In order to be legal for import, most cars have to be crash tested and given certification but one man was able to import the Ford Escort RS Cosworth with the equivalent of a video game simulation and the cars are still legal to this day. Most cars that are less than 25 years old can seized by the government and crushed if they are imported without expensive crash testing, but these Cosworth's are the exception.
These cars were imported as 1994 and 1995 models into the US by Sun International. Since Ford was not selling the model domestically they required that all Ford badging be removed to show they had no relation to it here. If you look at the examples that were imported you will notice that they have a slightly different grille and different rear badging to follow this agreement. The only sign that this is actually a Ford may be seen on the center caps of the original wheels.
Due to this being an independent importing effort and not a manufacturer supported distribution of the car, Ford required that the vehicle be marked with "Sun International" as the manufacturer. All of the imported cars are titled as such and listed as being a "Rally Sport" model instead of "Escort". There were a few items that needed to be changed to meet federal regulations but for the most past all of the imported Cosworth's are fairly original.
Tom Calahane of Sun International was able to get these models certified by the DOT by petitioning them to allow a virtual crash test to be admitted instead of submitting a few models for actual crash testing and destruction. This was the first and last time that the DOT has allowed such a test to be admitted and if you are uncertain just take a peak at the Federal Register listed here. Once the virtual crash test was passed they asked for public comment on it and since no comments were received the petition was approved in June of 1995.
Most of the vehicles brought in were the 1995 model year of the T25 version. All of the models brought in featured the signature whale-tail wing and the Cosworth YBT engine which produced 217 horsepower from the stock 2.0L turbocharged engine. The engine is very stout and tuners have pushed some models up to 1000 horsepower. Even in stock form, the cars could reach 60 mph in about 5.7 seconds. The reason this Cosworth model popped back into my head is the mention of this one for sale on BaT and a Twitter discussion of whether it would be crushed. You can feel safe buying this one and any of the other one imported by Sun as they are certified by DOT and some of them have even been CARB certified in California.
[Photo Credit: Flickr]