This is a Ford RS500 YBD engine that was factory bench-tested at Cosworth and now remains in unused condition – it’s one of very few unused YBD engines still in existence.
As-fitted to Ford RS500 race cars, the Cosworth YB series of engines became one of the most successful, and unstoppable, touring car power units of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Ford RS500s would win 1988 DTM Championship, the Bathurst 1,000 km in 1988 and 1989, the 1989 Spa 24 Hours, the 1988 and 1989 Australian Touring Car Championship, the 1988 and 1989 Japanese Touring Car Championship, and the 1990 British Touring Car Championship.
The development of the Cosworth YB series of engines started out back in the early 1980s, a time when Ford’s formerly dominant rally and circuit cars were beginning to show their age. A series of embarrassing losses to the Rover SD1 kickstarted a new plan, a plan to get British engineering powerhouse Cosworth a cast iron Ford Pinto block and see what they could do with it.
Cosworth was no stranger to the idea of working with Ford, they had developed the earlier Ford Cosworth DFV – this V8 and its variants would become the most successful racing engine design in history by a wide margin. With this in mind it’s little wonder Ford would turn to Cosworth to build them a world-beating four-cylinder.
The engine Cosworth designed could use a largely unmodified version of the Pinto block with a 2.0 liter displacement, but every other part would be new. A painstakingly tested double overhead cam head was developed with four valves per cylinder, and the engine was given a new steel crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons, sump, and hydraulic valve lifters.
A Garrett AiResearch T3 turbocharger and an intercooler were added, the road going versions of this engine were capable of well over 200 bhp and the race versions were tuned up to over 500 bhp.
The Ford Cosworth YBD variant of the engine was fitted to the Sierra RS500, 5,545 were made in total – more than the homologation requirement of 5,000 that was needed for the model to enter the world of FIA Group A touring car racing.
Above Video: This is the official highlights reel of the 1989 Bathurst 1000. In the race you’ll see Ford RS500s being driven in anger around the Mount Panorama circuit in New South Wales, Australia.
As noted further up in the introduction, the engine you see in this article is a rare, unused Ford RS500 YBD engine that was built and bench tested at Cosworth. It was never fitted to a car and has remained sat on its plinth since it was built. It was also reportedly one of the final YBD engines ever made.
It’s now due to be offered for sale by Iconic Auctioneers as part of their Race Retro Collectors’ Car Sale in late February with a price guide of £12,000 – £15,000 or approximately $15,200 – $18,900 USD. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here.
Images courtesy of Iconic Auctioneers
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.