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The 1980s produced some of the most over-the-top, good-to-drive, mechanically interesting cars ever — including the Series 1 Escort RS Turbo

The 1980s was a power decade on the surface, one in which greed was good and money was there for the taking, but also one where there was a vast divide between the haves and the have-nots.

Some cars transcended this owing to differences in spec, But the halo models like the Series 1 spoke of the decade in a far more potent manner than any more humble model could ever achieve.

The Escort RS Turbo was huge fun for what amounted to a Mk3 Escort, and not only was it white, it was fitted with big RS alloy wheels, stripes, spotlamps and a three bar grille.

The first front-wheel drive car to be fitted with a limited-slip differential, the RS Turbo’s 1.6 litre CVH was tuned to shove 132 bhp through the front wheels. Inside there were Recaro seats with blue piping, and that rasping exhaust note was accentuated under hard acceleration with the whoosh of a turbocharger. Not that you could guarantee you were going to go in a straight line; the combination of heavy steering and violent torque steer under full acceleration made the RS Turbo one of the most amusing or terrifying hot hatches of its era depending upon your perspective.

Words Sam Skelton

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