Retropower has come to be defined by our more extreme projects, those powered by lairy engines from rival manufacturers, exotic sequential transmissions and clean sheet, one-off suspension setups. Excited as we undoubtedly are by the prospect of custom work of this kind, it’s also true that our staff are just as happy to turn their collective hand to more conventional automotive tasks, including ground-up restorations like the one you see here, Tony Ulyat’s Fiesta RS Turbo.

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The Fiesta’s freshly repainted bodyshell emerges from the spray booth

The Fiesta RS Turbo has endured something of a mixed life to date, going from a hot hatch icon when new to a prime target of joy-riders and other sticky-fingered ne’er-do-wells, not to mention a blank canvass for some decidedly suspect examples of automotive creative expression. Think dodgy bodykits, crudely cranked boost levels and certifiable wheels, the kind which all but dominated the UK’s tuning scene at the beginning of the last decade.

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There’s little better than a freshly rebuilt engine 

The turbocharged Mk3 Fiesta has now become something of an appreciating classic however, a retro icon from an important chapter in hot hatch history, and therefore well worth preserving in standard, factory form. It’s also worth noting that examples of the RS Turbo are staggeringly rare these days, partly a result of their relatively short life (Ford only sold them between 1990 and 1992), partly the efforts of the aforementioned first time modifiers. Many an RS Turbo ended its days wedged midway through a ditch or hedge!

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Parts delivered back to us, ready to commence an RS Turbo shaped jigsaw puzzle 

The good news from our point of view was that Tony already owned an RS Turbo, in fact he’d owned the same car from new, a full 25 years ago at the time. The RS had been Tony’s regular mode of transport for a good portion of those two and a bit decades, only being taken off the road and retired to a garage when its T2 turbo blew a decade ago.

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Freshly fitted interior left Retropower looking every bit as good as it did in 1990

A desire to get the RS back to full health saw Tony book it into us some 3 years ago, the brief being to strip it back to its component parts before rebuilding it with an emphasis on OEM-matching levels of fit and finish. It certainly helped that Tony already owned the complete car, though a number of deviations from Ford spec were made along the way, including H&R coilovers and a moderately sized stainless steel exhaust system.

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Newly rebuilt CVH was painstakingly craned into the Fiesta’s engine bay and bolted in place

The interior of the Fiesta had suffered most in its enforced hibernation, with a degree of sun bleaching, plus the customary wear and tear to the car’s Recaro bucket sears. This prompted us to source another, matching interior to make one good from two so-so ones.

This was a project centred upon attention to detail and a need to produce a car in as good a condition as the day it rolled off the production line. We’d like to think we managed to fulfil both those criteria.

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One very happy RS Turbo owner 

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