To all the cyn­ics who say that the uni­corn is just a myth­i­cal beast, we pre­sent this: ar­guably the per­fect Se­ries 2 RS Turbo. A sym­bol of pu­rity and fo­cus, it’s al­most un­be­liev­ably good. This isn’t just strap­ping a plas­tic horn onto a horse, this is the r

Fast Ford - - Contents - Words DAN BE­VIS / Pho­tos MATT WOODS

Quite pos­si­bly the per­fect RS Turbo, this beauty has got it all!

There’s some­thing mag­i­cal hap­pen­ing here. Can you feel it? That’s what the ful­fil­ment of de­sire feels like. The tick­ing of an almighty box. As you gaze long­ingly at these pho­tos, you’ll be at­tempt­ing to cope with a va­ri­ety of emo­tions, de­pend­ing on how old you are; up-and-com­ing young mod­ders will be im­pressed by a big-power retro that was crafted in the era their dads are al­ways bang­ing on about; the old guard will be try­ing to rec­on­cile what they’re see­ing with what goes on across Chelsea Bridge on a Satur­day night… and those who grew up read­ing the mod­ding mags in the 1990s? For that group, this is es­sen­tially a dream come true. There’s a lot of Se­ries 2 RS Tur­bos on the scene (well, there used to be – there’s a de­cent amount of them around still, but there used to be loads), and there was al­ways a tried-and-tested formula. Head­strong young hot­shoes would strap on a cheap dump valve and some scrap­yard tyres and go and cause may­hem in su­per­mar­ket car parks and seafronts at night. Af­ter a time, they’d wind up the boost and things would melt. They’d re­build the en­gine, then do it all again. Maybe think about one of those weird asym­met­ric Delta bodyk­its, or pos­si­bly some tiger stripes. That’s how it was in the nineties.

What you’re see­ing here, though… this would have been the stuff of a mad­man’s dream back then. This is, in many re­spects, the per­fect RS Turbo. The at­ten­tion to de­tail, the qual­ity of the crafts­man­ship, the showwin­ning fin­ish that’s ag­gres­sively backed up by as­ton­ish­ing per­for­mance and dreamy han­dling, the end­less list of unique and off­beat ideas – this is a hy­per­in­tel­li­gent RS that dropped through a worm­hole in time, rock­eted from the ’90s into the fu­ture, then came back with some barmy tales to tell.

You’d ex­pect it to be some­thing

spe­cial of course, given that its owner, Daryl Stan­ley, has had it since he was 18 – and that was nigh-on ten years ago. The pieces of the puz­zle are start­ing to fall into place, aren’t they? “I can’t leave things alone,” he laughs. “Stan­dard is bor­ing, ev­ery­thing has to be mod­i­fied.” We tend to agree, and the ev­i­dence be­fore us cer­tainly can’t be ar­gued with. So where did this all start?

“It be­longed to my grandad’s mate,” Daryl re­calls. “It was in a col­lec­tion, neare­nough stock – just your run-of-the-mill RS Turbo with a Bai­ley dump valve on the trou­ble­some MFI. I used it for a few years be­fore tak­ing it off the road for a win­ter clean-up, but soon things went ex­treme! And the car’s changed spec quite a few times over the years – try­ing to make it dif­fer­ent to the av­er­age mod­ded RS Turbo is hard, but I’m hop­ing it’s paid off.”

Sure, there’s no room for mod­esty here. This car in its lat­est evo­lu­tion is, in short, as­tound­ing. So let’s start with the en­gine, shall we? Now, this is al­ways a sub­ject for fierce and pas­sion­ate de­bate among RS own­ers; some feel that the CVH is a bit of a boat an­chor and are keen to re­work it as a ZVH (or per­haps swap it en­tirely for a Zetec, or even a YB), while oth­ers have faith in the for­mat and per­se­vere with it to re­alise its true po­ten­tial. It’s safe to say that Daryl is among the lat­ter group. What he’s done here is to take the boosted CVH to its log­i­cal con­clu­sion, hon­ing and re­fin­ing ev­ery sin­gle el­e­ment to en­sure re­li­a­bil­ity goes hand-in-hand with mighty power. “I’ve fully blueprinted the en­gine,” he says, “and the bot­tom end is fully forged with Woss­ner pis­tons and PEC rods. The block face has been decked and bored to match the pis­tons, while the crank was re­ground and the bear­ing clear­ances Plasti­gauged to keep the en­gine nice and tight. Then it was all bal­anced and re­built!”

Makes it sound so sim­ple, doesn’t he? But there was far more to it than that. End­less hours of mea­sur­ing and cal­cu­lat­ing went into en­sur­ing that this would be a strong en­gine with bul­let­proof longevity. He’s used a Cometic head gas­ket and ARP bolts, a big-valve ported and pol­ished head with 3-an­gle valve seats, Har­land Sharp roller rock­ers, solid lifters, dou­ble valve springs, the list goes on. This is one pukka build. Airtec pro­vided the ra­di­a­tor and in­ter­cooler, and the iconic RS1600i rocker cover is one of the more ob­vi­ous give­aways here that this Es­cort’s a long way from stock. The Stage 3 T3 turbo works with a Tial ex­ter­nal waste­gate and BOV, and there’s an in­cred­i­bly loud screamer pipe routed un­der the floor on the driver’s side! So on­look­ers can be in no doubt – this RS is com­pletely, cer­ti­fi­ably in­sane.

“I es­ti­mate it’s run­ning around 240bhp on low boost and 320bhp on high boost,” Daryl reck­ons, “al­though it’s not been on the dyno. My map­per thinks it could be closer to 350bhp!” The Boost­Mon­keys Gen8 ECU is just the job to keep this all in check, and our man’s not tak­ing any chances ei­ther – there are dis­crete noz­zles through­out the en­gine bay, plumbed into a fire ex­tin­guisher sys­tem, whose reser­voir sits in the boot along­side the water in­jec­tion tank. He re­ally has thought of ev­ery­thing.

It may not sur­prise you to learn that the stock RS Turbo gear­box wasn’t go­ing to put up with this non­sense for long. Daryl had up­rated a num­ber of el­e­ments of the trans­mis­sion, in­clud­ing con­vert­ing to a hy­draulic clutch with Gir­ling mas­ter and

“I es­ti­mate it’s run­ning around 240bhp on low boost and 320bhp on high boost... My map­per thinks it could be closer to 350bhp!”

Wil­wood slave cylin­ders, al­though the ’box it­self is next on the list. “It failed on the way to the Clas­sic Ford Show, al­though it did get me home,” he laughs. “Af­ter run­ning 300bhp+ it sounds like it’s straight-cut; dur­ing this shoot it was get­ting louder and louder, so now it’s in bits in the garage while I give it an up­grade!” The up­grade in ques­tion is mighty, a Stage 3 G.E.A.R.S IB5 with strength­ened in­ter­nals, Quaife ATB and Helix 6-pad­dle clutch. Should do the trick.

It’ll cer­tainly match the for­mi­da­ble na­ture of the chas­sis: we’re talk­ing Rey­land brakes all round (the fronts be­ing AP 4-pots) which just about squeeze inside the 16in Com­po­mo­tives, and Gaz coilovers mated to a chas­sis tweaked to Group A specs. It’s got a cus­tom ARB, rose-jointed drop-links, rose-jointed TCAs and rod ends, rose­jointed ad­justable par­al­lel bars and tie bars – it’s ba­si­cally a race car un­der there. So the han­dling is out of this world, al­most as much as the aes­thet­ics.

Ah yes, and we have to talk about that unique look, don’t we? Whereas the 1990s were all about out­ra­geous em­bel­lish­ment, the late-2010s are more about classy ac­cen­tu­a­tion, and Daryl’s ap­proach here has been car­bon, car­bon, flock­ing, and more car­bon. Look un­der the bon­net and you’ll find car­bon fi­bre pick­ing out more de­tails than you’d imag­ine pos­si­ble. Move

to the exterior and you’ll dis­cover car­bon form­ing the ’90-spec spoiler, bon­net, door han­dles, mir­rors, vor­tex gen­er­a­tors… the quick-re­lease bumpers have also been gut­ted of their foam for light­ness – there’s no os­ten­ta­tious bodykit, it’s sim­ply as if a pe­riod RS Turbo has been re­fracted through a mo­tor­sport fil­ter. And per­haps the coolest de­tail is re­vealed when you peep through the win­dows – the front seats are mod­ern Re­caro CS buck­ets, ex­pertly re­trimmed in gen­uine ’90-spec Zolder fab­ric to match the fac­tory rears. How won­der­ful is that?

This, then, is how it’s done. It’s as sim­ple as that. There have been count­less S2 RSTs put to­gether over the years, but it’s hard to imag­ine one more per­fect, more in­tel­li­gent, more thor­ough than this. It sets a new prece­dent for ’90s hot hatch mod­i­fy­ing. And know­ing Daryl’s ob­ses­sion with muck­ing about with it, we can’t imag­ine what it’s go­ing to look like next year – or even next month.

“I love the raw­ness of it,” he grins. “You can’t beat a 1990s hot hatch. And I’ve had it since I was 18, it’s not go­ing any­where…” Amen, brother. We can’t wait to see where this uni­corn can­ters next.

Old school flat-face Comps are the per­fect choice for a S2

Rey­land 330mm discs and AP Rac­ing 4-pots squeeze un­der the 16in Comps

Water in­jec­tion tank is neatly in­stalled in the boot

Car­bon steer­ing wheel dom­i­nates the in­te­rior, but check out the Sam­sung tablet in­stalled in the dash too!

Orig­i­nal dash has been re­placed by a full set of Stack gauges

Re­caro CS seats have been trimmed in Zolder fab­ric

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