Occasionally we get to help with some incredible Cosworth-related projects, like the restoration of Michael Schumacher’s 1994 title winning engine. But this one is probably at the top of the list. Can we help the Car SOS team not only restore a Ford Mondeo, but also bring it up to BTCC spec with some Cosworth magic for a well-deserving owner?

Ford Mondeo Restoration by Car SOS
The ‘before’ photo of the Ford Mondeo

“Hi, this is Tim”

Picture the scene (writes Modatek’s Matt Grant). It’s a hot afternoon in June 2022 and I’m sat at my desk busily working away when my mobile phone rings. I don’t recognise the number but I answer it anyway. “Hi,” says a rather enthusiastic voice, “this is Tim Shaw, the presenter of Car SOS.”

Yeah right, I think, its someone trying to catch me out. “Oh really?”, I witheringly reply.

“Yes, and look, I need your help,” says the enthusiastic voice, ignoring my rather apathetic response. “We are putting together an episode to restore a Ford Mondeo and bring it up to Nigel Mansell touring car spec for a guy who has been through it all. He’s called Karl and he’s recovering from heart surgery, having recently lost both of his parents, along with his wife and sister.

“The reason I need your help is because Karl is Cosworth-obsessed, and I hear that you might be able to help us add some Cosworth magic to this car.”

And then he presented me with the clincher. “And we’ve got Nigel Mansell involved”.

Can You Say No to a Car Sausage?

For any petrolheads that have been living under a rock, Car SOS is a long running UK-based TV show that started around 13 years ago. Fans of the show refer to it as Car Sosage, aka Car Sausage.

The show is broadcast on Disney+, National Geographic, Channel 4 and More 4. Around the world it goes to 120 countries gets in the region of 200 million viewers and is National Geographic‘s highest ratings show globally.

In Tim’s words, “The concept of the show is really simple, we secretly steal away a deserving owner’s classic car with the help of their family, and restore it completely ahead of a surprise return! The show always ends in tears and is a family feel good show.

“The last series got a lot of press as we had the likes of David Beckham, Paul McCartney, Emmerdale, Manchester United (players and ground), and Ed Sheeran help us return the cars and make appearances as fans of the show and what we do.”

The unsuspecting recipients of the restored cars have all been through the worst challenges in life, from ill health to bereavement. Its hard not to get a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye when you see the big reveal at the end of each episode.

So even if Nigel Mansell wasn’t involved, its hard to say no when Tim asks for help.

Lights, Camera, Action!

Working with Cosworth, we were able to pull together the engine upgrade that Tim and his team were looking for. It took a few weeks of planning, but I have to say that everyone at Cosworth was extremely supportive.

On the day of the filming with Car SOS, Tim turned up and ‘barged’ his way past reception to break into Cosworth’s auditorium that is filled with examples of the firm’s illustrious past engines. He then ‘persuaded’ Cosworth to take the engine behind the scenes and add some Cosworth magic to restore the engine to full health and add in a bit of power as a bonus.

It was also great to finally meet Tim, he was as enthusiastic in person as he was on the phone. And yes, he really is that tall!

Matt Grant with Tim Shaw of Car SOS
Matt Grant with Tim Shaw of Car SOS

The Big Reveal

After Cosworth had worked their magic, Tim’s partner in crime Fuzz Townshend dropped the engine back into the Mondeo, which by now had been lovingly restored and fitted with touring car spec parts such as bodywork and brakes. The car was now also resplendent in 1998 Ford Mondeo BTCC livery, as raced by Nigel Mansell.

Ford Mondeo Restoration by Car SOS

The day of the reveal took place in the garages at Silverstone. Karl was truly shocked to see his car now kitted out to look like as his hero Nigel Mansell’s BTCC competitor.

If you are in the UK and you’d like to watch this episode then you can watch it now on Channel 4 catch up, just click on the link below:

Ford Mondeo Restoration by Car SOS
Ta-da! Here’s the restored Mondeo!

Ford Mondeo Restoration by Car SOS
Tim with Karl in his restored Ford Mondeo