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.