DriveTribe’s Henry Catchpole introduces readers to his own, rally-spec 1979 Mk2 Ford Escort RS2000 before taking it for a spin on the loose stuff
In a change of pace, one of the latest videos from the DriveTribe crew does not include the fastest supercar, a Magnus Walker Porsche 911, or a Le Mans-spec Audi R18 LMP1 car (we’re still seething with jealousy about that one). Instead, the Mk2 Ford Escort RS2000 you see above actually belongs to Henry Catchpole, and has done for quite a few years. And in one of the first editions of ‘DriveTribe Garage’, he’s going to show us how it competes on the stages.
Housed at the Bill Gwynne Rally School in the UK (apt, given that it was previously a rally school trainer before being converted for the road), the Escort RS2000 is a 1979 model. Like the MkI before it, the MkII was not specifically developed with competition in-mind – the ‘droop-snoot’ slanted front end was not a particularly favoured on rallies – but has nevertheless enjoyed moderate success on the stages at the hands of privateer entrants. Under the bonnet lies a 2-litre ‘Pinto’ four-cylinder, in high compression ‘increased performance variant’ trim – good for 150bhp, or 180bhp “on a good day”.
Power in the Escort RS2000 is sent to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual gearbox the man himself is very praising of, though Catchpole admits the pedal placement could use a tweak. The whole package stands on 13in alloys – in period-spec light blue, for good measure – which are clad in Kumho R700 gravel tyres. By the way, Catchpole’s middle name is Felix, hence the Felix the Cat making an appearance on the passenger door, and judging by the ‘EVO’ sticker on the roof, it’s not the only link to his past on the RS200.
Right, enough of the context, time to listen to an old school rally soundtrack, which begins at 3m 40s (you can click HERE to find out more info from Catchpole himself, anyway). Oh, and despite the ‘DNF’ number plate, the Escort RS2000 has proven remarkably reliable, finishing all – alright, the only – rally Catchpole has competed with it.