Ah yes, the always popular Escort Cosworth, better known as the ‘Cossie!’
In the great hot hatch wars of the early-90’s Volkswagen and Peugeot had taken over the entire sporting world. Whilst the Golf ruled the streets the 205 ruled the rally stage, and no one seemed to be able to touch them. Until someone in Ford got the bright idea of taking one of its humdrum family Escorts, taking two doors off, giving it a hatch, a massive spoiler, some chunky body panels and fitting it with a 225hp 1,993cc Cosworth YBT Turbo Straight-4 engine.
The result was that this normally slow and mundane little family car was transformed into a road-going monstrosity, capable of a top speed of 147mph and a 0-60 of 5.7 seconds. So powerful was this car that the Escort Cosworth was the first mass-production car to produce downforce at the front and rear due to its speed!
In motorsports, the Escort Cosworth dominated the rallying scene, it’s incredibly short wheelbase making it nimble on the corners, whilst that Cosworth powerplant in the front made it unbelievably fast on the straights. In total, the RS Cosworth brought home victories in 10 different events across the globe, including the 27º Rallye de Portugal, 37ème Tour de Corse, 40th Acropolis Rally, 35º Rallye Sanremo, 29º Rallye Catalunya-Costa Brava in 1993, the 62ème Rallye Automobile de Monte-Carlo and 44th 1000 Lakes Rally in 1994, the 21st Bank Utama Rally Indonesia in 1996, and the 44th Acropolis Rally of Greece and 22nd Rally Indonesia of 1997. It really was untouchable!
Sadly though the Cosworth was touchable, by the arm of the law.
With this new and insanely powerful road-legal car now available, the car quickly fell into disreputable hands, just as the 1990’s were starting to break down following a huge recession in 1992. Crime went through the roof and car thefts were now a common occurrence. The weapon of the yobbo’s choice was sadly the RS Cosworth, and if you owned one back in this turbulent period of British history, then you’d better have kept it well hidden because the youths would’ve been out to get it. Once they had stolen your car it would be used for ram-raiding shop fronts and general disruption of the system. Car crimes, fatalities both for the occupants of other cars and pedestrians, and burglaries all skyrocketed, and thus the Government had to take legal action.
Under the Major Government, insurance premiums for fast, practical and cheap cars such as the RS Cosworth, the Golf and the 205 were forced to rise to try and deter teenagers and youths from buying them and going mental, the result being that if you were under the age of 25 you would never, ever have been able to insure a hot-hatchback. With hot-hatches now being desperately out of style by way of Government intervention, the Ford Company axed the Cosworth in 1996, whilst its rivals at Volkswagen tuned down the power to make their Golf less desirable to the youths. It’s only recently that premiums on hot-hatchbacks have come back down, but they’re still incredibly expensive, the sad result of that post-punk era of the early 90’s that caused us here in Britain to feel some major headaches!