October 6, 2022

When Michael Caine set his coronary heart on shopping for a Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth, he couldn’t have dreamt of what he was about to unearth…

Phrases by Matt James, Motorsport Information. Images by Jakob Ebrey & Michael Caine

The 52-year-old automobile dealer all the time had a hankering for the Blue Oval’s sporting merchandise, and it began when his working life started.

Caine explains: “My first job was as a trainee automobile salesman at a spot known as Gilbert Rice in Cambridge, which was the official RS seller for the world. I used to be there once I was 17, so it was 1988, which was prime time for the Ford Sierra RS500.

“The automobile within the showroom that we liked and the one that each one the general public needed to come back alongside and take a look at was the Cosworth. As a result of we had been an RS dealership, we might get tickets to go and watch the British Touring Automotive Championship – they had been despatched by means of by Andy Rouse Engineering.

“Once I went, the automobile that stood out to me was the Kaliber primary automobile. It was all the time on the entrance and I liked the truth that, to me, Andy Rouse simply jogged my memory of an accountant, not a racing driver. That’s what acquired me into racing. The BTCC and going alongside in my little Ford Fiesta Standard. I used to adore it.”

The starry-eyed teenager was quickly to take to the monitor himself in a VW Scirocco within the much-missed Slick 50 Street Saloons class. He even gained a title. From there, he progressed by means of sportscars and claimed the TVR Tuscan championship in 2000. Outings in Porsches adopted and he claimed the British GT championship silverware in 2012 in a Motorbase Efficiency 911 alongside Daniele Perfetti.

Within the background, there was loads of wheeler-dealing happening within the automobile commerce and, late final yr, Caine determined to make his boyhood desires come true. He heard on the grapevine a couple of Ford Sierra RS500 that was available for purchase.

“Once I was instructed that this automobile was round, I realised that my coronary heart was going to rule my head – and my pockets too,” he explains. “I went to see it in October final yr, and what we had been led to consider was that it was often called the FET automobile as a result of that was the sponsor on it. It had competed within the Japanese Touring Automotive Championship in 1990 after which it had sat in a museum ever since.

“I regarded round it and fell in love. It regarded wonderful however we actually didn’t know what we had been entering into. I took alongside Alec and Harry from Premier Motorsport, who’re marque specialists. I didn’t actually know something, so having them there was helpful.”

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Caine needed the {hardware} and he purchased it. Whereas there was no grand plan to go and sort out a whole historic or basic race sequence, there was only a scheme to take it out on events, hopefully climb up the aggressive order and possibly promote it on for a small revenue. That was the preliminary concept anyway, however issues quickly modified.

Under the bonnet of the Ford Sierra RS500

“We acquired it again to Premier Motorsport and we began placing some work into it,” explains Caine. “There have been some bits of the automobile we couldn’t determine. We had been attempting to know what we wanted to do to the automobile and the extra we checked out it, the extra we noticed it had fairly just a few Andy Rouse Engineering bits on it. The engine had ARE01 stamped on it, for instance.

“It had additionally include a field of bits that had been taken off the Ford Sierra RS500 and changed with extra up-to-date issues, utilizing extra fashionable know-how. Even at that time, we actually didn’t know what it was. The blokes did a bit extra analysis and checked out footage – hundreds of them. The boys had been sending me images at 2am and saying ‘take a look at this shot of the inside – that’s the identical dashboard!’

“I nonetheless refused to consider it,” admits Caine. “Then the boys rubbed down the rear quarter panel and took the tail lamps out. We acquired right down to the unique paint job and we realised that it wasn’t the Kaliber colors. However it turned out that the paint we had uncovered was the color scheme that Rouse had used when he raced the automobile at Macau on the finish of the season.”

In order that was the beginning of the journey to uncover the automobile’s historical past. It had raced within the Far East and had been the machine that four-time title winner Rouse had used on the streets of the previous Portuguese colony.

“I nonetheless, even at that time, didn’t suppose that it was Andy’s unique automobile. No-one might be that fortunate,” says Caine. “I managed to pay money for Andy, which was, for me, sufficient in itself. He’s a hero, so simply to speak to him was unbelievable.

“They are saying by no means meet your heroes, however he was fabulous. He stated that it in all probability wasn’t his automobile. We despatched him some images and he wasn’t certain, so then I took the automobile to him and let him take a look round it. Andy walked as much as the automobile, acquired on his arms and knees – at 74 years of age – and crawled beneath it. He actually hung his head out and stated ‘sure, that is my automobile’. I used to be blown away.

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Andy Rouse inspects his old Ford Sierra RS500

“He was in a position to record off all of the stuff that was on the automobile that wouldn’t be on anybody else’s Ford Sierra RS500. There was some crash harm from when his steering rack broke at Oulton Park and he put it within the wall at Druids. He confirmed us the restore from that. All of the sprint and all of the swap gear was proper. It had a bit lug on the roll cage as a result of he used to have a bar that ran from the seat to the cage as a result of he had had a seat break earlier than, so he strengthened it.”

In order that was the verification that the automobile’s new proprietor wanted to listen to. It was official, it was an ex-Rouse automobile and Caine had just about struck gold. Whereas it was what he needed to know, it additionally meant that he had bitten off greater than he had initially thought.

“That information offered us with an issue: to get the automobile proper once more, it wanted to be strictly finished to how Andy Rouse would have had it when he raced it in 1989. It may now not be the FET automobile that I needed to simply go and barrel round in,” explains Caine.

“What we discovered was beneath the blue paint on the automobile, which Rouse had raced at Macau, had been all the unique Kaliber stripes. We had been in a position to rubdown components of the automobile and get the precise measurements of the flashes, match the colors precisely and issues like that. Even to the tape on the tail lamps: it nonetheless had the marks the place the tape had been peeled off.

“We put it proper again into its Kaliber colors and we even used the exact same paint oven that they’d used when the automobile was model new.”

As soon as it was full, all shiny and again to as-new, there was one different factor that Caine needed to make occur. He invited Rouse to drive the rebuilt automobile on a British Racing Drivers’ Membership monitor day at Silverstone in March this yr. The provide was accepted and the circle had lastly been accomplished.

“The suspension and spring charges are precisely because it was within the day as a result of Andy gave me the set-up sheets that he had. It’s 100% genuine,” explains Caine. “There’s a small change within the engine administration system which is much better at defending the powerplant than the programs of the day, however that’s the solely factor we now have altered.

“Placing the automobile again collectively didn’t take that lengthy, as a result of lots of the bits that they’d taken off and put within the field that got here with the automobile, we put again on. We didn’t have to do any bodywork or do away with any rust, as a result of there was none on it. That’s as a result of all it had finished was sit in a museum after eight rounds in Japan.

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“We acquired the automobile within the October and Andy drove it in March. We simply hoped and prayed that it didn’t break down and that we might have a dry day. Andy turned up and drove for six or seven laps, however then he stayed with us for an additional hour and a half.

“Everybody was so happy that he drove it. After we began the programme, others stated to me that he wouldn’t drive the automobile as a result of he wasn’t into that form of factor anymore. However he did, and for him to come back and drive it and take the trip to indicate his curiosity was a spotlight for me. He complimented the fellows on how the automobile felt.

“Andy remains to be serving to now: even to the purpose that he was emailing me final week as a result of we had some questions on it and he was providing recommendation and ideas to assist us excellent it. He’s all the time there to faucet into for recommendation.”

Having the provenance of the Ford Sierra RS500 established signifies that removed from Caine letting his coronary heart rule his head, he has truly invested extraordinarily correctly. The worth of the automobile gained’t be examined till it goes up on the market, however its proud proprietor is blissful. So how a lot does Caine reckon it’s price?

“It wouldn’t be automobile of the week on my forecourt at £10,995, put it that means…” he quips. “It’s a particular treasure and it’s now price considerably greater than I purchased it for. If I promote it now, it appears to be like like I’ve finished the automobile seller factor and turned it round for a fast revenue, however I’m not going to do this.

“I’m going to the Ford Honest at Silverstone this weekend [August 14, 2022] and present it off there. If the motor commerce is kinder to me than it has been, then I’ll possibly go and do some races in it subsequent yr. It’s the form of automobile that must be seen by as many individuals as attainable. I merely adore it.”

Should you’d prefer to go and see this extremely particular Ford within the flesh, you continue to can! Click on right here to go over to the Ford Honest ticket gross sales web page. The climate this weekend is about to be gorgeous…