From stripping engines to building a concours RS2000, when it comes to old Fords, it’s fair to say Andy Burton of Burton Power has done it all.
What was your first Ford?
A Mk2 RS2000, which I still have. I was 18 and paid £1900 for it, which was the going rate for a roadworthy one back then! It belonged to one of our customers and had a highly-strung Pinto, so we sold that one on and put a 130 bhp one in on a twin-choke. This was a big jump from my previous car — a Vauxhall Viva which
used to scrape the door handles when you went round corners!
The RS2000 has been through a few changes since then, hasn’t it?
Yes, it was completely restored in the early ‘90s using genuine panels bought from a main dealers — imagine trying to do that now. I did concours with it for a while with the RS Owners’ Club, after I bought an RS Turbo to use as my daily, then a few years ago I started to do a Duratec conversion. It’s 90 per cent done, and I’ve got all the bits, it’s just finding the time to finish it — I’m heavily into karting at the moment, plus I do track days in Kermit, my Mk2 Focus RS, and I also now have a Mk3 RS known as Smurf.
When did you start working in the shop?
My brother and I started helping out at weekends and during school holidays as soon as we could, and would do everything from stripping old engines to sweeping up. I started working full-time after university, which would have been 1992, and my first assignment was to get the business through BS5750 (now ISO9000), which was a government-backed quality assurance programme that was popular at the time. Well, it wasn’t popular with anyone who had to implement it, because it was a nightmare.
What are you most involved with now?
A lot of my time is taken up with updating and improving our website. We were one of the first in the marketplace to have one, and now it dominates the business — it’s now the shop window for the majority of our customers. Then from September to December I’m pretty much full-time doing the catalogue, which is such an important document for the company. I’ve been compiling it since 2000, and it’s fair to say it takes over your life for three months — you’ve got to have such an in-depth knowledge of the products we sell.
Has the typical Burton Power customer changed much in those 25 years?
Not so much the customer, but the cars have definitely changed. They’re so cherished and have a different purpose now — they’re much more mollycoddled. People put a lot more thought into how a car is modified, especially visually — our sales of black silicone hoses now far outstrip blue ones, for example, whereas back in the day, it was de rigueur for a Cossie to have a set of blue or red hoses under the bonnet!
Are there any parts coming through that you think might be game-changers for the scene?
It’ll be interesting to see how the carb-style throttle bodies develop and whether they’re adapted en masse by the classic Ford guys. I’d certainly be happy to fit a set to one of my cars.
You’ve got £12,000 to buy and build a classic Ford, what would you do?
I would love to build a 100E at some point — period-looking and with a Lotus twin-cam under the bonnet.
I’m quite happy with the cars I’ve got, but I guess I wouldn’t say no to an RS200!
What’s your favourite event?
It has to be Ford Fair. I get to meet up with friends, judge the Homebuilt Heroes cars which are always impressive, and take Kermit out on a couple of track sessions. It’s a great day!
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