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Just Bought A Pistonheads 2016 Shed Of The Week, Mind You 210Bhp Is Fun

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Well after 12 months looking, talking myself out of it, and then back into it, and then patiently waiting until one was actually advertised I have bought a Ford Cosworth V6 24V Scorpio Estate.  Not a Granada Scorpio but the later Scorpio.


Why on earth would I do that? I hear you say. Well for a whole lot of reasons that I'm not even clear about my self.


It all started about a year ago when I was pondering normally aspirated inlet systems (as one does) and there were various articles about tuning inlet tract length, but that it was always a compromise as you always ended up tuning to a relatively narrow rpm range. Anyway whilst trawling I came across references to a Cosworth developed Variable Intake System that they used on a 24V V6 that they built for the Ford Scorpio




Now (and I suspect like many others) The Ford Scorpio had in its very short life 1995-1998 just passed me by, and looking initially at some pictures I could see why it was regarded as butt ugly when it was introduced, and the fact that until nearly the very end they failed to even put a Cosworth on it I think it virtually escaped everyone's attention that one of the models was actually a bit of a Wolf in Sheep's clothing (which given the looks especially of the saloon is a bit unfair to sheep).


But that engine with around 210bhp and 281Nm Torque at 4200 rpm just kept dragging me back and making it look better, But if I was getting one had to be an estate! Apart from the Scorpio Saloon being butt ugly (actually if you look at the rear of the Saloon I think someone designing it was on a bet that they could create an ugly butt) I have never seen any sense in Saloons, 2 seats or 2+2 for fun and bug..r practicality, or something with a decent load space that you can get the dogs and kitchen sink in!


Now I don't know how many Cosworth Estates they actually made, all I do know is that total European production for all Scorpio models was around 90,000 and a search of the DVLA data shows that the max number or RH drives imported from Germany was 3500, and today there are only a total of 130 24V still licensed and about 300 SORN'd  So as I suspect that the Saloon to Estate ratio is around 80:20 (Well Perito would agree anyway) That means that there are only about 25 Cosworth Estates running in the whole of the UK, so I was on a bit of a hunt for Hens Teeth.


Now the Scorpio Cosworth Saloons don't go for much money like 1K - 1.5K (unless its really special) and it appears most of them get snapped up by people who pull the engine out and drop it into Sierra 4x4's Capri's and Reliant Scimitars, which is why there aren't many left.  But the Estates don't come up often and either people know its something special and are asking good money, or its a pile of crap waiting to have its engine transplanted.  There are a couple privately advertised for serious money (And have been for a while, but given condition not over the top) but more than I was prepared to spend on a whim, and tantalizingly some old adverts for a few that would have been ideal, but were on GumTree and Preloved and had been for 6 + months and sellers never returned any contact messages.


Anyway about a week ago one popped up on eBay, not the Ultima Spec that I really wanted but a Ghia, and to be honest for mid 90's Ford had thrown the kitchen sink at the Scorpio as regards trim as it was their last big push at the executive market in Europe before they bought Volvo in 98 and gave up on that market segment. But as I still wasn't sure if I wanted one as anything more than a whim I decided that a Ghia would at least let me know if this was a stupid idea.


The advert wasn't brilliant, exchanged a few emails with the seller who hadn't had it that long (8 months) who was helpful and answered all my questions, so again all sense and judgement I decided I'd pop in a last moment bid without even bothering to go and see it, it was taxed and MOT'd so my thought was well at least I can drive it for a couple of months if it lasted that long, and it it was a complete pile of poo, there are a lot of people out here who would buy the engine.


Anyway I got it for not a lot of money, in fact way less than my max bid!


Today was collection day, however by last night I had convinced myself that I'd just done the dumbest thing in my life and was really going to regret having bought it (but there was always the fall back transplant option). Quized the seller again about was it good to drive or should we bring a trailer, but he said good to drive.  So decided that we would use the trip to collect as final shake down run for the TR8 on its rolling road fettled engine, and new NS2R tyres so even if the purchase was a disappointment, the journey up would be fun! 


Just before we leave get a text message from seller saying he had to go to work so would leave car at his fathers, alarm bells ringing? anyway off we set, car was outside address given, father seemed affable, had a good poke round, everything as described, started no timing chain rattle, auto box went through its static take up tests perfectly, lights worked, had 4 almost new tyres, VIN Numbers were good, not much else to do except hand over cash and do the V5 bits. Just as I was about to go father said hang on there is this carrier bag with a big folder of papers in it, threw it in the car and set off.


Gingerly at first as I was waiting for either the engine to go bang, the autobox to fail, a wheel to fall off or find that the brakes or the steering made in undrivable. Confidence gradually grew as nothing bad happened, it felt nice, all the electrics worked (well all those I could work out what the switches were for) getting faster on the A roads and still feeling good hit the M69 and floored it surprising Chris in the TR8 behind, but I worked on the theory he would spot anything that fell off or if it started spewing coolant or oil over the road. But no it pulled like a train, suitable impressed I was!  And enjoyed it even more over the next 60 miles on the way home. Even made a detour on way back to pick up trailer from shot blasters (Estate has towbar) trailer has been there for 6 weeks but they called today to say finally done, (another job to get done before Gurston in 10 days!) Wondering if it might make a great tow/service vehicle?


Well got home no problems, cup of coffee and decide to look in carrier bag. Huge ring bound folder! start going through, all hand books, service records from new right through to about 6K miles ago, ever MOT since it needed it one! a huge pile of invoices and detailed schedule to go with them of everything done on the car between 2001 and late 2015! About £15K worth of detailed work. This car had had one owner from 2001 (3 years old "probably end of lease") through till 2015 and this guy was more anal than I am about keeping records. I know everything that has been done to this car!


Hang on this rings a Bell! I had looked at an advert for this car a year ago when the next owner was asking a lot for it, and I had clocked the 15 year previous owner mention and detailed bills and thought that might be a good one, however this was one of those where the seller never responded to any messages so I had forgotten about it. From the folder it looks like in the intervening 12 months its been sold twice including a swap for a Rover Metro? Until it came into the ownership of the guy I bought it from 8 months ago. He appears genuine in only selling for money for another project, so I think the car may have been saved after meticulous maintenance from a cycle of neglect.


Anyway that's the start of the story, I'll let you know what its really like, and if it stays (has a few hurdles to jump like my partner being happy with it and the dogs!) but first impressions are good it really is a bit of a monster. I'm also really interested in studying the VIS system, if I ever want to go EFI on the Vitesse there are some serious lessons to be learnt from how they did it.




OH here's some details on VIS











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Interesting.  Sounds like you got lucky!


I remember a senior colleague having a Scorpio estate as a company car back in the day after a string of Granadas and absorbing a huge amount of stick for it's "styling".  His comment was that he couldn't see it from the drivers seat so it wasn't his problem and he liked the way it drove.....


Dare I ask about rot?  Old Ford.......!


Look forward to the thinking on variable length inlet tracts for Triumph sixes.  Underbonnet packaging (keeping it under bonnet that is) could be a challenge!


The Audi V8 inlet manifolds have some kind of internal flap arrangement with external actuators and I think the 30v 2.8 V6 also.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Have you been driving this?




Only into Upton and back, as I have still been waiting for something to go bang! but so far everything including all the electronics have been faultless. But seriously been too busy getting Vitesse and Trailer sorted to do anything with it. I'm taking it to a classic friendly garage where I get the Vitesse MOT'd next Tuesday and will be going over it thoroughly, will then give it a good service and then put some miles on it.


Have spent a few "hours!" going through the paperwork that came with it, every invoice, mot, estimate etc from 2001 through to early 2016, this car just got spoilt, anything needed was done, Oh and yes that does include Rot repairs in the all the suspect places, but its strange buying a SH old car and knowing every single oil change, new discs, calipers, pads etc, etc that it has had in its life, including details of all mechanical and body repairs etc.  Oh yes and it had a new Transmission less than 20k ago and a complete top end engine rebuild in 2013.


The torque is amazing there is a nice hill on the way back from Upton, by which time the engine is warm, makes me smile each time I floor it, until I glance at the display and it show 5.1 mpg mid boot!  That's about as bad as I could get the the V12 XJS to do! 




Ford Probe 1.8 2.5 V6 versions also have inlet flaps.


Need to see pictures of this when you get time. Otherwise it didn't happen!!




Pics soon!



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Ford Probe 1.8 2.5 V6 versions also have inlet flaps.


Need to see pictures of this when you get time. Otherwise it didn't happen!!




OK Pics


Well style wise its a bit like the TR7 doesn't look too bad today, but at the time was too different to be liked. The Scorpio was panned for its Frog eyed look, it was the first production car ever to have polyellipsoid headlights, ie. no reflector the beam is focused, these days everything is like it and to my eyes the Scorpio actually looks a bit tame in the weird headlamp shape stakes now. Now I have to agree that the rear of the Scorpio saloon was butt ugly, but as an estate? well its just estate shaped.




OK the 24V Cossie Cover





And underneath the Octopus (as its called) Shame if they had let loose a styling student on that it could have been a thing to wonder at rather than hide under a cover.




Ok this is the throttle section, interesting in that there are twin throttle butterflies, one small diameter on top that opend during about first 25% of peddle movement and then a large secondary underneath that then starts opening.  Interesting concept, wonder if anyone has built a carb set up that does that? i.e early throttle openings actuate one carb and then a secondary starts opening?






Still not sure how all the passage ways go in that manifold and what opens when but will find out more.



NB Did you spot the black box just to the left of the cover/octopus. Its called a resonance box, its sits between the air intake/map sensor and the inlet, it appears to just be a weird shape (maybe just to fit space available) sealed box of about 1.5 - 2.0 ltr capacity, no way of opening but just think its an empty box, what does it do? 



NB. as an aside on looking at the Scorpio technical literature I found that they also added a VIS to the DOHC 16V 2.3 engine as below, kind of like having a balance tube on a twin carb set up but that only opens at higher throttle openings.




Interesting stuff.



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It is interesting stuff.  The twin throttle plate thing is not especially unusual.  Was used on the Mk1 & Mk2 Golf GTis with K-Jet and also on Audi 80s and 90s with K-jet.  My 2.2L 90 would do 75mph on the small plate alone (you could feel the changeover point as the spring was stronger on the second, larger throttle).  Strangely enough this seemed to be a K-jet only thing as the later EFI cars had single plates.


Fast forward a few years and my A8 has the same twin throttle arrangement with the smaller first stage being good for 75 mph and the second more than twice that (allegedly).  The A8 also has ECU controlled flaps in the inlet manifold.


The looks of the Scorpio estate are bearable from 3 angles..... the saloon...... :wacko:



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