In this section, we bring you help and advice on what to look for if you are thinking of buying a Mk1 RS2000. For current owners the articles may help you learn a little more about the car you already own. With the value of these cars increasing every year, it’s also crucial that you have the correct type of insurance cover and our Classic Insurance Guide explains this in more detail.
The most important thing is to make sure that the car you’re being offered, really is an RS2000. A common practice is to drop a 2-litre Pinto engine into a bog standard Escort, bolt on a few trim items and pass it off as a genuine RS.
Firstly, look at the car’s documents and check that the chassis number on the Registration Document, matches that on the car. The chassis plate is located under the bonnet on the front slam panel and, on a genuine RS, the first four digits should be BFAT. Again, on a genuine RS there should be a second plate on the slam panel, the body plate (often referred to as the AVO plate). This helps identify the car’s original build specification.
The links will help you decode the under bonnet plates. However, a correct chassis number does not automatically prove a car is genuine….. the plate could have been removed from a written-off RS and affixed to a mainstream Escort.
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. Whilst underneath, check that the chassis rails are double skinned and have a look at the boot floor which should have 9 bolts protruding. These were used to fit a stone deflector,
Another point worth noting, is that all RS2000’s had a black interior headlining and the rear wheel arches were rolled over to make room for the wider tyres fitted.
Few RS2000s have remained completely standard, but because the Pinto engine has so much tuning potential, minor modifications which boost power shouldn’t cause any reliability problems. Check for a noisy camshaft, which wears if oil changes are neglected. The gearbox is strong and long-lasting, and the straightforward suspension is not noted for any unnatural wear problems.
Rust is usually quite obvious, with sills, body seams, door bottoms and underbonnet strut tops often affected. Other problem areas are the boot floor, normally caused by water leaking in past worn bootlid seals, and the rear wheel arches.