RS1700T: The Missing Link In Ford’s Rally History

When Ford took a hiatus at the end of the 1979 Earth Rally Championship season to focus on the incoming Team B period, the automobile on the drawing board was not the RS200.

The Team B rulebook for 1982 had incredibly couple specificities and primarily centered on safety-significant parts and minimum excess weight. This resulted in a wide variety of engine types, motor placements and drivetrain configurations, as designers had cost-free rein to build the most serious autos ever noticed on a rally distinctive phase.

So if not the RS200, just what was Ford functioning on? The RS1700T – their shorter-lived very first attempt at a Team B prospect.

RS1700T SH 006

Owning first observed this car at Rallyday a couple years in the past, I was not going to enable a 2nd opportunity to get a nearer glimpse go to waste although at Race Retro 2023.

RS1700T SH 001
RS1700T SH 009

At original look, the RS1700T resembles the much more sedate road-heading Mk3 Escort. But search yet again and you will begin to observe the wider arches, cutouts in the entrance bumper, and gearbox and differential coolers mounted over the boot lid.

RS1700T SH 033

Budget constraints intended the development charges were being retained to a minimum, with the majority of funds devoted to the bespoke underpinnings. This permitted the usually horizontally-opposed engine and entrance-wheel push hatchback to have its engine rotated 90-degrees and powering the rear wheels.

RS1700T SH 003
RS1700T SH 007

During the advancement, two motor alternatives had been viewed as: Turbocharging the 1,778cc Ford BDA (to become the BDT), or applying a obviously aspirated 2,300cc Formula 2 mill from Hart Racing Engines, with the previous being chosen by the drivers. The BDT motor designed 350 horsepower, which when coupled with a 970kg (2,138lb) weight resulted in sufficient performance.

RS1700T SH 026

The RS1700T’s interior was rudimentary at very best. Vital gauges were put in view of the driver and all other switchgear was just tacked onto the dash where ever place permitted.

It all seemed promising, but by the time the RS1700T was completely ready to attack the rally levels, the Audi Quattro had properly and truly show just how dominant four-wheel generate could be. Because of this, the RS1700T’s enhancement was halted and Ford went again to the drawing board.

As a great deal of the tricky work had been accomplished in phrases of engine and chassis advancement, the RS200 that adopted went from inception to completion in a very brief area of time. Not brief plenty of although, with the conclusion of the Team B period coming ahead of the Ford could demonstrate its value.

RS1700T SH 002

The vast majority of RS1700Ts were wrecked, but soon after the car’s venture supervisor emigrated to South Africa a number of of the remaining examples ended up competing there, wherever homologation guidelines did not implement.

Sadly, teething complications intended more retirements than podiums and in the end the RS1700T only ever claimed 1 victory: the Nissan Global Rally in 1985.

RS1700T SH 034
RS1700T SH 032

The RS1700T was pivotal in Ford’s motorsport history and laid the path for long run rallying initiatives, but rarely did this instance have a crowd about it at Race Retro. It confirmed just how mysterious it is.

RS1700T SH 018

While the RS1700T not have been victorious on the rally stage, success can possible be calculated by the accolades and achievements of subsequent Ford rally automobiles.

Chaydon Ford
Instagram: chaycore

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