Winning Amount: £ 36,300.00
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“This car remains a Jekyll and Hyde vehicle. It’s a family car, at home in every condition. It’s also a sports car, more so than quite a number which pretend to be. It’s the sort of car in which you volunteer to go to the shops, for the sheer pleasure of driving, and find an interesting route via Inverness.” Motor Sport, October 1986
GT, Lotus Cortina, Cortina Lotus, Mexico, Twin Cam, RS 1600, 1800 and 2000, XR (OK maybe less so), the Sierra Cosworth had both an impressive bloodline but also a lot to live up to. Ford were perhaps aware they had dropped the enthusiasts ball somewhat with the XR line when a combination of too much marketing and not enough engineering (and arguably, in some cases, the power hitting the road from the wrong end of the car) resulted in the Blue Oval’s performance cars receiving a less than enthusiastic reception. The still rear drive family saloon launched in 1982, Ford Sierra, may have been slightly derided for its ‘jelly mould’ looks but a low drag co-efficient amply compensated the serious driver and Fleet Manager equally. Tasked with bringing back Ford’s glory days on the circuit and rally stage, Stuart Turner picked the Sierra as his weapon of choice in early 1983 and proceeded to have his team develop the car into something worthy of its impressive ancestry.
Revitalising a relationship that dated back to making Anglia engines go ‘whizz’ (and occasionally it must be said ‘bang’), which had yielded such automotive milestones as the DFV and BDA competition engines, Turner bought Cosworth on board and their 16 valve, twin cam YAA Ford Pinto based engine was selected to power the project. With a turbocharger strapped to the side it became the YBB and though Ford demanded at least 180 BHP from this engine, Cosworth successfully negotiated this figure up (!) to 204 BHP (with a forged steel crank and rods it would be rude not too) but stipulated that Ford would have to buy 15,000 examples. As this was three-times the quantity Ford required to take the Sierra into Group A competition, the Marketing guys had their work cut out but luckily the tool to do it, as it turned out, with ease.
To turn the Sierra into a race and rally winner, the full gambit of tuning tricks was worked through from specially built Borg-Warner Mustang gearboxes, suspension developed in both the British Touring Car Championship and its equivalent in the USA, to an aerodynamic package honed in the wind tunnel and on the test track.
Feedback from dealers that the road cars may be tricky to shift forced Ford to build the original three door machines down to a price with only three exterior colours available, ‘any colour you like as long as it’s grey’ interiors and an options list that ran to just 2 items – electric windows and central locking.
This time the marketing men got their focus groups more correctly aligned and went for a model designation that incorporated two of the best from their back catalogue: Cosworth, naturally, and RS. Sales to the enthusiast market? Done. Sure enough, 5545 three door Sierra Cosworths made their way out of showrooms in 1986 and 1987 before the Ford top brass decided the best way to shift their remaining engine commitment was to slot these into the less overtly styled, more practical and to be fair, more street focused four door Sierra Sapphire.
This particularly fine example of one of Ford’s greatest ever saloon cars rolled (growled?) off the production line at their not especially promisingly named Genk factory in Belgium in late 1986 and was duly registered in the UK on 7th November.
Since then D208 SVX has led a remarkable life, seemingly wanting for absolutely nothing from its total of just 9 owners over the last 34 years - with the result that it now looks like it’s been on the road for more like 34 days than years.
Loving preservation has been combined with some careful, sympathetic (and if you’re an RS purist, entirely reversible) modifications - with engine, transmission, suspension and brakes all benefitting from many thousands of pounds-worth of investment. The result is a very special car indeed, and certainly the best kept example we’ve ever come across.
Laden with all the available factory extras (i.e. both central locking and electric windows) this example makes the best possible use of the ‘any colour you like, as long as it’s black, white or moonstone’ Ford diktat by rejoicing in the rare and desirable ‘moonstone blauw’ option (and a very lovely shade of blauw it is too).
From the outside the car looks completely standard with the exception of slightly lowered ride height, so whilst not exactly a Q car (due to a spoiler alert that would make even a period 911 blush) it is as visually demure as the next man’s RS.
Externally the bodywork is essentially flawless (and we use that word carefully) with just one paint chip next to the (also slightly imperfect) front tow hook, (see photo gallery) which the current owner tells us will be attended to prior to the sale.
All the glassware is free from cracks, scratches and clouding, and the various seals and door rubbers are likewise in perfect nick (or rather ‘no nick’ condition). The five factory alloys have recently been refurbished and are scuff free and shod with matching Multirac tyres with plenty of life left in them.
Inside, as can be seen in the photo gallery, there really is nothing to do but sit yourself in the supremely comfortable and supportive Recaros and drink in your surroundings. Everything here looks brand new and smells the same, the unused cigarette lighter appearing to confirm a mercifully smoke free existence. All the electrics work as they should do including the original factory fitted stereo, amp and electric aerial, and the car comes equipped with a bespoke RS Cosworth dash cover to keep the UV rays at bay – further evidence of its pampered past.
Being picky (which we are) the upholstery is starting to look a touch baggy in places now (who doesn’t when you’re the wrong side of 30?), but scuffs, stains, tears or marks of any kind are entirely absent.
The story continues in the engine bay, which is as clean as a whistling wastegate and the underneath is good enough to trigger a serious bout of floorpan-envy in even the most fastidious modern classic car owner.
Turning to the unique features of this particular example, according to Southwest Performance Car’s spec sheet (on file) they originally built the engine and its ancillaries up as follows, although clearly there have been some ammedments and updates since then:
All of the above resulted in a very useful (and useable) power increase of about 30% - from 204bhp to 267bhp @6,460 rpm (rolling road printout on file).
That’s it in terms of the ‘go’; turning (equally importantly in our book) to the ‘stop’, the car enjoys newly fitted cross drilled, grooved and vented front and rear discs with four pot calipers and fresh Mintex M1144 fast road pads, all of which combine to bring 1217kg of extremely rapid Ford to an impressively quick standstill without even the slightest squeak of drama.
In addition to the above, D208 SVX’s standard five-speed manual Borg Warner T5 ‘box and limited slip differential (lubricated with synthetic oil, as you would expect) are complemented by an AP racing clutch; whilst the suspension features adjustable shocks front and rear and the aforementioned uprated and lowered springs.
The whole is topped off with an OMP twin alloy front brace (currently rather confusingly residing in the boot, but easily re-fitted) and an OMP single alloy rear brace.
Once warmed through the engine settles into an even, docile and rattle-free 1,000 rpm idle and our test drive revealed a beautifully slick and smooth gear change, lovely direct steering and one holy mother of a 0-60 time. The suspension is currently set to ‘firm’ but can of course be eased off via simple attention to the shock absorbers' adjusters if you prefer a little less jiggling over the UK’s increasingly third rate tarmac.
The history on the car is (surprise surprise) reassuringly extensive, with every single MOT on file since the car’s third birthday in 1989, and a stack of other bills all meticulously filed in the accompanying folder. The stamped book reveals an almost exclusively Ford main dealer service history, with the latest service having been conducted just this week.
The first owner clearly relished their new toy, putting on a remarkable 8,000 miles in just two months (try doing that in your Testarossa) but once the 40,000 mile marker was passed in 1990 things calmed down considerably with D208 SVX covering just 5,000 miles between 1997 and 2014, and a further 12,000 since then.
With the current total standing at just over 80,000 miles, a fresh MOT with no advisories and that RS Cosworth service (including the all-important cam belt check) just completed, this example is absolutely ready to be enjoyed and, we hope, appreciated and cherished for the rare and precious thing that it is.
Fully HPI clear, matching numbers, 2 sets of factory keys and alarm fobs, never welded… We could go on (and indeed we have!), but we can’t help but feel that this example justifies the plaudits and undoubtedly offers outstanding value for money at its current super-realistic estimate.
One of the best in the UK? We’ll let you decide that. The car is available for inspection anytime between now and the close of play on Monday 28th, near Fareham, Hampshire.