The Sierra RS Cosworth can be had for as little as £10,000
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.
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
Complete Fast Ford buying guide
This limited edition, 153bhp ball of fun has limitless amounts of charm and is supremely easy to fall for.
Of all the fast Fords here, the XR2 is the most basic, and none the worse for it. Peppy 1.6-litre engine makes 96bhp and unassisted steering hardwires the XR2 driver to the road.
The ST's blend of five-pot burble, occasional rally-style bang through the exhaust, light but feelsome steering and 324lb ft of torque can turn the most sedate driver into a hooligan.
RS produces 212bhp, but the focus here is more on handling than power; steering wheel features a useful 'this way up' marker.