The story of the Ford Sierra begins with the story of the then-unknown French designer Patrick le Quément, who would later become the father of the Twingo at Renault and the Scénic series.
He started his career at Simca before joining Ford, where he was the director of the German design centre.
Ford is American, but cars sold in Europe have always been very different from American cars.
Since the 1970s Ford has had a lot of passion for the old continent. The manufacturer strengthens its design studio to increase the attractiveness of Ford Europe products.
we have to change everything
For most automakers, the early 1980s represented a clean break from boxy shapes. The 1970s changed everything and we started to worry more about aerodynamic efficiency or energy savings.
Manufacturers’ brochures highlight CX, i.e. air penetration coefficient. With the advent of computer-aided design, the way of designing cars is also changing.
That’s fine, the European buyer no longer wants the ’70s sedan, square and windy. A big scan is needed!
Ford Probe III, inspiration
The new design team will undertake a radical transformation by working on a concept car devoted to aerodynamics. Ford Probe III has a curvy structure with a slim profile. Don Kopka, executive director of Ford’s design studio, was stunned when he discovered the concept car.
The results in the wind tunnel are excellent, but most importantly the gain in consumption is higher than he had imagined. Ford’s next path will be directly inspired by the Probe III. Born Sierra, it will be designed by Patrick Le Quément’s team.
Sierra looks so soft
At launch, the press and public hailed the Sierra’s apparent modernity, and the first orders were pretty encouraging. In Germany or England this is real madness.
But Ford still suffers from a slippery appearance. Some criticize him for his lack of character.
More generally, Ford is looking for the sporty image of the ’70s when the Escorts won everything in rally. The solution for Ford employees is to return to competition with Sierra!
Make the pony a racehorse
In 1983, Ford put Stuart Turner in charge of the European motorsports project.
Turner’s plan is to race in Group A. It was he who approached the British Cosworth, a longtime partner of Ford racing motors.
We are developing a turbocharged evolution of the Pinto engine. Aerodynamics, drive, Sierra finally has the ideal choice for everything. But we’ll have to change some details…
an impressive appearance
A few months after we outlined the project, we present Sierra Cosworth to brand-hating leaders!
The majestic body kit does not seem to have convinced them. In front of an audience of dealers, the car was hardly a success.
Ford then finds himself in an unpleasant situation. Dealers refuse to order more than 1,500, but group A approval requires 5,000 sales. Worse still, the deal signed with Cosworth provides 15,000 engines!
a great success
Sales figures finally give Ford confidence. More than 1600 are sold in the UK alone and more than 5500 in total.
A second series of 500 copies, the RS500, appeared in 1987. However, what would be successful was the next Cosworth imported from England, which was mass-produced in Genk, Belgium.
More practical, less exclusive, it sold 13,140 copies. However, the competition is fierce in these years following Group B.
The simple-driven Sierra struggled to keep up with the mighty all-wheel drive Lancia, Subaru or Audi. In 1990, Ford succumbed to the fascination of 4X4 transmissions and increased its Sierra from 204 to 217 hp to make up for the nearly 100-pound weight gain.
His goal of winning the world rally championship was unsuccessful but won eight races between 1992 and 1996. On the street, too, Sierra stood out. It is one of the most stolen cars of its time.
It is the favorite car of even robbers in England. Both discreet and efficient, he was relatively unnoticed among other Sierras, but was capable of outsmarting any police car.
Datasheet Ford Sierra Cosworth
Datasheet Ford Sierra Cosworth 4×4
Engine: 4-cylinder in-line, petrol, Longitudinal front
Supercharger: Turbo Garrett T3 (0.76 bar) + intercooler
Timing: Double overhead camshaft
Power: 220 horsepower at 6250 rpm
Torque: 29.1 mkg at 3500 rpm
Transmission: 5 gears
4X4 all-wheel drive
Weight: 1245 kg
Maximum speed: 242 km/h
0 to 100 km/h 6.2 s