Motoring | Features

The legendary Ford Sierra Cosworth

The word ‘legend’ is bandied about far too much, but when it comes to the Ford Sierra Cosworth there’s no other adjective more appropriate

  • By Dejan Jovanovic, Sub Editor, wheels
  • Published: 13:44 August 2, 2012
  • Wheels

Ford Sierra Coswort
  • Image Credit: Supplied picture
  • Ford Sierra Coswort.

It was precisely this week 25 years ago that a legend was born. Now, if I right-click on the passé term ‘legend’ on my word processor, I get synonyms such as ‘fable’ and ‘myth’.

But in the case of the Ford Sierra Cosworth Group A Touring Car, fairy tales are for babies. Or, just anyone else who lines up alongside the thing on a racing grid… The Cossie is very much real, and very much a legend.

When Ford of Germany mildly stunned the European automotive contingent with the aerodynamic and curvy Sierra in 1982, everybody saw a remarkable step away
from the blocky creations of the Eighties.

The Sierra‘s profile swooped like an arch over its wheels, and the Bob Lutz and Patrick le Quément-initiated project entered the market with a class-leading drag coefficient of just 0.34.

The world saw a neat and futuristic family saloon. Ford Motorsport of Britain saw a rear-wheel drive Group A killer. The homologation race was on… In order to campaign the car in the ruthless paint-swapping Touring Car races of Europe, Ford had to call on the expertise of several other living legends.

Walter Hayes, the man responsible for the Ford GT40 overseeing the might of Ferrari at Le Mans, spearheaded the project, while a certain Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth helped extract the necessary power.

If you mash their surnames together you may have already figured out that Costin and Duckworth founded the legendary engineering firm Cosworth.

The road-going version that resulted made its debut in 1985, and with Cosworth’s legendary (look, I’m sorry, but this cliché is just going to keep coming back here) YB engine mounted in the bay, the Ford Sierra RS Cosworth was an express ticket into the then rarefied kingdom of 200bhp+.

The sturdy YB meant Cosworth just kept stretching the curve on the dynamometer sheet over the years, all the way into the 400 horsepower range when it came to the racing cars. With the onslaught of turbos and ever more fervent competition, the mighty Sierra soon touched 550bhp.

This RS500 dominated the tracks in its heyday, and the 1987 WorldTouring Car Championship trophy had Ford Motorsport engraved on to it even before thelast race of the season.

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It won national titles everywhere too, and even tore around Britain’s countryside on its way to a British Rally Championship in 1987 and 1988. Now how do I edit MS Word’s synonyms listing? I need to add ‘Ford Sierra Cosworth’ under ‘legend’.

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