The Ford Telstar Radisich is an impressive proposition for someone looking to move into a mid-sized family sedan, but finds the bulk of their options to be largely uninspiring. Already a superb vehicle in stock form, several relatively simple modifications can be made using parts from the Ford/Mazda range of the same era, transforming it into a serious grand-tourer that will retain its original value and factory quality.
200 were built in response to Kiwi Paul Radisich’s British touring car success in the mid-90s, and Ford recognise it as their fastest selling limited-edition.
Radisich drove a Mondeo to third place in both the 1993 and 1994 British Touring Car Championships (BTCC) – his debut seasons in the series. Both years also led to consecutive wins in the one-race World Touring Car Cup events, held at Monza and Donington respectively.
Radisich’s input into the development of the Telstar included the fitting of height adjustable Bilstein shocks and larger 16″ ROH Astron alloys with lower profile Michelin 205s; a setup which saw the car praised as one of the top handlers in its class. Two batches of 100 vehicles were built, the first in 1994 and then again in 1996. The later models gained aircon and several minor trim changes, such as a chrome strip above the front grill.
Factory sideskirts were added and Radisich’s signature featured on the front gaurds and bootlid. The interior recieved new fabric trims, as well as a momo gearknob and steering wheel, the latter also recieving the signature on the horn insert.
The cars received no engine modifications, retaining the normal Telstar’s Mazda KL-DE quadcam v6, good for approximately 122kw. The 180 manual variants did however receive a short ratio gearbox which was specific to this model. The remaining 20 automatic models are generally considered more relaxed cruisers, pulling 2400rpm @ 100km/hr compared to the manuals’ 3100rpm.
Those looking to boost the already healthy output are in luck as the 149Kw KL-ZE from the same engine family is a straight swap and many of these Japanese market engines piggybacked their way into the country in the Mazda MX6.
Given that the Telstar Radisich was assembled in Japan in such few numbers you’ve got to wonder if Ford had entertained the thought of slotting in the high output ZE. However, it’s likely that the more powerful engine would confuse the concept; the Telstar Radisich was designed as a highly competent and flexible family car, rather than an (expensive) all-out performance icon per-say. The higher compression ratio would have also required owners here to run the engine on 98 octane.
Owners should keep their eyes peeled for the stunning full leather interior available as an option on the later Telstar Eurosport.