S2 RS TURBO
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
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