Ford Sierra Cosworth – a legend of the 1980s.
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Ford Sierra Cosworth – a legend of the 1980s.

Ford Sierra is an iconic car that had an amazing career in the 1980s around the world. In particular, the Cosworth model was remembered primarily among lovers of fast driving.


Ford Sierra Cosworth was created by a team of people who cared a lot about joining this American brand to the top of racing cars. In the early 1980s, auto racing was booming. One of the most popular at the time was the touring car category, which played a big role for Ford. It lacked a car that could compete with the best, like BMW or Rover

In 1985, the Sierra RS Cosworth made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show. It met with a very enthusiastic and warm reception, especially among fast driving fans. Working on the design of this model, numerous components were used, which formed the sporty Merkur XR4ti. Thanks to this form of work it was possible to both save time and reduce costs during the production of the new car.

The hallmark of the Ford Sierra Cosworth became the rear wing, which resembled a whale’s tail. Its purpose was to increase downforce and improve the car’s stability when developing higher speeds. This amazing spoiler later became the hallmark of the sporty Ford. Body elements that emphasized the sporty purpose were:

  • heavily widened wheel arches,
  • two distinctive air intakes on the bonnet,
  • front bumper specially modified for this version

Under the hood, the constructors foresaw a two-liter engine with 204 hp, and thanks to an additional turbocharger from BorgWarner the car achieved even better performance. Ford Sierra Cosworth was driven to the rear axle thanks to a manual five-speed transmission.

Its on-road performance, for a mass-produced car, was outstanding. The Cosworth accelerated to 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds, reaching a top speed of 230 km/h. Such parameters made this model one of the most desirable Ford versions of those years, and in addition available at an attractive price. The three-door option gave this version a very sporty character, but also did not limit the space for those sitting in the back of the car.

Continuation of

In 1990 there were some changes related to the application of four-wheel drive in the Ford Cosworth. This was supposed to bring further success on the race tracks, but it turned out that “four-wheel drive” was not always the key to success and the Ford XR4 model was much more successful on rallies. That didn’t change the fact, however, that with the advent of the Cosworth rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive, both in showrooms and in rallying, the brand’s popularity saw a rapid rise

The 4×4 version was not exactly a continuation of previous Ford Cosworth models. The manufacturer used its own gearbox for the transmission, and the engine was refined to work with a catalytic converter. The four-wheel-drive version was marked by a head painted green, unlike the rear-wheel-drive option. The power output of the vehicle increased to 230 hp

The biggest difference on this model, however, was the lack of a “whale fin” on the rear of the Ford. Instead, a small aileron was used on the tailgate, which was much different from what was used on the predecessor. Several air intakes were added to the early 1990s version, including the distinctive ones on the hood that are familiar from the first RS Cosworth.

Despite the modifications, the career of the 4×4 version did not last very long, both when it came to roads and rallying. The Sierra Cosworth 4×4 was a rather unreliable and clunky car to drive.

What’s Next

Despite the not very long career of the Ford Cosworth 4×4, it was possible to create a new Ford based on it – the Escort Cosworth. Its debut took place in rallying in 1990, and it hit the car market two years later.

The Ford Sierra Cosworth is undoubtedly a legend of the 1980s, which was a response to the increasing competition on race tracks from brands such as BMW and Mercedes. Its hallmark was the distinctive “fin” on the rear bumper and the incredible performance that enabled it to compete on many race tracks. Ford’s collaboration with British engine manufacturer Cosworth did not end with the Sierra model, and continued even longer, with the construction of the Ford Escort model.


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