Car Crush: Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500

the working class hero from Ford of Dagenham

OK, we’ve said it before. But the Sierra Cosworth RS500 must be the most genuinely super saloon that Ford has ever produced.

Interestingly, this quintessentially Dagenham-bred saloon was pieced together in Ford’s factory in Genk, Belgium. Strange, really, because nothing screams more suitably of the English estuaries than this motor.

The turbocharged ‘YBB’ engine, which was constructed by Cosworth around a basic Pinto block and propelled the Sierra to legendary velocities, pushed out over 200 BHP and spun the wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox. It could pull away in a little over six seconds (mental for 1987) and push up to around 150MPH in the top end.

The car isn’t exactly beautiful, with that wing set up at the rear and the workaday looks of the base car – but the aesthetic improves through the foreshortening of that long look back. Apparently the Ford dealer network were not particularly confident that they could sell an initial run of 1,500 cars.

For us, the car looks like a middle manager who has taken that gym membership a little seriously and may have been snacking on a dodgy cocktail of chems to augment all that hard work. And it was that man that the car was probably aimed at – as well as a tough little cadre of privateer Group A racers of course.

The images you see here are the three-door hatch version – but there was a four door, 4×4 ‘notchback’ too, which in its early nineties manifestation remains perhaps the most strangely enticing version to own.

Perfect brutalism. Perfectly period.

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