Having waited 25 years to find and own a South African 20M RS, in late 2015 I became aware of a similar RS over in America.

It was the rare orange colour of this RS that piqued my initial interest and now, I set out to find out the vehicle's history. I discovered that the present custodian was only the second owner! Having purchased it in 2008 from the original owner, who bought it new in South Africa on 01-Nov-71. So, here we had a genuine two owner car; with it being in the possession of the original owner for the first for 37 years, during which time he put 49k miles on the clock. In addition, the original Bill Of Sale was still with the car!

Based on the information I had collected I considered it would make an ideal candidate for a restoration. From time to time, I kept in touch with the second owner in the United States whilst I was restoring BRM 834J, which eventually hit the UK roads in April 2017.

So, with BRM finished, what to do? Idle hands, and all that.... A plan started to formulate.


... What to do indeed. Especially when the Orange RS was subsequently advertised for sale in late 2019.

On the 7th July 2020 it arrived at Southampton Docks. I met up with fellow FTC-GB Club Member Tony Roe who would be transporting the RS the 240 miles north to my home. As Tony loaded the RS, some unusual noises came from the car. These would need further investigation.

After a smooth delivery a few days later, I crunched the RS into 1st gear and drove at walking pace around to my local MOT garage. The proprietor put the RS on the four-poster lift all was revealed! The propshaft at the gearbox end was at a very peculiar angle, and any oil in the gearbox long gone, I guess. Further digging also identified that the propshaft centre bearing had collapsed, and both exhaust down pipes were hard up against the gearbox cross member. The reason for the strange noises became apparent! It was also noted that the clutch travel was almost non-existent, following a less than successful attempt to fit a 5-speed gearbox by the previous owner. There were, obviously a few issues to sort.

20m-RS-200x200 Moving onwards with inspection revealed no evidence of rust, and all the panels seemed original to the car. An added bonus of its previous life in sunnier climes was no evidence of any welding repairs. By now, with the engine still running, the MOT garage was full of an acrid rich mixture smell. Removing the air filter first revealed a brand new 1600/2000cc Pinto Carb sitting on top of the 3ltr Essex motor...

It became obvious that my plan to drive the RS to and from my lock up each day to do the restoration was shelved. I deemed it undriveable.

Once home, Plan B was devised and a storm proof cover was fitted over the RS. The resto would now be done outdoors, on dry days and parts would be restored in my shed on rainy days. To begin with all of the botched 5 speed parts were removed one by one and assessed or binned.


All of the work, and indeed my ownership of this vehicle, was kept "offline" as I didn't want to dominate the Clubs Facebook Page. Therefore, only a handful of people knew about the RS from day one.

With the RS safely back home and raised high on axle stands, the prop was removed and I found it needed 40 mill adding to its length and rebalancing (at a specialist in Leeds) in order to work correctly. I had already obtained and prepped a second-hand front bumper from overseas, and together with the original welded and repaired rear bumper these were dropped off for rechroming company on the same Leeds trip.

Working outside throughout the winter months was a balancing act, but work continued day to day altering the 5-speed conversion to operate correctly. Meanwhile our 1st Major National Show for FTC-GB had been "Covid Cancelled", so our four proposed Members with their cars ready to celebrate 50 years of the TC1 were stood down, until the rescheduled event in November 2021. I, however, had some more time on my hands...


Prepping each body panel individually, with bare metalled areas to deal with, takes hours of patience as we all know. But this saves a lot of money when the repaint is done. Most of the underside was painted body colour by now, and many of the parts were restored in the shed. As each item was removed, it was restored in some sort of order and then stowed away.

By now it was the spring of 2021, and I made contact with the original four Club members to enquire whether they were still able to attend the previously cancelled NEC 2020 Show. Unfortunately, only two remained available.

I had a rethink and hatched a plan. It was ambitious to say the least. Some would say mad...

"Could I get this latest RS resto to the show?" Well, there is only one way to find out! It was immediately obvious from now onwards; more and more hours would be needed on the RS to stand a chance that this could happen. However, if it could be done, the FTC-GB Club would have the best audience for a secret reveal - The NEC Classic Motor Show. Not a bad opener for our first attendance as a club?


By now I had collected all of the parts needed for a refresh of the 3ltr motor, which I removed and subsequently dismantled in the freshly prepared shed.

20m-RS-300x200 The motor clearances checked out very well on the bores and crank, indicating the mileage to be correct. The block was taken to be chemically cleaned, and on its return the bores glaze busted and reassembled with new bearings and rings, topped off with alloy timing gear and all new ancillaries.

New valves were fitted to the heads and lapped in, while a new 3-piece clutch and a manual choke 38 DGAS carb completed the build.


Andy, who resprayed my previous three restorations was brought on-board and he inspected my body prep as it progressed, pointing out areas that required additional work in order to get the flawless finish I was after. I booked a week slot in his workshop for him to paint the body shell and I took a much needed one week holiday! I couldn't wait to get home after a week away, and with fresh enthusiasm immediately went to see the RS wearing it's new Piri Piri Orange paint and Stripes!

Prior to the cars arrival back at home, I erected a 5 x 3 metre Gazebo and securely anchored it down, This would be my home for the next few months. Luxury...


Ford 20m RS


Once the shell was under the Gazebo, and the glass reinstalled to make the shell watertight, out came the compressor. Several litres of Dinitrol was injected into every conceivable cavity, an extremely messy operation but worthwhile long term of course. By now the UK Registration of the RS was completed without a hitch, at £55 and period plates ordered.

The 14" wheels were refurbished and powder coated then, using a metal template I created, the starfish black center was added. The trim rings are O/E Mustang items ordered from the States, and along with expertly copied stainless-steel wheel nuts, the wheels were topped off with a new set of 165/80/14 Continental tyres.

From the outset, I wanted the RS to look as near as possible, to the day it left the Port Elizabeth Assembly Plant back on the 1st of November 1971. With weeks to go to the Grand Unveil, a corner was being turned. This was the best of any restoration... The refit.

All the anodized trim on the front of the RS was prepped and polished to a very high standard of finish after many hours of tapping out dents from road debris etc. The original battery tray had been removed early in the restoration as it was battered and in poor condition. It also made painting the shell much easier. A period correct Ford replacement tray was sourced, enabling the fitting of Type 183 Square Terminal period battery.

By now I had rigged up some lights inside the gazebo to enable to work long hours on the car as the NEC Show drew closer by the day, and slowly it all came together. With the fresh motor fitted and running now, everything seemed to work ok. A quick shift kit on the gear lever was added, so it would work within the confines of the RS console. But before any of the interior was fitted, I spent a few precious days making and fitting a new carpet.


20m-RS-300x200 Finally, after 2,500 hours over 16 months, on the 8th November - 3 days before the NEC was due to open the RS was finished, phew! And the rest is now history, with the RS scooping just 1 of 2 awards given out at the NEC from 2,500 exhibits, the JUDGES AWARD 2021 by the Classic and Sports Car Magazine. With the magazine's write-up stating the RS was "looking outrageous in Piri Piri Orange". It was a complete shock to Win an Award on the Clubs 1st ever NEC Stand! A full write up of the show is available here.

1971 Taunus 20M RS
1971 Taunus 20M RS - Winner Judges' Choice 2021

With Thanks

Madness like this cannot be kept to one's self. Roy would like to thank the following people for all of their help, assistance and advice.

  • Tony Roe.
  • Andy the Painter.
  • Stu D. aka "the Stoogle" for the encouragement and wiring advice & guidance.