1986 Sierra Cosworth RS at CAB Motor CompanyA long term customer for over 20 years, Maurice Power collected his immaculate 1986 Sierra Cosworth RS 2.0i turboboost, phase 2 chipped, 360bhp Ford Classic, from our service department today. He has had the car since new and with a top speed of 170mph and a 0-60mph in 5.3 sec, its the perfect car for a quick getaway (or a longdrive:).
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The Ford Sierra RS Cosworth is a high-performance version of the Ford Sierra that was built by Ford Europe from 1986 to 1992. It was the result of a Ford Motorsport project with the purpose of producing an outright winner for Group A racing in Europe.
The Ford Sierra RS Cosworth was first presented to the public at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1985, with plans to release it for sale in September and closing production of the 5,000 cars in the summer of 1986.
In practice, it was launched in July 1986, and 5545 were manufactured in total of which 500 were sent to Tickford for conversion to the Sierra three-door RS500 Cosworth. The vehicles were manufactured in right hand drive (RHD) only, and were made in Ford’s Genk factory in Belgium.
Sierra RS Cosworth rally car
The Sierra Cosworth was also pressed into service as a rally car, and saw some success. After the abolition of the Group B formula in the World Rally Championship at the end of 1986, manufacturers had to turn to Group A cars and Ford, like most others, found itself without a fully suitable car. The Cosworth was very powerful but, with only rear-wheel-drive, lost out to the four-wheel-drive Lancias and Mazdas on loose-surface events, while the four-wheel-drive XR4x4 had an excellent chassis but an elderly engine producing only around 200 bhp, at least 100 less than the Lancia. For the 1987 season the team ran both, using the XR4x4 on loose surfaces and the Cosworth on tarmac, but the XR4x4’s power disadvantage was too great and from 1988 the team concentrated on the Cosworth alone, and continued to use it until the arrival of the Sierra RS Cosworth 4×4 in 1990.
The rear-drive car never won a loose-surface World Rally Championship event, but in the hands of drivers such as Stig Blomqvist, Carlos Sainz and Ari Vatanen it frequently finished in the top five, except when conditions were particularly slippery. On tarmac it was a much more serious competitor, and a young Didier Auriol won the 1988 Corsica Rally outright, the only time that season that Lancia were beaten in a straight fight. However, as Lancia developed the Delta Integrale further and new cars such as the Toyota Celica GT-Four ST165 appeared, the Cosworth became steadily less competitive.
Thanks to strong support and readily available parts from Ford Motorsport, the Cosworth was a popular car with private teams. Moreover, below world championship level, four-wheel-drive opposition was limited at the time, and the Cosworth was as fast as any of its two-wheel-drive rivals. It lacked the fine handling of the BMW M3, for example, but on the other hand it was much more powerful. It was also very reliable. Consequently it became a very popular car at national championship level, and during the late 1980s Sierra drivers won many national series. Jimmy McRae took the British Rally Championship in a Sierra in 1987 and 1988, whilst Carlos Sainz won the Spanish Championship in the same years, to name but two. The Cosworth was popular with spectators because it was visually dramatic, with its flame-spitting exhaust and tail-sliding, rear-drive handling; and it was popular with amateur drivers because it was competitive, robust and relatively cheap. To this day it is a fairly common sight on lower-level events.