FIESTA RS TURBO
The RS Turbo was launched in May 1990, a year after the XR2i. The engine was based on the 1.6 turbocharged CVH from the Series 2 Escort RS Turbo. Due too lack of space in the Fiestas engine bay, the T3 turbo as on the Escort was replaced with a smaller Garett T2 unit. This also helped to minimize lag as it began to boost at just under 2000rpm. The Bosch K-Star management was also not retained, with Ford utilising the EFI EEC-IV system from the XR2i. The performance of the car was a substantial improvement over the XR2i with 132bhp on tap, 0-60 taking 7.7 seconds and a top speed of 133mph. The Fiesta was geared lower than the Escort, but it did not have the Limited Slip Differential (LSD) and as a result, torque steered a little. The RST's suspension was 1" lower than the XR2i, with shorter dampers on the rear, and the addition of a rear anti-roll bar. The braking system was the same as the XR2i with the option of ABS at extra cost. Externally the RST had 14" three spoke alloy wheels, a colour coded hatch spoiler and the stripe running down the side was green. Too aid cooling bonnet vents were fitted and the grille was removed. Like the XR2i, the RST was only available in Black, Radiant Red, Diamond White or Mercury Grey, although the last production run were all Moondust Silver. The RST was produced until the emission laws of 1992, and as some cars were manufactured, but not registered until after August 1st, there are a few K plate examples around.
Type: pressed steel monocoque Fiesta three-door hatchback shell with Ford RS
bodykit including front spoiler, bonnet louvres and tailgate spoiler.
Diamond White, Radiant Red, Black & Mercury Grey Metallic.
Moondust Silver was also available for the last runs.
Bore/stroke: 79.96mm x 79.52mm
Compression ratio: 8.2:1
Max power: 133 bhp @ 5500 rpm
Max torque: 135 lbf.ft @ 2400 rpm
Cylinders: four, in-line
Cylinder head: alloy
Block: cast iron
Installation: front-mounted, transverse
Valve gear: two valves per cylinder, belt driven overhead camshaft
Induction: Garrett T2 turbo, intercooler, Ford EEC-IV engine management
Gearbox: Type B5 five-speed Ford manual with 218mm clutch
Internal ratios: 1st, 2.95:1; 2nd, 1.94:1; 3rd, 1.34:1; 4th, 1.0:1; 5th, 0.8:1
Final drive: 3.82:1
Front: MacPherson struts with 16mm anti-roll bar
Rear: torsion beam rear axle, with trailing arms, coil springs and 20mm anti-roll bar
Type: variable-ratio rack-and-pinion
System: vacuum servo-assisted dual circuit hydraulic with optional ABS
Front: 240mm ventilated discs
Rear: 203mm drums
Wheels & Tyres
Wheels: three-spoke RS alloys, 5.5x14
Tyres: 185/55 VR14
Trim: Recaro front seats in Ascot fabric trim, 60:40 rear-split seat
Grey leather covered sports steering wheel
Max speed: 132 mph
0-60 mph: 7.9 sec
You’ll find the chassis numbers on the front slam panel and stamped directly on the
driver’s side floorplan. On the floorplan it’s hidden under the lidded cover and if
there’s any fresh paint or welding in this area then walk away.
Earliest cars are now over 10 years old and ripe for rust. MkIII Fiesta’s not a bad
rotter, but watch for bubbling rear arches, corroding battery trays, and especially
accident damage. Look for this on the front end...new front slam panel and wings.
Some bubbles around the petrol cap area are not un-common. Check the car under
artificial light for signs of bad re-painting. This is where street lights are gold mine.
Also get on your hands and knees and look at the floorpan to check if the chassis is
suffering from rott, especially around the door pillars and the bulkhead, if it's
bad walk away!
Turbo CVH is quite tough, but it does suffer if it’s neglected. Look for a decent
service history as regular oil changes are the key to keeping one alive. If this isn’t
done then sludging gums up the hydraulic tappets, oil circulation is then reduced and
bore/bearing wear sets in. Blue smoke will give you a good clue as to what’s
happening. Bad news if you’re skint, but a great bargaining point if you’re planning to
rip it out drop in a 1900. Also make sure the engine is cold when you arrive to inspect
it. Warm engines can hide quite a few things.
Like its motor, the RS Fiesta’s gearbox is a tough bit of kit. However, it wasn’t the
smoothest box when new and failing synchromesh, noisy bearings and a slack linkage
can make it even worse. A baulky shift when the engine’s cold will give you an
indication of worn synchromesh. Don’t forget the clutch – the Fiesta can eat them in
just 20,000 miles.
Critics were hard on the RS Fiesta’s ride and handling when launched, but it’s really
not that bad. The ride should be quite firm and don’t worry about a little torque steer.
Kerbed alloys could mean the suspension’s taken a beating and uneven tyre wear
indicates the tracking’s out. Easy to fix, unless it’s the result of badly repaired
As per the Escort RS Turbo, the blown Fiesta’s prone to warping its discs. Easy to
spot as the shuddering will send your shoe off the pedal.
Shabby Recaros are a big turn off. Getting replacement trim is expensive and timeconsuming.
But if you’re angling for a full leather retrim it’s not going to bother you
that much – of course, you don’t want to tell the person selling the car this. Also
check the carpets...a sure tell-tale sign if the mileage matches the condition etc. This
part is quite often missed by people when “tidying” the car for sale.
£2000 – 3000
Look carefully at cars in this price range. Values now levelling out, so there are RS
Turbos cropping up for this kind of money. Look out for turbo’d XR2is masquerading
as the genuine article – fine if you’re told about it, but not s funny when you realise
the fake you’ve bought isn’t worth half as much as you paid.
£3000 – 4000
Spend this kind of money and you’ll have a good example on the drive. It’ll be
straight and honest, but don’t expect it to win any awards. There’s likely to be a fair
few miles and owners on the logbook too. Basically, it’ll be a good used buy that
looks respectable and drives well.
£4000 – 5000
Pay this money and you’ve every right to expect an excellent example in return. Cars
will be very clean with FSH, few owners and low mileage. Watch out for messed
around cars where the vendor’s trying hopelessly to get his money back.
A car with this price tag’s either extremely well modded or boasts a string of concours
REMEMBER: THESE PRICES ARE JUST A GUIDLINE.
Everyone wants 17’s and above, but if you bolt them straight on then you’ll foul the
dampers. The way around this is to fit some spacers, but it’s not the ideal solution. A
safe bet is a 7x16 inch wheel with 195/45 rubber.
Don’t listen to your mates in the pub when they tell you the Fiesta’s motor was lifted
straight from the Escort RS Turbo. It was based on an Escort short engine assembly
but the camshaft and cylinder head were developed from the XR2i. Other changes
included a different turbo and manifold redesign, plus Ford’s own EEC-IV injection
instead of the Escort’s Bosch KE-Jetronic version.
Price When New
Back in 1991 you were expected to part with £11,950 for an RS Turbo Fiesta
Everyone loves the RS insignia, so thank your lucky stars you didn’t buy a blown
Fester abroad – LHD versions came without the RS badging...and that’s a fact !!!!