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Mark George blog - What makes the Ford Sapphire Cosworth a true classic?

Ford Sierra Cosworth RS

Mark George explains why he’s proud to be a Sapphire Cosworth owner


I wouldn’t say it looks special, really, because it just looks like an old Sierra with big wheels on it. It’s the driveability.

You put your hands on the steering wheel and everything’s there right in front of you. The interior layout has been done to perfection. Indeed, all is just-so, with a dash-mounted pod of Ford racing gauges ideally sited to inform of voltage, oil and water pressure.

Meanwhile the wideband air and fuel ratio and turbo boost can be monitored at the driver’s eye level through meters located to the right of the RS4 spoked steering wheel, which is regarded as a must-have for the car.

It’s what make this motor tick that attracts most admiration. At shows I lift up the bonnet and it speaks for itself. Lifting that catch certainly does reveal an inner beauty, as the standard – if anything to emerge from Cosworth’s Northampton factory can be labelled standard – two-litre, 16-valve turbo-charged engine looks not just pristine but boasts extra grunt courtesy of a Harvey Gibbs rebuild.

Aided by the  smooth Borg Warner T5 gearbox with big teeth gear kit, AP paddle clutch and gripper-plated limited slip differential, George has clocked 0-60mph in four-and-a-half seconds; some way short of the sub-three second mark that Gibbons himself has achieved but nonetheless still as fast as faeces off a digging implement!

It catches eyes on the road too. It’s like being in a goldfish bowl. Other drivers just stare. Lads of my era really appreciate it but your average 17-year-old (while intrigued) just doesn’t know what it is!

Whilst, to paraphrase John Inverdale, it may be no looker, the Sapphire Cosworth was a winner. Its influence stretched well beyond the fairly meagre 1,653 registrations it secured in the UK over three years, not least in giving the Sierra a turbo-injected image boost through restoring credibility on the track.

The three-door 'Saph' could really move, as its 1987 British Touring Car and subsequent consecutive Australian TOCA and other championship titles swiftly proved. Touching a similar top speed, the standard four-door saloon was clearly no slouch either, whilst re-tuned versions like mine are capable of squeezing out almost 30mph more.

Check out Cosworth in Crisis featuring Carole Nash Classic Cars ambassador Fuzz Tonwshend restoring a 1986 Ford Cosworth on Channel 4's Car SOS.


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