1983 Ford Escort RS1600i


  • Extensively restored to a very high standard
  • Significant recent mechanical overhaul 
  • On-the-button, ready to use and enjoy
  • Retains the original twin-coil setup

The Appeal

Based upon the MK3 Escort and designed with racing and competition use in mind, the Escort RS1600i featured bespoke suspension, a highly-tuneable inline-four engine and a close-ratio five-speed gearbox, all with the pursuit of performance at the forefront of its existence.
With only 8,659 built between 1981 and 1983, this particular example is from the final year of RS1600i production and was previously restored in 2011-13 whilst in the care of a previous owner, and has recently been extensively mechanically overhauled by its current custodian.
Having covered just over 600 miles since its recent overhaul, this example presents in excellent condition throughout, and would make a fantastic addition to any Ford enthusiast’s garage or collection.


  • Built January 1983, first registered 07 March 1983
  • V5 registered keepers document, showing 9 former keepers
  • Extensive documentation from former owners and miscellaneous invoices from current ownership
  • All documentation contained in an organised folder for safekeeping
  • Recent mechanical and interior overhaul completed in March 2022
  • Enthusiast owned, cherished example
Built in January 1983 and first registered on 07 March the same year, this ‘holy grail’ MK3 Escort has been previously restored prior to the vendor’s ownership, with the shell and numerous other areas being addressed in a two-year restoration that took place between 2011 and 2013, including a full strip and re-spray amongst other items.
Purchased by the vendor a number of years ago (but only recently registered in his name due to the vehicle not having been on the road, hence the V5 showing as purchasing the vehicle in 2022)  the decision was made to bring the mechanicals of the vehicle up-to-scratch with the aesthetics, and a full engine rebuild by ‘Grace Engine Developments’ who also tuned the engine to ‘fast road’ specification, though - importantly - the decision was made to retain the original and increasingly rare twin-coil ignition setup.
Alongside the engine rebuild, the gearbox has also been overhauled, and the running gear refurbished or replaced where necessary, with the result being a mechanically-mint example of the desirable and now-iconic RS1600i. 
Inside, the notoriously troublesome dash has been replaced with a crack-free example, whilst the seats have been re-trimmed to an incredibly high standard with OE covers. 
In terms of documentation, the V5 is present, along with some information and invoices from the vendor’s ownership (though the vast majority of work was carried out by the vendor himself) and a handful of history from previous owners, all contained in a neat document folder/binder. 
With the most recent round of restoration/overhaul works having been completed in March 2022, a total of just over 600 miles has been covered by the current owner, with no reported faults and plenty of attention being garnered at shows around the country, proving this rare 80’s hot hatch still has what it takes to draw a crowd…

The Interior

  • Excellent condition throughout
  • Crack-free dashboard
  • Recent seat re-trim 
Inside, the RS1600i received little change from its ‘pedestrian’ stablemate, other than upgraded Recaro seats and a five-speed shifter. This particular example remains in outstanding condition throughout, and has benefitted from recent work at the hands of our vendor and a specialist trimmer to bring it back to its former glory.
The dashboard - notorious for cracking in the sun over the years - is free of any cracks or damage, and displays only the faintest signs of usage. 
The seats are in a similar condition, having been re-trimmed during the current owners’ tenure and with virtually no discernible signs of wear or usage.
Elsewhere, the carpets remain in great condition - protected by a rubber over-mat when the vendor drives the vehicle - whilst the headliner is taut and secure throughout with no unsightly stains or wear. 
In the rear, the parcel shelf is devoid of the usual 6x9 speaker cut-outs often seen on performance vehicles of this era, and the in-boot courtesy light is even fully functional! The spare wheel is present-and-correct underneath the removable floor.
The vendor reports no known faults with any of the electrical systems, switches or displays within the cabin.

The Exterior

  • Re-sprayed in factory colour during previous restoration
  • No bodywork damage
  • Matching locks
  • Presents wonderfully
With its arresting shade of red and contrasting black model-specific graphics and spoiler, the RS1600i looks like it means business, and this example remains in wonderful condition, drawing plenty of attention wherever it goes.
Looking along the flanks of the vehicle, there are no signs of any bodywork damage, dents or mis-aligned panels, and the vendor reports that the locks are matching. 
The paintwork, too, remains in excellent condition, with only the most minor of stone chips being visible upon close scrutiny, and no unsightly blemishes or scuffs noted.
Elsewhere, the black bumper rubber trims wear some patina on the rear, though this is only visible up-close. The graphics featured across the car remain crisp and clear, whilst the boot-mounted spoiler is undamaged.
All four wheels are in nigh-on pristine condition, with no kerb rash or visible marks making themselves known, wrapped in nearly-new tyres.

The Mechanicals

  • Full engine rebuilt to ‘fast road’ specification
  • Original twin-coil ignition system retained
  • On-the-button, ready to enjoy
Under the bonnet, the 1.6-litre inline-four engine has been recently rebuilt and overhauled by a renowned specialist in the fast Ford world, and presents in astounding condition, both visually and mechanically.
Notably, the original twin-coil ignition system remains in place on this example, with the vendor stating that many other enthusiasts converted the car to a more common distributor setup in-period, making twin-coil cars a rare sight today.
Starting up with ease whether hot or cold and performing flawlessly during our photo shoot, the vendor reports that the car has behaved without issue during his ~600 miles covered behind the wheel, and that he is not aware of any underlying mechanical issues or idiosyncrasies. 
Looking underneath the vehicle, the chassis and wheel arches are just as clean as the body shell above, and the most recent MoT - dated 23 March 2022 - shows a first-time pass with no advisory items at 80,705 miles. 


For those of you that perhaps lusted after an RS1600i in-period but were put off by insane insurance premiums, or were simply too young to drive them, this is the rare opportunity to obtain a restored, enthusiast-owned and simply wonderful example of the much-adored RS1600i which is ready to simply jump in and enjoy.
Recipient of not one but TWO bouts of restoration in the last decade alone and presented in outstanding condition throughout, this is a truly special RS1600i, and one which would look at home in any collection or enthusiast’s garage.
Go on, you always said you’d buy one someday…

Notice to bidders

This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1983
  • Make Ford
  • Model Escort RS1600i (5+5)
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 81,300 Miles
  • Engine size 1597
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Andover
  • Location Hampshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
84 bids
  • gr•••• £40,250 11/11/22
  • An•••• £40,000 11/11/22
  • gr•••• £39,750 11/11/22
  • An•••• £39,500 11/11/22
  • gr•••• £39,250 11/11/22
  • An•••• £39,000 11/11/22
  • gr•••• £38,750 11/11/22
  • An•••• £38,500 11/11/22
  • gr•••• £38,250 11/11/22
  • An•••• £38,000 11/11/22
Message C&C Auction Team

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