Ford Escort RS1600i

The Escort has seen a steady climb in value and will continue to do so. Now is the best time to pick one up to make money further down the line
By Dejan Jovanovic, Features Writer
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January 31, 2017
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During the past couple of years the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority and the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE have cleared up laws regarding classic cars, so enthusiasts can now import vehicles 30 years or older and register right-hand drive vehicles with classic car plates.

This has opened up our classic car choices; from Japan and the UK where right-hand drive classics abound, as well as Italy up to the early Fifties when many sporting Italian cars (Lancia, Alfa, Ferrari) were still made right-hand drive for the driver to be closer to the edge of Alpine passes (for visibility's sake) or to be closer to corner apexes of most European clockwise-running racing circuits.

Seeing as the cut-off year for classic cars in Dubai is 1985 -- provided the car is considered 'classic and collectible' by the authorities -- you have so many options through most of the carpological time scale, right up through the eras into the nostalgic Eighties. The Eighties are really on the up now as Generation X gets moneyed and wistful about third-generation Escorts. The Escort was a cool car then and it's a cool car now. Hot Escorts (and all fast Fords from the period in general) are seeing a steady climb in value so it's best to pick one up now and make money further down the line. The Escort RS1600 can go up to $20,000, matching original Volkswagen Golf GTI values of the very best examples.

The third-gen Escort is the first in the nameplate to go front-wheel drive, but as with so many Ford of Europe hot cars, the tuning was done right and the sporting versions gained a following.

It's easy to get your head around the models; it started with the XR3, which became the XR3i, which is the one you'd prefer because it has fuel injection rather than a single twin-choke weber on top of the 1.6-litre engine. The next step is the even more favoured motorsport-influenced RS1600i with Recaro seats and a limited slip-differential, and the final iteration was the RS Turbo.

Even though these cars were built in Germany, about three hours south of Ford's European base in Cologne, your best bet and widest options would be in Britain, where a band of enthusiasts preserved loads of original cars from the sweaty hands of Max Power-ists in the neon-lit, ICEd, Lambo-doored Nineties.

As such, this sentimentality reflects UK prices, which are higher than for used examples in Germany or elsewhere in Europe.

The very best specialist traders' cars are priced anywhere from Dh60K to Dh100K (although you can find a decent one for Dh20K), but considering this gets you a much cooler car than any of today's mini hot hatches like the Clio RS 200 or Swift Sport, it seems like a fair deal to us.