A RUSTY old Ford Escort, which has been tucked away in garages for nearly a quarter of century, could sell for up to £25,000 when it goes under the hammer.

The rare two-door Mk 1 RS2000 model, from 1975, is in need of lots of care and attention.

It was bought as a restoration project by a retired Bournemouth man three years ago. But he's decided to let another enthusiast return, what is undoubtedly the one of the nation's most iconic affordable cars, to its former glory.

The sale, set for the Haynes International Motor Museum later this summer, is being handled by north Dorset-based Charterhouse Auctioneers.

While more than four million Escorts rolled off the production line over 32 year period, only 5,334 RS2000's were built – with just 3,759 for the UK market.

Richard Bromell, of Charterhouse, said: "The RS2000 was produced by Ford at their advanced vehicle operations facility at Aveley, Essex. "Back in the early 1970’s, the RS2000 offered everything you could want in a sports saloon with great handling, performance, practicality, easy maintenance and affordability.

"The RS2000 being sold by Charterhouse is an extremely very rare survivor. First registered in 1975 the car was finished in Diamond white rolling off the production line with a cigarette lighter, reversing lights, and a heated rear window.

"Over the past 46 years this RS2000 has had only seven owners in total."

It is thought the car was last on the road nearly 25 years ago, having been tucked away in garages since then.

Richard said: "With so many RS2000 MkI’s having been raced and rallied around the roads and others succumbing to rust and subsequently being scrapped when they were of little value or interest, this is quite probably one of the last genuine Ford Escort MKI RS2000’s in original condition which has never been restored to be offered for sale."

The auction, at Haynes International Motor Museum, Sparkford, Somerset, is scheduled for Wednesday, July 14.