IT’S 1985 at a fuel garage just outside London on a balmy summer’s night. The Heat Is On by Glenn Frey is blaring out, with booming bass thanks to the acoustic shelf in my brother’s Ford Escort RS2000.
My love for Fords was born with that white RS, gloriously pimped up with an overgrown rear spoiler and blue decals.
We called it Dougal, from TV’s Magic Roundabout, because of the way the bodykit hugged the road.
Way before Ford’s Probe arrived, this was the original Essex Man’s Porsche, the white stiletto on wheels.
This RS could pull more birds than a whiff of Hai Karate.
Unfortunately, it was about as reliable as an early round in a tennis championship.
It broke down more times than Gwyneth Paltrow and the service bills left my bruv in equal amounts of tears.
So when my brother Russ turned the nothing happened, it was no key and nothin big surprise.
We always joked that it was just as well the RS had a good heated back windscreen so it kept your hands warm when pushing it.
Ever being the gent, my brother made his then girlfriend (now wife) Julie push, decked out in the aforementioned white high heels and hair a la Samantha Fox.
This went on for a mile as other motorists beeped and honked their approval as my now sister-in-law sweated buckets of Harmony hairspray.
It was only then my lovely bruv decided to properly turn the ignition key – and, after ages of pointless pushing, the RS fired into life. He thought it was hilarious!
I was reminded of those salad summer days when I got behind the wheel of the 21st century Ford Focus RS.
Oh yes, 345 horses delivering 62mph in 4.7 seconds all the way to annoying PC Plod at 165mph.
Even before you open the door and plunge into the figure-hugging Recaro seats, the RS is an ASBO waiting to happen.
Ford’s Scottish global design chief Moray Callum has done a magnificent job.
The gaping honeycomb grille with matt black surround, bulging wheel arches and high-rise tailgate spoiler ensure the RS looks like it’s driven straight off a rally.
Other cool drool factors include the imposing twin exhausts and must-have large 19in matt black alloys and £745 Nitrous Blue paintjob.
Performance is epic. Push the starter button and it roars into life like Brian Blessed clearing his throat before settling into a disgruntled, agitated burble. Pull away and it’s like any normal Focus. Slam down the right foot and it’s pure Anthony Joshua – but with a bigger punch.
This is Ford at their absolute best and all for a fiver under £30,000. It’s the same price as a less powerful Honda Civic Type R and £10,000 less than a similarly potent Audi or Mercedes.
The RS, GT, Edge SUV and Mustang are part of Ford reinventing themselves with their new campaign Unlearn, which challenges consumers to forget about preconceptions about their brand thanks to new products.
Ford are living up to their word.
They are arguably the most exciting car firm in the world right now.
And in the hot hatch war, the heat is well and truly on.