WORDS: ELLIOTT HUGHES | PHOTOS: SILVERSTONE AUCTIONS
A 1989 Ford Sierra RS500 driven and prepared by BTCC legend Andy Rouse has been rediscovered after it was sold privately in Japan during the early 1990s.
Since resurfacing, the car has been fully restored to its original specification, complete with period Kaliber livery. It is scheduled to cross the block on August 25, 2023 in Silverstone Auctions’ sale at the Silverstone Festival.
A strong result is expected following the record-breaking sale of a 1987 Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 for £596,250
Chassis 0189 was originally campaigned by Rouse in the 1989 BTCC season, racking up six wins, six poles and four fastest laps. It finished the championship third overall and first in Class A.
Following the 1989 BTCC season, the car was transported to the Far East and driven by Rouse in the Group A support race for the Macau Grand Prix. On that occasion, the Ford finished second after relinquishing the lead to its sister car driven by Tim Harvey, after the front left shock absorber failed.
From there, it was sold to the Japanese FET Racing team, which raced the vehicle in 1990 in the JTC-1 class of the Japanese Touring Car Championship. Chassis 0189 returned to the series for just one race in 1991, before it retired from motor sport at the dawn of the Nissan GT-R era.
Almost three decades later, in October 2022, the consignor heard on the grapevine of a possible RS500 for sale that had just been imported from Japan. The seller was inspired by Andy Rouse’s heroics in the BTCC and had coveted an RS500 since he was a teenager.
Failing to let the opportunity pass, the car was purchased immediately, and preparations quickly began for its return to the track. It was during these preparations that Andy Rouse Engineering components were discovered. The smoking gun was when the famous Kaliber livery was revealed beneath FET Racing’s Power Craft livery.
Andy Rouse was then contacted, and he confirmed that the car was indeed the very example he drove in the BTCC in 1989, with its original engine still in place. A full restoration ensued, though only the outside was painted, with the original paintwork inside and underneath left as found. The original motor was recommissioned by marque specialist Xpower, using an aftermarket ECU to overcome the problem of outdated software and systems.
“Pleasingly, it’s accompanied by a Letter of Authenticity from Andy Rouse, offering rock-solid provenance from the car’s original builder and driver and someone who was one of the most respected preparers and drivers in British motor sport,” said Harry Whale of Silverstone Auctions.
Once the restoration was completed, Rouse was invited to drive his 1989 BTCC challenger one last time at a BRDC track day at Silverstone earlier this year.
Silverstone Auctions is providing a pre-auction estimate on request, but a strong result is expected following the record-breaking sale of a 1987 Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 for £596,250 back in February.
Another rediscovered competition car the auction house is offering on August 25 is a 1992 Ford Escort RS Cosworth Group N rally car that was thought to be lost to the world after spending years in Australia and Indonesia. Now back in the UK, it is expected to fetch £160,000 – £200,000 ($224,000 – $280,000).