If there was one car that our testers yearned to drive in our Fast Ford Special, it was the Cosworth
11 December 2014

If there was one car more than any other that our testers yearned to drive on the near-deserted B-roads that score across this part of Powys, it was the Sierra RS Cosworth.

Conceived to let Ford meet touring car racing homologation rules, then also pressed into service for rallying after the demise of Group B, the Cosworth was the pin-up alternative to a supercar for a generation. It was attainable filth – more ‘reader’s wife’ than ‘playmate of the month’. Or something.

Today, they’re becoming less attainable by the minute. As I write, there are more than 40 ‘RS Cosworth’-badged Fords for sale on Pistonheads, but only five of them are three-door Sierras like this.

Most sport aftermarket alloys. One has more than 500bhp. You can get one for £10k, but you’ll need £15,000 for a good original one and £20,000 for a terrific one. You can add £5000 to that for one of the 500 Tickford-modified RS500s, too.

Do so, and what do you get? It depends. Ford’s own RS Cosworth is in lovely condition for its age and mileage, but after well over 20 years, things inevitably start to sag. You can feel it. The bushes are getting tired and loose. This RS isn’t at the ‘don’t meet your heroes’ stage just yet, but there is a point where an old car, regardless of how it felt as a new car, feels it.

But once you’re past the slack in the steering just off straight-ahead, the RS still has some moves. It helps that its steering wheel is one of the finest in motordom to hold, and it still expertly filters back messages from the grippy front end.

The gearshift is precise, if a touch sticky, and the engine still feels strong. Traction is good, too, or so I think, until across a wet but not streaming road the back wheels lose grip in fourth gear. But while the RS is a little rough around the edges, the potential to have a good time is all still here. Then, as now, few ’80s icons beat the RS Cosworth.

Factfile 

Price £15,590; Dates produced 1985-1987; Top speed 145mph (as tested); 0-60mph 6.2sec (as tested); Economy 23.5mpg; CO2 na; Kerb weight 1216kg; Engine type 4 cyls in line, 1994cc, turbocharged petrol; Power 204bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 205lb ft at 4500rpm; Gearbox 5-spd manual

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Join the debate

Comments
5

4 February 2012

A friend of mine owned an absolute mint 3dr, too nice and too low mileage in fact. If a drive from A to B would've added even 20miles to the odometer he'd just stay at home because it would affect its value. That seems like an awful shame to me. Some of the RS showpiece cars are just ridiculous, never driven and trailered from thier dehumidified garage to a car show and back again.... I admire their dedication to having polished anti-roll bars but surely the point of a Cossie lies in the driving?

4 February 2012

[quote Mad for tar]A friend of mine owned an absolute mint 3dr, too nice and too low mileage in fact. If a drive from A to B would've added even 20miles to the odometer he'd just stay at home because it would affect its value. That seems like an awful shame to me. Some of the RS showpiece cars are just ridiculous, never driven and trailered from thier dehumidified garage to a car show and back again.... I admire their dedication to having polished anti-roll bars but surely the point of a Cossie lies in the driving?[/quote]

I also get annoyed by people who don't drive their cars at all! Let's face it, the car was built to be driven. Surely, garaging it is an insult!

My friend used to have an Escort RS Cosworth back in the 90's. He drove it every day, and it ran like clockwork. He let me have a go in it once, and it was a bloody monster! I knew it was going to be quick, but...

4 February 2012

Yea, it makes me want to see something like Lambo or Ferrari announcing that they have just given Fred Bloggs a new Galardo or 458 as he has done 100,000 miles since he bought it new 3 years ago. ( 430 of course in the case of Ferrari)

4 February 2012

its good of Ford to lend you their car, but you would think they would maintain it properly. How hard would it be to replace those worn bushes etc?

4 February 2012

Why no fast Mondeo, the ST200 and ST220 where very fine cars, and far better than their mainstream rivals, and surely they are the direct descendants of Sierra

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