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Rare Ford Escort RS heads Euro classics in Shannons Melbourne Winter auction


A rare and very collectible MK1 RS1600 in stunning restored condition is a feature entry of Shannons upcoming Melbourne Winter auction on July 11.

Finished in its original factory colour of Daytona Yellow, the Belgian-delivered, original left-hand-drive car is one of an estimated 950 – 1,137 RS1600s produced by Ford between 1970-1974 – and one of far fewer surviving examples – making this rally-bred ‘pocket-rocket’ an exceptionally sought-after classic today.

Built for Group 2 International rallying, it was based on a strengthened version of the Type 49 Escort Mk1 two-door body and was easily distinguished from lesser Escort models by its distinctive flared wheel arches, front bumperettes and special RS badging.

Australian Frank Gardner won the 1968 British Saloon Car Championship in 1968 and 1969 driving the model’s racing progenitor.

The production RS1600’s crowning glory that has makes it such a collectors’ item today is its Lotus-made eight-valve twin camshaft 1557cc engine that when introduced produced a healthy 84kW with the help of a pair of 40DHLA Weber carburettors.

Thanks to the RS1600’s light 785kg weight, it could sprint from 0-100km/h in around nine seconds on the way to a top speed of 182km/h.

According to Shannons, the RS1600 being auctioned is an outstanding example that has been the subject of a full nut and bolt restoration to a standard that would satisfy the most fastidious collector. It is expected to find willing bidders in the $100,000-$125,000 range on July 11.


Pushing the RS1600 hard for buyer appeal at the auction will be two outstanding, right hand drive German classics – a 1960 Porsche 356B Cabriolet and a circa-1959 Volkswagen ‘Split Screen’ 11-window Kombi Campervan.

Presented in outstanding, restored condition, the Porsche is fitted with enhancements to its original four cylinder 1599cc engine for improved performance. These include custom-made forged and ceramic-coated pistons, a counter-weighted crankshaft to allow it to rev to 6,000rpm, custom-made extractors, Digitronic fuel injection and a stainless steel exhaust system.

Because of the increasing worldwide collectability of early Porsches, combined with its restored condition and strong performance, Shannons expect the 356B Cabriolet to sell in the $190,000-$220,000 range.


Just as eagerly sought-after by collectors in the July 11 auction will be a superb 11-window circa 1959 VW ‘Splittie’ Kombi featuring a 1600cc twin port engine with electronic ignition, plus a bespoke campervan interior fit-out that houses a fridge, a swing-out two-burner cooktop and a pop-up TV.

With values of classic VW commercial vehicles soaring, Shannons expect this beautifully presented ‘Splittie’ to sell in the $85,000-$110,000 range.