Listed below are a list of Billy's cars, as much as I have figured out so far. And also included is a brief spec on some of the cars.

Year Make and Model Registration Number
1967-1969 Ford Cortina N/A
1969-72 Ford Escort MKI TIU-250
1973 Renault Alpine N/A
1974 Ford Escort MKI  VVX-958 | MEV36J
1975 Ford Escort MKI 000-96M | HHJ-701N
1976 Ford Escort MKII KHK-983N
1977 Lancia Stratos DYU-363 R  
1977 Fiat 131 Abarth N 94415 TO
1978 Lancia Stratos DYU-363 R 
1979 Ford Escort RS1800 STW-200R | SIF-200 
1980 Ford Escort RS1800 GVX-489T | API-100
1981 G3 Escort  N/A
1982 Ford Escort RS1800 N/A
1982 Opel Ascona 400 (Ger Buckley's)
1983 Opel Ascona 400 DIL-999 ( Fisher's)
1984 Opel Manta 400 LIJ-9869
1985 Porsche 911 | G3 Escort A974-BRX | A451-AJB
1986 Porshce 911 | Metro 6R4 A974-BRX | C869-EUD
1987 BMW M3 ADZ-9596 | ADZ-9667 
1987 BMW M3 |GXI-9427
1993 Ford Sierra Saphire Grp N (Wexford -Bob Fowden's)
1994 Ford Sierra 2WD Grp A. (West Cork-Donal O'Donovan) 
1995 1967 Porsche 911  (Beatty Crawford's)
1996 MKI Escort & Metro 6R4 (Milstreet Chernobyl fund)
1998 Historic Porsche 911 (1974) (Silverstone & Historic Lakes)
1999 Ford Escort 2.2 197-DIU ( Tom Murphy's)





PORSCHE 911 SC RS : Group B-Rally Car

The Rothmans Rally Team Porsche 911 SC RS was the latest in a long and famous line of competition versions of the German manufacturer's rear engined sports car. The Rothmans Porsche of today still looks very much the same as the first 911 which appeared as far back as 1965, but underneath it's a very different animal.

Power, braking, road holding and handling have all developed over the years. Today's car was the ultimate rallying 911, but at the same time it's still very much a road car. The new rally car was in fact a modified version of Porsche's 1982/83 model, the 911SC. The rules of International Motorsport demand that a car recognized in Group B (where most rally winners come from) must be made in a quantity of at least 200 in a year. No problem. A rod here for Porsche, but the rules also say that the car must in competition trim then stay essentially the same. Major parts cannot be changed and so the rally car was in fact a fine-tuned version of the road car. However. the car that wins must be more of a ' supercar' with the sort of specification that might not be suitable for everyday use. Fortunately the rule of 'evolution' exists - if a manufacturer has come to the end of a production run of a model he can apply for recognition of a developed version of the car if he makes ten per cent (20) of the original homologation requirement. Most major teams in fact base their rally programmes around such cars.

With the ending of the three litre 911SC's production run in mid 1983 and its replacement by the 3.2 litre Carrera models, the way was open for Porsche to produce a 911 'special' for competitors. On January 1st, 1984, the 911SC RS received it's Group B homologation paper, number 207, from the Federation International du Sport Automobile - the world-wide governing body of motor sport. In off-the-shelf form the 911SC RS weighs in at 1020 kgs and as such was the lightest rally Porsche - mainly due to extensive use of aluminum for the doors, front fenders and luggage and engine compartment lids. Kevlar, the space age material loved by many of today's competition car builders, was used for the rear bumper.

The three litre, 'flat six, engine which has only two valves per cylinder delivers 255 bhp at 7000 rpm on Bosch electronic injection and drive was through a five speed gearbox with limited slip di f f erenti a] . The braking system was more than adequate for the job -with front and rear ventilated discs and four pot calipers of the same specification as the 917 sports racing car of a few years ago. The RS's suspension follows normal 911 practice with front struts and rear trailing arms, both with torsion bar springing. The rear system was developed from the 911 Turbo, something easily spotted by the extra-wide flair to the rear wheel fenders.

The transition f rom 'basic' 911SC RS to full rally car i s surprisingly simple. In the engine, an extra 30 bhp (to bring the total to a very respectable 285 horses) was found by removing the air filter element, changing the rev limiting device on the distributor and changing the road exhaust muffler for a less restrictive rally system. Closer ratios are fitted to the gear box and, depending on team requirements, the final drive gearing was lowered to allow maximum of either 214 kph or 199 kph at the new engine peak of 8000 rpm. A sintered metal clutch disc was also fitted.

Suspension modification are, like the engine, simple. Shock absorber settings and ride height are varied depending upon the type of rally (tarmac or forest) while the choice of tyre pattern also depends on the conditions that fact the driver, whether they be the scrub and sands of the Middle East, the tarmac of the Circuit of Ireland or the gravel of Mille Pistes. Suspension and engine mounts are also, of course, strengthened to meet the stresses of International rallying.

Next there's the safety equipment: fire extinguishers, seat belts and a full roll cage that in fact fixes to mounts already built into the body of the car. Finally, additions are made to the electrics: extra lights, a spare petrol pump, reading lamps and navigational distance recorder. From then on the Rothmans Porsche was ready for the road - and special stage.

Engine - Six cylinder, air cooled, horizontally opposed, mounted at rear driving the rear wheels. 95mm bore X 70.4mm stroke. 2996cc. Compression ratio: 10.3 to 1. Light alloy cylinder heads with two valves per cylinder operated by one chain driven overhead camshaft per head. Bosch fuel injection. Dry sump lubrication. Power: 285 bhp at 7,500 rpm.

Transmission - Five speed fully synchronized gearbox with oil cooling and limited slip differential. Gear ratios: 1st 3.182; 2nd - 2.187; 3rd - 1.600; 4th - 1.260; 5th - 1.000; Rev - 3.325. Single plate clutch with sintered metal disc. Final drive ratios: 4.375/4.174.

Suspension - Front: Bilstein struts with torsion bars. Rear: Trailing arms with torsion bars. Bilstein shock absorbers.

Braking - Twin circuit, no servo. Four pot caliper ventilated discs. Front dia: 304mm; Rear: 309mm.

Steering/Wheels - Rack and pinion steering. Wheels 16ins diameter light alloy in widths to inches. Competition tyres according to conditions.

Body - Steel body with front bumper, luggage and engine compartment, doors and front fenders in aluminum. Rear bumper Kevlar. Thin glass to windows.

Additional equipment - Full safety roll cage, competition seat belts, fire extinguishing system, additional lighting, navigational aids, duplicate fuel pump and ignition units.

Dimensions - Length: 429lmm; Width: 1750mm; Height: 131Omm;

Wheelbase: 2272mm; Front track: 1432mm; Rear track: 150lmm.

Weight - Dry: 1020k9s.

April 1984



Chassis BMW '3 Series' two door saloon. Fitted chrome Molybdenum

safety cage.

Engine 4 cy], 2332 cc with 16 valve alloy cylinder head, fully blueprinted and modified to Group A regulations. Modified second generation Bosch Motronic Digital Motor Electronics and fuel injection system. Competition exhaust system. Increased capacity cooling system. Jet Oil. Power 275 bhp at 8,200 rpm. Torque : 280 Nm at 6,500 rpm. Transmission Getrag close ratio 5 speed competition gearbox driving to rear wheels through AP competition 'cerametallic' clutch to limited slip differential and heavy duty drive shafts. Front Independent strut type with heavy duty light alloy uprights, Suspension coil springs and Bilstein competition damper inserts. Rear Independent with heavy duty semi-trailing arms, Suspension Bilstein competition damper units and coil springs. Steering High ratio, rack and pin ion . Brakes Ventilated disc front and rear, AP Racing calipers. Fully adjustable bias pedal box assembly. Wheels and 16 in. dia. x 9 in. competition wheels with Michelin tyres racing tyres. Electrical Competition, aircraft specification wiring harness. Lightweight 'dry' battery and heavy duty alternator. Interior Carbon/Kevlar honeycomb seats with safety harness. Automatic fire extinguishing system. Halda rally computer. Two way radio. Dimensions Length - 4360 mm; Width - 1675 mm; Height - 1365 mm; Wheelbase - 2562 mm; Weight - 1050 kg, unladen, fully equipped. Fuel System Aircraft specification bag type fuel tank and fuel lines. Performance Top speed 145 mph (235 kph) on 5.0 to 1 final drive ratio. Acceleration 0 to 60 mph approx. 4 secs.

March 1987,

  The Ford Escort RS1800  

The RS1800 was based on the two door, rear wheel drive MKII Escort of the time with a very trick engine. The RS1800 was built primarily for the European off road rally scene in Summer 1975. The basis for the RS1800 was the  Mk1 RS1600. Ford even logged the RS1800 as modifications to the Mk1 RS1600 homologation papers, so that they did not have to manufacture the required 1000 per year to compete on the European rally scene. Ford's decision to build and race this RS1800 proved very successful.

The Engine

The RS1800 engine was a BDA Cosworth 1800cc in-line four cylinder four stroke 16-valve unit. This was mounted longitudinally, with the gearbox attached to the rear of the engine. Power was then fed via a prop shaft to the rear differential and then onto the rear wheels. This unit was almost identical to the one fitted in the  Mk1 RS1600   but using increased cylinder bores.

Carburetion was via a single Weber 32/46 down draft unit fed via a paper based air filter. The use of Four Star leaded petrol was recommended since the engine ran a compression ratio of 9:1.

The engine was noted for having problem oil leaks that were never really cured during the vehicles production years. However we all know that the BDA formed a most successful engine here even today although the 2.0 Opel engine is today's more preferred choice for power for pound.The ignition system was a standard pre-electronic system using a conventional ignition coil and distributor feeding the four spark plugs. Spark generation was via conventional contract breakers (points) and capacitor. Power in those days was probally around the 250 bhp mark.

Gearbox and Transmission

A strengthened MK2 Escort RS2000 manual five speed gearbox was fitted, which was mounted at the rear of the engine. A cable operated 8.5 inch clutch was used. 

Suspension and Chassis

Front suspension was via independent McPherson struts with anti-roll bar using coil springs. Rear suspension used leaf springs with telescopic dampers. Not sure if the 5 linked back axle was on the works cars at that time Steering was non power-assisted and used a rack and pinion.

Braking was via front mounted ventilated 4 pots solid disks and rear 2 pot disks.

Body Work 

The Escort RS1800 featured wide wheel arch extensions front and rear needed to span the wheels. These are known to you better as Group 4 arches

Ford Escort MKI RS1600

The Escort Mark I RS1600 was developed after the success of the Escort Mark I Twin Cam with its Lotus twin overhead cam engine. It was obvious Ford needed to develop their own branded engine rather than use a Lotus purchased one. This engine had to meet the challenges from Ford's rally competitors.

This engine was the Cosworth-designed 'BDA' engine (for Belt-Driven type A). Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth, founders of Cosworth, had been contracted by Ford to produce the BDA. It was proposed in 1969 to mate the BDA to the Escort in place of the Lotus Twin Cam engine in the MK1 Escort shell.

The Engine

The new car became the RS1600, with the more powerful 16-valve twin-cam crossflow engine, but otherwise was virtually the same as the Twin Cam. In rally trim the RS1600 produced about 190bhp at 7500rpm. 

The BDA engine had a nominal capacity of 1599cc, but by utilizing the maximum throw of the crankshaft, this was increased to 1601cc in standard form, putting the BDA up into the 2-litre class, homologation rules allowing enlargement in competition trim to a full 2-litres. Capacity was raised progressively from 1601cc to 1975cc in the original iron block engine, before it was replaced with the alloy block 2-litre in 1972.

The BDA engine was mounted longitudinally, with the gearbox attached to the rear of the engine. Power was then fed via a prop shaft to the rear differential and then onto the rear wheels.

The ignition system was a standard pre-electronic system using a conventional ignition coil and distributor feeding the four spark plugs. Spark generation was via conventional contract breakers (points) and capacitor. Due to the dimensions of the new BDA engine the battery had to be located in the boot of the MK1 Escort shell. This BDA Cosworth engine was later over bored and used in the MK2 Escort RS1800. In 1967 the Boreham competition department came up with the idea of putting the Lotus Cortina engine, gearbox and brakes into the new Escort shell instead of the next generation Cortina, the Mark II. This was prior to the Escort being manufactured which caused a few problems with the transplant of the Lotus engine from the Cortina. The transplant was not easy and the battery had to be moved to the boot. The Lotus engine with its twin cams and side draught carburator was a tight squeeze and had to be mounted at a slight angle. The first 25 Twin Cams were produced from Boreham's competition depatment before being moved to Halewood, where the mass produced Mark I Escort was produced from. The Twin Cam was a great success and Roger Clark won the first International Rally with the Twin Cam on the Circuit of Ireland in the Summer of 1968.


Lancia Stratos

The Team Manager for Lancia at the time was Cesare Fiorio. His team of Lancia Fulvias had been used with great success in international rallying since 1966, but they were coming under increasing pressure from other manufacturers, such as Porsche and Alpine-Renault. The sight of the Stratos prototype captured Fiorio's imagination. He visualised the prototype being developed into a new competition car for Lancia - the Stratos. It is unlikely he could possibly have realised how dramatic an impact his dream would have on the sport. Until then, rallying had been dominated by sports cars, but production sports cars which had first and foremost been developed for sale to the public. No-one had ever considered producing a car with the sole aim of using it in competition. Rallying rules decreed that a minimum of 500 cars must be produced to allow a car to be homologated and used in international rallies (although during the Stratos development period this was reduced from 500 to 400). The F.I.A., the governing body of the sport, felt that this number was so high that it would discourage any manufacturer from producing a car just for competition purposes.The Stratos became the first "homolgation special". A concept that would eventually lead to the ill-fated Group B rally cars of the 80s, which would become outlawed in the sport as too fast and too dangerous.With his visualisation of a mid-engined sports car, and a blank sheet of paper, no constraints about having to sell the car to the public, Fiorio could re-design the prototype's concept into a pure competition car.Clearly, it needed a powerful engine.Lancia were currently using the 1.6litre V4 engine, and Abarth had produced a 2litre version. BUT, Lancia were owned by Fiat, who just happened to have a sizeable financial stake in Ferrari. AND, the man chosen to head up Lancia as a new division of Fiat was Pierre Ugo Gobatto, Who had just previously been Fiat's representive in the Ferrari management, and knew that the Ferrari Dino 246 was about to be phased out, which might mean there would be a load of Ferrari engines lying around!!!If the Dino had not been planned to be phased out, Enzo Ferrari might have considered The Stratos a direct threat to the Ferrari Dino 246, and the Stratos might have been still-born, or possibly endowed with a lower power unit, and never have become the rallying legend of the 70s.Throughout this period, the car was entered into rallies which had a class for prototypes, and this provided even more feedback to help develop the final specification.

In the autumn of 1972, Sandro Munari and Mario Mannucci started the Tour De Corse in the second Stratos ever built. The car retired with rear suspension failure, and the same problem was to occur again on the Costa Del Sol rally only a month later. In April 1973, Sandro Munari won the Firestone Rally in Spain to give the car its first success. Just one month later, partnered with Jean-Claude Andruet, Munari took the Stratos to an excellent second place on the Targa-Florio, and in September 1973, the car won another event. This time it was the Tour de France, and again it was Sandro Munari who piloted the Stratos to an excellent victory.

At the beginning of development, the Group 4 rules for rallying had required production of 500 units for homolgation. However, by the time the Stratos was finally homolgated on October 1st, 1974, the rules had been changed to reduce the homologation requirement to 400. During 1974, the victories for the Stratos were coming thick and fast. Prior to homologation, the Stratos had won the Tour of Sicily and Targa Florio, running in the prototype class, and within days of achieving homolgation, Sandro Munari had given the car victory on the San Remo. This was followed by victories on Giro d'Italia, Rideau Lakes, and the Tour de Corse, and a third place on the British RAC Rally. This was sufficient to give Lancia the 1974 World Championship. A feat which was to be repeated in both 1975 and 1976. In January 1975, Sandro Munari scored the first of three successive victories in the Monte Carlo Rally. During the year, Bjorn Waldergaard took wins in the Swedish and San Remo rallies, and, on the Safari, Munari took second place with Waldergaard in third. Again, the Stratos was unable to win on the British RAC Rally. However, driven by Bjorn Waldergaard, it left a lasting impression on British rally fans during this event. After a good start, the car had broken a driveshaft, and the mechanics had removed the rear bodywork of the car to assist access while making the repairs. Waldergaard then continued in the event, and set fastest time on 40 out of the 72 stages, but was excluded at the end of the event for running on the public road with no rear lights, rear indicators and number plate!!!! 1976 was the most successful year for the Stratos. It won Lancia the World Championship for the third successive season, and, in doing so, took first and second places in the Monte Carlo rally, a remarkable first, second, third, and fourth in Portugal, first in Sicily, first in the Giro d'Italia, first in Corsica, and fourth in Britain.

In Britain, a car was campaigned by Graham Warner's Chequered Flag team, and driven by drivers such as Per-Inge Walfridsson, Billy Coleman, Cahal Curley, Tony Pond, and Andy Dawson. Sadly the team were to suffer many misfortunes, including a fire which completely gutted the car during the Welsh Rally, although the car did win the Mintex Dales International Raly at the hands of Andy Dawson.In 1977, the Lancia factory competitions team was merged with the Fiat team, and the Fiat Group's marketing requirements saw effort being put into the Fiat 131 rather than the Stratos, and, by 1978, the 131 was being used almost exclusively, even though the Stratos still managed to win no fewer than 13 major events that year.The only works involvement came when Marku Alen persuaded the factory team to allow him to use a Stratos on the British RAC each year for the next three years. Sadly, although Alen pushed the car to its limits on these events, he was unable to give the car the RAC victory which eluded it thoughout its competition career.


The Lancia Stratos was designed by Bertone in the early seventies. It was orginally a concept car at a Motor Show.  Lancia decided that they would like a car to be designed and built specifically for rallying. The show-car Stratos was then developed to be the first homologation special and was powered by the 2.4 litre V6 engine from a Ferrari Dino.

It was made with a monocoque central section to which were mounted substantial front and rear sub-frames, plus fibreglass doors and tip-up front and rear body sections. The suspension design consisted of wishbones at the front and Chapman struts at the rear, these being located by reversed wishbones and a long trailing arm. The wedge-shaped body style still looks modern today, so you can imagine how unusual it appeared in the mid Seventies!

This car went on to win many World Championship events and titles, until company politics within the Fiat group decided that it would be preferred to have a rally car that at least looked like something in their range of road cars. So, after years of success the Stratos was withdrawn from the factory rally team to be replaced by a Fiat 131 derivative. This didn't stop the car winning further top events for a number of years in private hands.