A club registered very rare AVO Mk1 Ford Escort RS1600 Custom in original condition.
Advanced Vehicle Operations (AVO) Type 49 body, front quarter bumpers, flared front wings, strengthened chassis rails, strengthened flitch plates, reinforced front suspension strut top mounting plates, rear radius rods, safety glass, anti-burst locks, black painted aluminium grille, six pod sports binnacle, leather rimmed sports steering wheel, heater fan, two speed wiper, courtesy light, washable plastic headlining, cowlside map pocket. Factory fitted options; Vinyl roof, Custom Pack: Brushed nylon seats, sound deadening material, centre console, heated rear window. Push-button radio.
This incredible, fully traceable and enthusiast owned example is finished in ultra-rare Stardust Silver (code 3). Both the colour and factory fitted vinyl roof is listed on the AVO metal plate. The discreet and neat triple coach line that follows the body moulding line informs a knowledgeable fraternity of the Custom Pack option. All original trim sections, rubbers, glass and lights are in very good condition and help confirm this previous 1st place RS1600 National Day winner as a champion showpiece. Sympathetically restored in the mid 1980’s in preparation for the show circuit the condition today reflects the quality work carried out at the time but now shows slight ageing in a completely inoffensive manner. Pleasing attributes such as the original pressed steel number plates and the dealership rear screen sticker remain. An extraordinary example and very special.
Correct to manufacturer specification, the interior of this RS1600 is a credit to the dedication and resolve of the former keepers to stay true to Ford AVO’s vision and keep the car away from the often inevitable fate of modification. The rare and optional Custom Pack reclining sport seats finished in nylon, (Code A1), have never been re-trimmed and present well with only a small section of loose stitching on the driver’s seat, largely hidden from sight. The original wood trim deservedly shows slight fade. All equipment housed in the flawless dashboard with padded top fascia and correct six pod binnacle operates perfectly but the correct Kienzle centre console clock and Ford push-button radio are not connected. The boot area is very clean and has the original and impossible to source genuine boot mat. A wonderful interior born from a devoted quest for originality and accuracy.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
The competition-bred Cosworth BDA twin-cam 16 valve engine has a cubic capacity of 1601cc and vitally is the rare, highly sought-after aluminium cylinder block only fitted to the last of these models. A beautifully original engine bay will delight those seeking hidden and correct AVO features but also prominent impossible to source ancillaries such as the unique washer bottle and oil cooler unit are still fitted. 113bhp is quoted with 0-60mph dispatched in 8.3 seconds and a top speed in excess of 110mph. Drive comes through the original three rail shift, close ratio heavy-duty 4-speed gearbox. Changes are snappy and precise although reverse is difficult to engage at times.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
Optional RS Sport Alloys with centre caps, as available through the Ford Dealer Special Build Programme have been fitted from new and are shod in matching branded 175/70 R13 tyres with masses of tread. The vacuum servo-assistance brakes run on the standard single line braking system with 9.625in front discs and 9.00in rear drums to offer ample stopping power with an assured feel.
Built at Fords Advanced Vehicle Operations factory in Aveley in February 1974 this vehicle incredibly has a fully traceable owner history from new and throughout just three former keepers. The order this homologation limited number Ford RS1600 was placed by a Mr J.C Leigh, owner of Leigh’s Pharmacy in Liverpool on the 26th July 1973 through Ford RS Dealers, J.Blake & Co. Ltd. A £300 deposit was placed to secure a build with the balance of £2052.60 paid on collection on the 6th May 1974, an indication of the lead time required and substantial cost of these cars when new! Both the dealer wallet and receipts remain in the history file. On Mr Leighs passing the vehicle was acquired by RS devotee and all-round Ford enthusiast, Mr Michael Taylor in 1988, when just 40,000 miles had been covered. Shown at various concours events over his 10 year ownership span (with a box full of awards included), a magazine feature in Fast Ford dated 1992 reveals his dedication to the car. Sold to Martin Clough in 1998 who served his apprenticeship with Ford, another magazine feature dated 1999 in Classic Ford continues the story of this cars privileged ownership record. Eventually sold in 2013 to the current serial Ford collector.
A fantastic history file exists with the car from old MOT certificates to cover the 66,778 miles and every registration document issued. The original service book provided when new is included complete with stamped entries along with a substantial number of invoices and paraphernalia. An expired valuation certificate dated 10th August 2014 by AVO Owners Club RS1600 Registrar, William Arnold, is recorded at £50,000 and more recently by Haggerty in 2016 for £70,000. An incredible Rallye Sport machine.
Tax Exempt, HPI Clear.
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