Even 25 years later, Ford’s original rally racer can blow your hair back.
Just like any familial history remains constant even though names get changed through marriage, a car never loses its spiritual successor even if an automaker decides to throw the axe down on an old name in favor of a new model designation. Take the Ford Focus for example. Ford debuted the compact car to replace the Ford Escort, and even though the two cars had some overlap in production, the transition from one car to the other was complete by the early 2000s.
In its modern rendition, the Ford Focus has made quite a name for itself, especially the RS model. Ken Block has hooned sets of tires to smithereens in the impressive hot hatch and the very fact that it has a drift mode advertises what the point of its existence is.
But to think it’s the only time Ford has given enthusiasts such joy using a compact body is to think wrong. Proving that is Carfection’s comparison of the 2017 Focus RS and Ford Escort RS Cosworth. Without the Cosworth name at the end, we'd assume it’s just any normal Ford, but this Escort is powered by none other than the Cosworth YTB engine, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 227 horsepower. The engine is so robust and easy to tune that some aftermarket shops have been managed to pull over 1,000 horsepower out of the tiny power plant. With four-wheel drive and rally car handling, it’s a perfect car to compare to its modern day successor, if only for the sake of measuring progress.