Fiesta RS Turbos may be getting increasingly rare, but that doesn’t mean they have to be kept stock, as Jamie Hurley has proven with his immaculate modified Ford Fiesta RS Turbo.
There’s a lot of heated debate about what you should and shouldn’t do to your fast Ford. From advocates of keeping it original and pristine, to those who say: “to hell with that, let’s go all out with the mods!”, there’s no real right or wrong way of doing it. One thing’s for sure though, the older a car gets, the more likely the purists are to shout: “leave it standard!”
It’s something Jamie Hurley, owner of this awesome modified Ford Fiesta RS Turbo, knows only too well.
“When I told people I was going to cut the roof out and replace it with carbon fibre, some people thought I was mad,” he smiles. “Mind you, if that got them going, the fact that I ripped out the stock interior and binned it, would probably make them have a coronary,” he laughs.
Jamie is a straight-talking kind of guy. He’s passionate about his cars and believes that you should build it for no one else but yourself. “It’s a Marmite car; you either love it or hate it.” The Fiesta is the culmination of five months of hard work, and the end result is truly stunning.
Just stop and take a look at it for a moment. From that aggressive front end, with gaping hole in the front bumper designed to get as much cool air into the engine as possible, to those stunning, magnesium wheels (genuine items from Compomotive no less), through to the immaculate interior; every single area of this car has been refreshed, replaced or modified.
“It all started when a chap offered to buy my Escort Cossie,” says Jamie. “We ended up agreeing a price, so I sold it to him; that’s when I started looking for a Fiesta.”
Having owned six of the little Fords in the past, Jamie fancied doing another one and he was so set on the idea that he’d already bought the Omex management in preparation. “EFi is getting a bit old now, so I knew I wanted to go with Omex.” Now all he needed was the car.
“I put posts up saying I was looking for a Fiesta RS Turbo and this chap said he’d had one as a project for ten years, but wanted to sell it. It was a bare shell, with a Silver Top engine and a load of parts, so I went up to Stoke with a van and bought the lot.”
This was September 2018; the Fiesta then sat in a mate’s garage until January 2019. However, once they got started on it, progress was fairly rapid. “We started off working Saturdays, but the days just got longer and longer until sometimes, I wouldn’t get home until 5am the next day,” says Jamie, “I don’t know how my missus Charlotte put up with it.”
With the project in full swing, Jamie began collecting a long list of parts that would transform the car. The previous owner had already forged the bottom end and as it was all stripped down, it turned out to be in great condition.
“Shall we remove the bonnet so you can see the engine better?” asks Jamie. How can we refuse such an offer? Five minutes later, and the pristine bonnet is gently laid on a handy piece of hedgerow and the bay is now fully exposed for our cameras.
And what a treat it is. Gone is the original CVH, replaced with something more reliable and easier to tune. It may look like the original CVH to the untrained eye, but what you see here is actually a 2.1-litre bored-out Silver Top Zetec bottom-end mated to the CVH 8-valve cylinder head to create a ZVH. And it looks brand new, complemented by a plethora of supporting upgrades, all immaculately presented and gleaming.
However, while many Blue Oval fans will favour the shiny polished look, Jamie has gone for a more subtle style, with lots of OEM-looking black. It all contrasts really well with the factory grey paint and simply oozes quality. The effect is more pronounced thanks to the wire tuck that’s been implemented, and the fact we can see right into the bay without the bonnet to get in the way. “We had to lengthen the loom to get it all to work and because of the manifold, I couldn’t fit the brake servo, so we had to install a pedal box instead,” says Jamie. “The 3in exhaust system was also very tight with the gear selector, but we got away with it.”
The 2.1-litre engine has been fully built, using only the best components. You can read the full list of go-faster goodness in the tech spec panel, but highlights include Accralite forged pistons and steel con rods, a Newman ‘Ultimate’ ZVH cam, solid lifters, ARP bolts and much more. Jamie’s thinking was do it right and do it once; sensible man.
A rather large Garrett T34 takes pride of place at the front of the bay utilising 0.63 exhaust housing and mated to a tasty Jamsport tubular manifold. With supporting upgrades and an Omex 600 ECU running the show, this 30-year old Fiesta now delivers 255bhp at the wheels. That may not sound much by today’s standards, but it’s the way the power is delivered to this 800kg Ford that makes it so much fun.
“When you put your foot down and hear the whistle of the turbo, it’s like an aeroplane,” laughs Jamie. “People said a T34 would be too laggy, but there’s no lag – it just rips it up when it comes in. Dan at Page Motorsport has set it up bang on.” Given the spec, there’s potential for a lot more, although the gearbox would need uprating to cope with it. “We made 290bhp on the dyno, but had to wind it back down for reliability,” says Jamie. “With an uprated ’box it’ll do 350bhp easy.”
Jamie has beefed-up the chassis to cope with the new power, so it now handles as well as it goes. Escort Cossie front brakes do a decent job of stopping it, while Avo fully adjustable coilovers keep it planted on the road.
When it came to the exterior Jamie wanted it to be a mix of subtle, but aggressive styling – just enough to beef up the stock Fiesta, but without going too far. The front end certainly gets your attention with its gaping bumper and twin headlights, with cold air feeds incorporated. Then there’s that carbon splitter and if you look up, a carbon roof, too. But the rest is all nice and subtle, from the rear lights, to the Mk5 mirrors and even the smoked repeaters.
The quality is bang-on and testament to the skill of Adam at Alcester Car Care. It’s had a full bare shell resto with all of the rot cut out and new genuine inner and outer wings and rear quarters added, followed by a full respray underneath, inside and out in original Mercury Grey. The outside is finished off with a set of very rare, genuine magnesium wheels from Compomotive. “I’d had three other sets of wheels, but kept seeing other Fiestas with the same ones,” says Jamie, so I called Compomotive to ask if they’d do me a set of TH2s in 7x16in. No matter how much I begged them, even offering to pay more for them, they said no.” Not a man to give up on his dreams, Jamie began to put the word out and eventually heard back from a guy who had a set for sale. The wheels sit perfectly in the arches and look absolutely bang on the money, although the story has a slight twist. “Annoyingly after saying they’d never do another set in 16in, Compomotive then started making them (not in magnesium though)” smiles Jamie.
Inside, there’s black leather and a full complement of flocking, courtesy of Raj at Autoflock, plus some expensive gauges from AEM. “One thing I may change is the lack of sound deadening,” says Jamie. “It’s so loud my little one has to wear ear defenders when we go out in it.”
The car is fresh from its very first outing to the Players show when I visit Jamie and he’s still buzzing from the event. “The car went down really well,” he says, with the 90s Fez clearly impressing the retro-focused crowd. Since then it’s appeared on the Fast Ford stand at Ford Fair, where it got even more attention – and rightly so.
“I like it because it always starts a conversation,” says Jamie. “People either like it or they don’t, that’s why I’ve got the Marmite dipstick. Mind you that was also a pain as I had to cut up an antique silver dealer spoon that I won on eBay to make it!” he laughs.
With plans for some bigger brakes and maybe a carbon tailgate at some stage, Jamie is happy to enjoy his fully refreshed Fiesta for the time being, and whether you agree with his choice of upgrades or not, he deserves a huge nod of respect for going his own way.
Tech Spec: Modified Ford Fiesta RS Turbo
2.1-litre ZVH; Silver Top 2.0-litre Zetec bottom end bored to 2.1; 86mm Accralite forged pistons; steel H-section conrods; Felpro head-gasket; new core plugs; Newman ‘Ultimate’ ZVH cam and solid lifters; stock valves; ARP conrod and flywheel bolts; ARP main crank stud and nut kit; piston oil spray jets; stock crank with Mahle bearings; genuine Ford water pump; Motorsport Developments cambelt and tensioner kit; Motul ‘Motocool Expert’ coolant; Motul 10w40 300V oil; Garrett T34 turbo with 0.63 exhaust housing from Turbo Performance; Collins Performance -34 actuator; Jamsport tubular manifold; Mk2 Focus RS Group A K&N air filter; full custom 3in turbo-back exhaust with Sierra Cosworth back box heat wrapped from start to finish; Cosworth Swedish plenum with Cosworth 2WD throttle body and Oddkidd Creations bracket; Mk1 Focus RS 400cc injectors; Omex 600 ECU and custom loom with sensors; live mapped by Dan at Page Motorsport; MSD relocated coil pack; custom length HT leads with Funk Motorsport heat sleeves; Ford 071 spark plugs; Airtec Stage 2 intercooler; Airtec Escort RS Turbo radiator with twin 9in fans; full silicone hoses custom made from Roose Motorsport; custom stainless steel main boost hose; Bailey breather kit with custom catch can set up; Bailey Cosworth water swirl pot; RS1600i ‘Motorsport’ rocker cover; new steel fuel lines covered with heat proof sleeving; Sytec fuel filter; Walbro 255 fuel pump; new fuel tank; all wiring tucked and redirected where possible to give a cleaner look; removable carbon fibre front panel and carbon tags; alloy washer bottle; carbon fibre cambelt cover; Magneti Marelli 3-bar map sensor
255bhp at the wheels (detuned for reliability)
Fully rebuilt Escort RS Turbo LSD box, painted to match car; Alcon 6-paddle clutch machined to match flywheel by CG Motorsport; B&M short shifter; Zetec engine mount; Vibratechnics gearbox mounts
Avo fully adjustable coilovers; poly bushes throughout; front strut brace; rear beam powder coated; front subframe and cradle powder coated; new arms & drop links; Fiesta Mk3.5 hubs
Escort Cosworth front brake set up with Ferodo pads and drilled and grooved discs; rear RS2000 disc conversion; Comp Brake pedal box setup with billet pots and brake bias adjuster; braided flexis and all brake lines have been run inside the car
Wheels & Tyres:
7x16in magnesium Compomotive TH2s with 195/40×16 Toyo Proxes T1r tyres
Full bare shell resto; all rot cut out new genuine inner and outer wings, genuine rear quarters full respray underneath inside and out in original grey, custom front bumper by Alcester Car Care to allow better flow for intercooler; Autoflock genuine carbon fibre front splitter and genuine carbon fibre roof skin; Mk5 Fiesta wing mirrors colour coded with gloss black bases; roof rails also gloss black; Aerocatches on bonnet; Morrette twin headlights with cold air feeds; Ford accessory rear lights; front lights/indicators and fog lights all tinted; boot has had wiper delete and cut down number plate; original green stripes; new matching lock set and petrol cap
Full leather Recaros; dash/pillars/kick panels/handles centre console etc all been flocked in custom anthracite by Autoflock; Sparco steering wheel; battery relocated to boot in custom box with fire extinguisher; AEM wideband AFR gauge and boost gauge; Pioneer head unit; Escort Cosworth 170mph speedo; black non-sunroof headliner and sun visors; black carpet
Feature taken from Fast Ford magazine. Words and Photos: Davy Lewis.