition and didn't note any concerning signs of wear. The odometer displayed ~64,248 on the clock at the time of our visit. The top of the dash also showed well.

The dials, switches, and controls are well maintained; all the surfaces appear clear, with no fogging or scratching. The dash display dials functioned well and everything worked as it should. We did not observe any issues with warning lights when starting the car from cold or during our drive on the road.

Our interior gallery section takes you through some closer images of the Ford's dashboard.

Steering Wheel / Gear Stick

A clean, black three-spoke steering wheel shows in a good finish in the interior. We didn't note any signs of excessive wear or concerns here.

The manual gear selector had no issues that we noted with only minor signs of usage. Minor marks were noted on the gaiter surround. We did note a slight mark in the centre section where the handbrake is located.

We've captured high-resolution photos for you to review and appreciate the condition of the interior in our gallery section.


With an upgraded turbo charger, dump valve and OMP engine strut, this example delivers impressive performance.

Engine and Gearbox

Starting up from cold, we noted no concerns and the car idled smoothly. The RS Cosworth performed without issue when running and out on the road.

The engine bay showed well, although could benefit from a clean to bring it back to its former glory. Bonnet bay lining looked good and showed no concerns. The Escort has benefitted from some mechanical modifications including an OMP strut brace, cone air filter, Forge turbo actuator, carbon fibre style cover sections and blue Samco hoses.

The upgraded dump valve made a great sound when out on the road, adding additional levels of performance. A stainless steel exhaust is supplied to the rear which shows well and adds another sporty touch - James has the original exhaust with its catalytic converters.

We took the car out around some local roads with the current owner to get a better feel for what this vehicle is all about. On the drive, we run through the motions, taking the Ford through to the gears and getting an overview from James' perspective on how the car performs.

Suspension and Brakes

We noted no knocks, bangs or issue from the suspension when we were on the road in the car, and it gave us no concerns in its performance or handling, the car is running on coilovers - James tells us he still has the original suspension too.

The brakes in the RS Cosworth felt great, with no noticeable vibrations during the journey, allowing the car to come to a firm stop.

We noted that on the underside, there were a couple of marks where the car has previously been jacked up, which could benefit from some sealing work to prevent any rusting.

We cover the underside of the Ford in our 'Mechanical gallery' section. Head over to our video section where we've summarised our visit in more detail for you to view for yourself. We take you around the mechanical elements of the car and give you an overview of what's on offer here.

The Drive

An extremely enjoyable and nostalgic drive is offered by this RS Cosworth. The Escort is designed with performance in mind, although is capable of tackling everyday driving equally well.

The 34% front, 66% rear power split allows the car to gracefully power through corners but feels beautifully controlled whilst doing so.

The Escort RS started up on the first try with no issues to report. On the road with James, the car felt tight and had ample power to propel it along the road. We didn't notice any unusual noises coming from the engine or suspension either.

Electrics and Other

The RS Cosworth is equipped with a glass sunroof, 'whale tail' spoiler, and extra's such as; electric windows, electric mirrors, electric boot release, central locking, fog lamps and opening rear quarter windows.

A great feature of the car is the retrofitted digital Alpine stereo / radio system and the final sale includes the original radio should this be required.

James let us know that he's had no issues with the electrical elements on the car, and that everything should be working correctly to the best of his knowledge.

History and Paperwork

With fewer than ~3,000 miles being covered over the last ~5 years - the RS Cosworth has a notable low mileage for ~38 years on the road.

The 2.0L Turbocharged Cosworth engine delivers an impressive amount of power to this well-engineered Escort RS. For a comprehensive look at its history and maintenance, please refer to the history and paperwork media, which includes previous MOT reports, servicing records, and a list of parts that this Escort RS Cosworth has received throughout its life.

New front and rear discs and pads along with new rear brake pipes were fitted in August 2017, new battery was fitted in June 2014 and a new regulator and plug leads were changed in February 2016. In February 2010, a new cam belt was fitted. The Cosworth comes with an MOT valid until 11.12.2024.

We’ve done all our usual seller checks including photo ID, V5 and actioned a HPi check on the vehicle.

Should any questions be required, James would be happy to answer these in the 'ask the owner' section.

We've summarised our own view on the car based on information gained from the seller in the listing above, however, and as you can see, we go to great lengths to photograph and video the car in hi-resolution detail - this has been done for you to make your own assessment from the comfort of your sofa. So please sit back, have a cuppa and take your time to review everything on this listing in order to make your own assessment on the vehicle's condition. Viewings are also welcomed with all our listings, so please get in touch with us to arrange a suitable time - we just need to speak to you first and receive a valid photo ID before confirming.

If there's anything you're unsure about, no matter how small, then please first ask the owner in the comments area below before placing your bid/s, as bids can't be retracted and form a binding contract if you win the car - just like a traditional auction house.

Service History
Date Type Mileage
12.12.2023 MOT 64,300
16.06.2022 MOT 63,992
23.03.2021 MOT 62,636
23.07.2019 MOT 62,138
16.07.2018 MOT 62,125
17.08.2017 Front and rear discs and pads
11.05.2017 MOT 61,953
11.02.2016 Regulator and plug leads
10.02.2016 MOT 61,461
19.09.2014 MOT 61,450
23.05.2014 Battery
29.03.2012 MOT 61,432
29.03.2011 MOT 61,337
26.03.2010 MOT 60,954
12.02.2010 Cambelt
31.03.2009 MOT 59,981
27.03.2008 MOT 58,679
04.04.2007 MOT 57,482
05.04.2006 MOT 54,322
29.07.2005 MOT 54,078
20.08.2004 MOT 53,498
08.08.2003 MOT 52,522
20.08.2002 MOT 52,154
23.08.2001 MOT 50,334
19.08.2000 MOT 43,823
23.08.1999 MOT 30,344
01.08.1998 MOT 23,620
Key Details
  • ModelEscort RS Cosworth
  • TransmissionManual
  • Reg. Date04.08.1985
  • CC1,994
  • Mileage~64,248 on clock
  • ColourAsh Black
  • Interior ColourBlack
  • Interior TrimLeather
  • Chassis #WF0BXXGKABSD94880
  • Engine #SD94880
  • MOTYes Valid Until 11.12.2024
  • HPi ClearYes - All Clear
  • Former Keepers9
  • Tyre TreadGood
  • Tyre BrandFirestone
  • Tyre Age2019
  • VisitedYes
  • Sale TypePrivate
  • Owned4 Years
  • Key FeatureLow Mileage & Performance Modifications
  • Auction ID1744