Ecoboost Formula Ford coming?
Limited edition, road-legal version of the Ecoboost Formula Ford could be built
"It's certainly feasible and we're looking at the possibility," a spokesman told us.
But come on Ford, we know this one is road-legal, but you can't really be serious about sticking it showrooms next to the S-Max, can you?
"There's been much talk about whether we do a limited run of 50 cars. We are looking at it." confirms Roger Ratley, petrol calibration manager and one of the lead engineers on the project. He admits to a "whole host of issues" such as needing to subcontract out the production, but there was definitely a collective gleam in the eye of engineers and marketing men at the event we were told this.
It's mainly to show off the one-litre three-cylinder turbo unit, most recently revealed for the Focus and B-Max. The hike in power from 125hp to 205 was achieved simply by bolting on the bigger turbo from the 1.6 Ecoboost engine.
Max revs were increased to 7,500rpm by removing the heavy dual-mass flywheel (fitted to improve refinement and reduce gear rattle) and replace it with a lightweight steel version. It was dry-sumped and that was about it.
Of course the engine in road going applications is all about trying to give a petrol the economy and torque of a diesel, but that frugal thinking helped here. "Everything we did to make it lightweight and economical, for example low friction, helps with producing more power. Put a big turbo on it, help it breathe and it just goes," Ratley told us.
But aren't small, high-powered engines a nightmare to tune reliably? Wrong, we're told. For a start it's a turbo, so the engine is already built to withstand high temperatures. But the biggest reason is that it's built to a global spec. "We have to sign it off to run on rubbish fuel, in 40 degrees C temperatures, towing a caravan up a hill with five people and a dog. To some extent it's been compromised." says Ratley. "World engines are very tuneable."
Maybe they'll produce an electric one. That would be a fantastic commuter machine.
I love my VX for 40 mpg commuting on twisty road, but this thing would be even better... might have to invest in some serious thermals though.