FATHER & SON RSs: Ford Focus RS and Ford Escort RS COSWORTH
Origins and back-s-stories are always fun to explore. It’s why Hollywood and Netflix are so why scientists spend their lives trying to figure out the nature of the Big Bang, and why we can’t help but become fascinated by learning secrets about our ancestry as we clamber through the family tree. So why did father-and-son duo Steven and Liam Miller get into Fords, and why have they continued to bond through them?
Maybe it’s because their first Fordswere both desirable 1600cc playthings: Steven’s first Blue Oval was a Mk2 Cortina 1600E, a model that sold strongly thanks to its fusion of sporting underpinnings and luxurious appointments. His son Liam’s debut was a Mk3 Escort RS1600i, a rorty homologation special that actually graced the cover of this very magazine back in December 2010. It’s fair to say they’re both pretty keen on keeping their cars clean too; you can see from the photos that Liam’s Escort RS Cosworth and Steven’s Focus RS are spick-and-span, but they haven’t just had a quick spruce-up for the shoot. “I’m a concours bufty,” laughs Liam.
“I’m an ex-concours nutter too,” grins his dad. “Yes, I did used to clean my car with a cotton bud. l still keep my cars spotless, but just attend show-and-shine comps now – it gets you in with safe parking right in the middle of the show. I’m normally side-by-side with Liam in his Cosworth.” It’s immediately apparent where this automotive passion stemmed from; Miller Senior has a long history of cool car ownership that Liam absorbed by osmosis.
“I’m an HGV Class 1-driving petrolhead who loves a quick car, and I’ve had a few over the years,” says Steven. “After the 1600E I had many Capris – and I still have a hankering for a 280. Cosworths? Yeah, I had four – been there, done that. Nearly bankrupted me! I had a few BMWs, and a few Mercs. And finally came the Focus RS.”
Ford Focus RS
ENGINE 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo, Collins Performance CP420 package, symposer delete, 6 bar fuel pump, Airtec intercooler, Scorpion stainless exhaust system, Airtec header tank with polished cap, CP induction, carbon fibre slam panel, battery cover, fuse box cover, wing covers, bonnet plates, gas bonnet lifters
TRANSMISSION Stock RS
SUSPENSION Bilstein shocks, Eibach springs
BRAKES K-Sport eight-pot front callipers painted Ultimate Green, Ferodo DS2500 pads WHEELS & TYRES 20in BBS CH-R wheels refinished in Shadow Chrome, 245/30x20 Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres, BBS valve caps, gloss black wheel nuts
EXTERIOR Carbon fibre fog-light surrounds, B-pillars, bonnet lip, headlight trim, mirror caps and tail-light vent trim, custom gel badges on boot and wings, sequential tinted mirror indicators, black rally mud flaps
INTERIOR Carbon fibre seat sides, leather centre armrest cover, immobilised OBD port, Auto Watch Ghost alarm
The self-professed ‘old git’ had a very precise shopping list when it came to opening up this new chapter in his motoring adventures: it had to be anUltimate Green Mk2, with the camera and the good seats; aficionados will know the score. After a lengthy search, the right candidate was sourced from in 2018, an honest and tidy car that would act as the perfect platform for the mods Steven had in mind.
He says, “I’ve spent a small fortune since then. The 20in BBS CH-R alloys certainly didn’t help my budget – I didn’t want them in black or silver, so I had them refinished in Shadow Chrome.” The obsession with details is evident throughout the car, not least with his palpable carbon fibre fetish: everywhere you look on the Focus you find tasteful carbon upgrades, from the fog-light surrounds and B-pillars to the bonnet lip, mirror caps and beyond – and that’s just outside. There’s plenty more carbon inside the cabin and across the engine bay. “Like I say, I like to keep it clean,” he adds. “So I may as well enter a few competitions…”
Makes perfect sense, but don’t go thinking this is a pure show pony. Under the bonnet is a Collins Performance CP420 package, working with the Airtec intercooler, Scorpion stainless exhaust and a few other tricks. “It’s such good fun, goes like stink, and that fivepot sound gets me every time,” he smiles. You can tell from Steven’s infectious enthusiasm for fast Fords that this was always going to be the direction Liam’s life went in.
Ford Escort RS COSWORTH
ENGINE 2.0-litre YB turbo, Group Aair filter, Airtec RS500 62mm intercooler, Airtec radiator (satin black), full Mongoose stainless exhaust system, gloss black Samco hoses, stainless ABS module covers, stainless battery cover, carbon fibre strut tops, carbon fibre washer cap
POWER 280bhp (estimated)
TRANSMISSION Stock Cosworth
SUSPENSION Koni shocks, Graham Goode Racing springs (32mm front, 26mm rear)
BRAKES Chromed K-Sport eight-pot front callipers with 356mm discs
WHEELS & TYRES 18in Rondell wheels, 225/40x18 tyres
EXTERIOR Morette twin headlights with offside inner removed for air duct, carbon fibre front bib set, RS500 fog-light grilles, Nomad half-tinted rear lights
INTERIOR Original Lux leather interior, RS four-spoke steering wheel, genuine Cosworth mats, Pioneer 16.5cmfront speakers, Focal 5x7 570AC rear speakers, Kenwood SW11 underseat subwoofer
“I was a car-mad kid,” he confirms. “We’ve always been a Ford family, I spent countless hours at a young age cleaning the undersides of dad’s Cossies. And also driving them at 16!” It was with a certain sense of inevitability that Liam’s RS1600i would end up being the cleanest one about, scooping the concours winner’s trophy at Ford Fair before snagging the aforementioned Fast Ford cover feature.
Liam says, “It was always my dream as a kid to own an Escort Cosworth, ever since I first saw one in Cowies Ford in Swindon. I can even remember my seven-year-old self saying ‘I will own one of those one day’ – and here we are today.” Naturally, Liam had spent many years surfing eBay, Auto Trader and Pistonheads and dreaming of Cossies, until one day the stars aligned. This one came up at the right time and the right price, and it seemed like a no-brainer to make the dream come true.
The Escort was pretty much factory standard, a little tatty, but nothing a bit of love and elbow-grease couldn’t fix. And these fellas are no strangers to elbow grease.
“I wanted a car that I could put my own touch on, but keep all the standard bits so it could be returned to stock one day if need be,” he says, with an impressive sense of logical future-proofing.
“There were a few little paint issues that needed resolving, so I went on an eight-hour round-trip to a concours pal, Jez of Carrera Bodyworks, for a full respray. Fair play to him, he managed to get it finished off the weekend of Players Classic for my first show.”
The spec is really well judged, too. Liam has an eye for what’s right, and he waited a full nine months to acquire a genuine carbon bib set. The chassis upgrades are on-point, with chromed eight-pot callipers and Koni shocks paired with Graham Goode Racing springs – and, of course, the effortlessly cool Rondells.
Power-wise, the Escort is sitting at a sensible (but still amusingly manic) 280bhp, although there are plans to amplify this exponentially in the near future.
“The thrill of driving it is just awesome, and you can see it in everybody’s eyes,” he enthuses. “The attention it gets wherever you go – everyone wants to just stop and chat!
“I met a bloke in a petrol station who had just bought a Lamborghini SVJ Roadster. He was filling it up to drive home, and he spent more time chatting about the Cossie than his £350k Lambo.”
And that’s exactly the point of cars like this. They’re not status symbols, they’re expressions of passion. Nobody buys a Focus RS or an Escort Cosworth by accident – they’re bought because of an ingrained love of the marque. In the Miller family, they wear this back-story on their sleeves: father and son, rolling together, enjoying massive horsepower with massive grins. And there’s always a tin of polish and a microfibre cloth nearby.