1993 Ford Fiesta RS Turbo Mk3 - show-stopping looks and a 355bhp ZVH

1993 Ford Fiesta RS Turbo Mk3 - show-stopping looks and a 355bhp ZVH

Ever-evolving and built tough, Adam Pope’s venomous Fiesta has looped back to Fast Ford for the second time around.




It all started with wanting a bit more horsepower.” Yep, heard that one before. The path leading up to this Fiesta’s current 355bhp guise has been one of tricky but rewarding stepping stones, all with the aim of creating something that’s as capable of delivering breath-taking performance as it is of scooping silverware on the showground. Now, you may remember seeing this RS Turbo featured in our February 2018 issue. You may question why it’s being featured again, and given the coveted cover slot too.

“I wanted a few motorsport things in the mix, and also to make the car lighter with some carbon fibre. Sourcing the carbon parts turned out to be really hard though, like finding a unicorn...”

But the transformation since that late-2017 shoot has been so in-depth, so seismic, so disruptive, that the car’s morphed into a whole other entity. This is, quite simply, one of the very best Fiestas in the UK today, and Adam Pope’s devotion to its evolution is extraordinary. A regular on the show scene, this is the car that keeps coming back like a boomerang, each time attacking harder with the venom of a boomslang.

1993 Ford Fiesta RS Turbo Mk3 - show-stopping looks and a 355bhp ZVH

“I wanted a few motorsport things in the mix, and also to make the car lighter with some carbon fibre. Sourcing the carbon parts turned out to be really hard though, like finding a unicorn...”

Last time you saw this car in these pages, it was running a pretty tasty spec – it had a 215bhp CVH, Compomotive MOs, Brembos, show cage, it was very cool. But so much has changed since then that it’s near enough a different car these days. “Yeah, I’ve modified pretty much everything over the last few years,” Adam laughs. And perhaps the most significant changes have been going on under the bonnet: “I wanted it to feel properly lively, to be a bit of a handful. So I purchased a turbo first – the big GT3071HTA from Owen Developments, knowing full well it’d be too big for my CVH…”

1993 Ford Fiesta RS Turbo Mk3 - show-stopping looks and a 355bhp ZVH

This gave Adam the push to do something really special with his engine, concluding that the ultimate fusion of CVH looks and Zetec turbo power that a ZVH provides would be the way to go. An obsessive researcher, he then set about combing through the finer details of every ZVH build he could find, learning what had been tried-and-tested and what had failed, in order to build up his own perfect parts list. A lot of research also went into compression ratios and boost pressures, and after a protracted and in-depth period of burying himself in build threads and spec sheets, Adam emerged blinking into the light with a reasonably clear idea of what he wanted. And so, rolling up his sleeves, he got stuck into building the strongest ZVH he possibly could.

1993 Ford Fiesta RS Turbo Mk3 - show-stopping looks and a 355bhp ZVH

“I sent the cylinder head to my local machine shop to have the valve seats cut for the larger valves, and any other work that was needed,” he says. “Meanwhile I got working on the silver-top 2.0 block buildup, re-gapping all the rings on the Wossner forged pistons so I’d have correct blow-by; the pistons were mounted to H-beam con rods to take the high torque, and I set about measuring cylinder walls as I wanted an 86mm bore, doubled-checking for imperfections. I had the crank balanced by a local machine shop, and also checked the oil pump as I’d heard horror stories! Once I was happy it was time to begin placing it all in the block. I wanted ARP racing bolts and studs on everything, including main cap bearings, con rods, flywheel and cylinder head, as I don’t want anything moving the way it shouldn’t go. I opted for a 1.9mm Cometic head gasket as they were made for ZVH builds, and by this time the head was back from the machine shop so I got on to assembly; I used 1mmoversized stainless valves, double 200lb valve springs to prevent valve float, a Kent CVH37 competition cam as I wanted a smooth power curve, and hydraulic lifters and Harland Sharp roller rockers from the US.”

1993 Ford Fiesta RS Turbo Mk3 - show-stopping looks and a 355bhp ZVH

With the motor built up, Adam was very mindful of the engine breathing correctly, so he got in touch with Zewspeed and enquired about a side-entry inlet manifold to be custom-made; Zak was more than happy to assist and understood the brief perfectly.

“The exhaust manifold was the hardest part of all,” Adam continues. “I went through three types before actually deciding which one was best. I managed to source a well-made stainless Crazycage manifold on Facebook, still brand new, which would need modifications to take the V-band and external wastegate, and set about modifying that. I then made a complete 3” stainless exhaust from the turbo back, and in the downpipe was also a feed back for the wastegate – I wanted a TiAL 50mm blow-off valve that re-inserted back through the turbo to help throttle response.”

1993 Ford Fiesta RS Turbo Mk3 - show-stopping looks and a 355bhp ZVH

Heat management was very much on his mind too, heat-shielding various areas to prevent soak from the stainless manifold as well as going to the trouble of fitting an AEM water/meth injection system to aid with inlet temps and ignition. The fuelling was necessarily upgraded, with a new tank and 340lph AEM pump joined by AN fittings and PTFE braided lines throughout, and a Forge fuel regulator.

With all of these power games playing out, it was becoming apparent that the old 4-pots mightn’t be enough, so the next job on the list was to set about researching the optimal brake setup. The result of yet another lengthy fact-finding mission turned out to be a set of AP Racing front brakes from a Lotus Exige, a rear ST170 disc conversion, with an AP Racing pedal box and in-line servo, along with ST170 rear hubs and the stronger front hubs from a Mk5 Zetec-S; the CV joints, tie rod and track rod arms are all Mk5 too. Once again, it’s all about strength and longevity. This car has been built to be bulletproof.

“I also needed modified engine mounts, which I made in-house,” he says, “and I wanted a new gear linkage shifter so I got in touch with Vos Engineering who were designing and making these short-shifter towers at the time of my build, and it was set in my mind that I had to have one.”

1993 Ford Fiesta RS Turbo Mk3 - show-stopping looks and a 355bhp ZVH

With all of these form-and-function developments, the aesthetic direction of the car was becoming increasingly clear too, and one word above all would define the motivation: clubsport.

“I wanted a few motorsport things in the mix, and also to make the car lighter with some carbon fibre – who doesn’t love carbon?” Adam continues. “Sourcing the carbon parts turned out to be really hard though, like finding a unicorn at times; in the end I tracked down Lotus carbon headlight scoops, a roof skin and front splitter from Raj at Autoflock, and the bootlid was an absolute fluke, I found that on Facebook.

To complement the clubsport vibe I started thinking about ’80s motorsport and the BBS alloys; I’ve always wanted a set and nobody had really fitted genuine BBS RS to a Fiesta Turbo, so I thought: let’s try and get it done. I sourced some genuine, untouched BBS wheels in a 4x114 Honda fitment, so I needed adapters – they don’t come off the shelf in that PCD, so once again I was making something bespoke. Also, to gain the right offset, I had to replace the outer lips with 0.5” along with a 5.5” inner barrel in order to bring them to ET38. They were finished with grey centres to match the carbon fibre, polished lips, MG-Line centre-lock nuts, and of course the custom carbon turbofans. Then I started looking at some of the paintwork, since that’s my profession – I needed to get some bits tidied up, and painting a newly louvre-pressed bonnet along with the headlamps, front bumper, rear bumper and nearside rear quarter freshened the car up a bit.”

The makeover was becoming moreand more comprehensive as mission creep firmly set in, so it was perhaps inevitable that after assessing and reworking the drivetrain, chassis and exterior, Adam would take a little look at the cabin and start coming up with ideas. And so it came to pass – a set of Recaro Sportster CS were liberated from a Renaultsport Clio, stripped, de-air-bagged, retrimmed in black leather and suede, and fitted on custom mounts that fuse Mk2 Focus RS and Fiesta Turbo runners. The doorcards were trimmed in nappa leather to match, a headlining made up in black suede, and the rollcage and cross bars finished in red.

“By this time, we were ready for final engine mapping,” says Adam. “A couple of times I had been to and from Dan Page at Page Motorsport with the car. Dan has spent a long time with my Fiesta and let me get involved in the dyno room, setting it up to be perfect in how I want it to perform. He’s a true petrolhead and always goes out of his way to achieve perfection. And he has done exactly that, making sure throughout that the fuelling was right at every throttle point on the three boost settings; in the end we achieved 280bhp at 12psi, 305bhp at 24psi, and 355bhp at 31psi with the meth switched on. That was the absolute achievement for me, building an engine to perform so faultlessly on the dyno was incredible. The power input to the wheels is perfect, the power curves are just great and smooth throughout the graph on the dyno runs – we ended up doing over sixty runs on the dyno just so we knew it was perfect.”

And that, folks, is why it’s in the mag again, and proudly on the cover. Adam’s commitment to this car is incredible, and his obsession with perfection is unparalleled. This RS Turbo is the venomous creature that just keeps on coming back, and Adam ensures that every single time it bites harder than before. It’s a relentless trophy winner at show-and-shines, but above all else this Fiesta was engineered to be strong and reliable. “It all started with wanting a bit more horsepower,” sure – but what this car is really about is that it’s actually a bit more of absolutely everything.

Morettes feature Harley Davidson lamps and carbon air ducts. Water/meth kit is just one of many high-tech performance upgrades. Foglamp covers were 3D-printed.

Recaros came from a Renault, and have been fully rebuilt, retrimmed and custom-mounted.

Custom turbofans look great — leaving Adam with the tricky decision of whether to fit them or not at shows.

Extra gauges, big audio and white dials — it’s like a modern evolution of an early-2000s build.

It’s fair to say the carbon fibre theme has been comprehensive.In many ways, this turbo was to blame for everything that followed

After a protracted period of burying himself in research, Adam got stuck into building the strongest and toughest ZVH that he possibly could


  • AGE 33
  • JOB Owner of Alcester Car Care
  • FIRST FORD Mk5 Escort XR3i
  • BEST MODIFICATION The engine and bay
  • EVENT? Ford Fair, for sure — love Silverstone!
  • TRACK DAY OR SHOW & SHINE? Both – drive on track then pull up for a show-and-shine!
  • LESSONS LEARNT FROM THIS PROJECT? If you’re going for it, do a lot of research
  • WHAT’S NEXT Look into a 4WD setup maybe, but I shall see…
  • THANKS Dan Page of Page Motorsport, Goodflex Rubber Co for use of their premises to do the photoshoot, and Vos Engineering for the shifter Tower


  • ENGINE 2.1-litre ZVH, low-compression forged Wossner pistons, 8:1 compression ratio with piston rings custom-gapped to owner’s spec, H-beam con rods, 1.9mm Cometic multi-layer steel head gasket, ARP main cap, head, rod and flywheel bolts, ported and polished CVH head with stainless steel 1mm oversized valves, steel guides, 200lb double valve springs, titanium valve spring caps, Harland Sharp roller rockers, Kent CVH37 cam, hydraulic lifters, Owen Developments GT3071HTA turbo, TiAL 3603 V-band housing, TiAL MVS 38mm external wastegate, custom stainless steel manifold with large 1.25” ports, custom Zewspeed side-entry alloy inlet manifold, 70mm Jenvey throttle body, Airtec front-mount intercooler, TiAL 50mm blow-off recirc valve, Forge Motorsport fuel pressure regulator, 750cc fuel injectors, braided PTFE steel fuel lines, AEM high-pressure 340lph pump in tank, custom AN fittings, custom alloy boost hoses, Roose Motorsport coolant and boost hoses, full custom 3” stainless steel turbo-back exhaust system, custom barrel-type engine mounts, AEM water/meth injection, Omex 600 ECU
  • MAX POWER 355bhp, 378lb.ft (@ 31psi)
  • TRANSMISSION CTS-built Stage 2 gearbox, Quaife diff, CG Motorsport 7-paddle 425 clutch, Mk5 Fiesta Zetec-S front hubs and driveshafts, ST170 rear hubs
  • SUSPENSION GAZ Gold Competition coilovers, fully polybushed throughout
  • BRAKES Lotus Exige AP Racing calipers with 320mm discs, ST170 rear disc conversion, AP Racing pedal box and in-line servo under dash
  • WHEELS & TYRES 7x16” ET38 BBS RS custom split-rims with polished 0.5” lips, black 5.5” barrels, grey centres, custom MG-Line centrelock nuts, carbon fibre BBS turbofans, custom 4x114-to-4x108 adaptors, 195/40 Nankang NS-2 Tyres
  • EXTERIOR Carbon fibre bootlid, carbon roof, carbon front splitter, custom bonnet louvres, carbon Group A rally mirrors, large bumper cutout for intercooler, Morette quad headlamps with carbon fibre scoops and Harley Davidson headlamp units, carbon badges, smoked indicators and taillights, custom 3D-printed Hella foglamp covers
  • INTERIOR Renaultsport Clio Recaro CS Sportster seats – retrimmed in black leather and suede, custom seat frames, door cards retrimmed in black leather, black suede headlining, red rollcage and cross bars, Sparco 4-point harnesses, Momo carbon fibre steering wheel, carbon handbrake, carbon fire extinguisher, Vos Engineering short-shift with carbon gearknob and handle, AEM gauges — AFR, oil, and boost, GReddy Profec boost controller, Alpine CDA-9831R head unit, JL audio speakers and Magnat X0 Xtrema crossovers in custom door pods
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