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XCAR: Ford Sierra and Escort Cosworths: XCAR goes retro
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XCAR: Ford Sierra and Escort Cosworths: XCAR goes retro

13:27 /

With their roots firmly in racing, the roadgoing Ford Sierra RS Cosworth and Escort Cosworths were legends in their lifetimes. Still hankered after today, XCAR took these awesome cars out on the track to see what the fuss was about.

[MUSIC] Ford has been has been getting world motoring for over a century. Its cars have taken babies home for the first time. Been a setting for countless family outings. And seen more miles of motorway than pretty much anything ever. But Ford also excels in one particular area. The fast foot and today we have two legends from the 80s and the 90s. The Sierra and Escort cars. These are cars that were flying when Motor Sport was a true television event. When offered the choice, people would pick the Ford over the BMW. When win on Sunday, sell on Monday was more of the same. [MUSIC] So this leads me to ask, what are these legends of the 20th century like today? [MUSIC] Cosworth and Ford goes together very well indeed and these two motors are often talked about with a smile and seen through rose tinted glasses. So, we thought, it might be nice to give them a little more context and get under their skin to find out just why. They were so great. This is the Ford Sierra RS Cosworth. And like many [UNKNOWN] cars, it was born of motorsport. In the early 80s, Stewart Turner was a pointed head at Motorsports for Ford. And he noticed that the brand wasn't doing all that well in Group A racing. tall. And considering his jump cycle was head of motor [UNKNOWN], he figured he should get on that. So, set about creating the right car for the job. [MUSIC] This is where an interesting link with the GT40 comes in. Turner put in a call to Ford's VP of Public Relations, Walter Hayes. to talk about the project. Now Hayes should be the key figures behind the legendary GT40 and incidentally was involved with the Cosworth DFE engine that ensured Ford bested F1 in the 60s and 70s. Upon hearing the news that Turner wanted to get Ford back to the top of group A, Hayes pledged full support. [MUSIC] With that [UNKNOWN], Turner and Ken Coors, VP development went on a little field trip to the chaps at Cosworth who showed them the YAA engine, 16 valves, two litres [UNKNOWN] the men from Ford were impressed and asked Cosworth to make two versions. One for the street with 180 horsepower, and one for competition with 300. Cosworth agreed, but there were too caveats. One, Ford had to take a lot of engines. And two, there's no way they make one with less than 204 horsepower for the street. With the engine in the back, the rest of the car needed some work. It's gearbox was sourced from Bog Warner, the T-45. Five because suspension was tweaked thanks to lessons learned from Jack Rousch's [UNKNOWN] XR-14 race car. The suspension arrow gave Ford's engineers a great idea of what to do to make a Sierra as kick **** as possible. [MUSIC] [NOISE] [MUSIC] The Sierra was decreed perfect for group A. It had decent arrow, and it was rear wheel drive. However, a few changes were needed before it all went ahead. Its body was based on the XR 4i and they put a massive wing on the back to stabilize it at speed. Initially top brass wasn't too happy with the wing, but after some gentle cajoling. They buckled and the car was bent. The car was shown to the public at the 1985 Geneva Motor Show, and went on sale in July the following year. Around 6000 were sold, 500 of which went to Tickford to become RS500s, a more powerful, three-door, hardcore Sierra RS Cosworth. Which have been [UNKNOWN] for racing themselves. Each car was right-hand drive only and came in three colors: black, white and moonstone blue. There were two options, as well, central locking and electric windows. The Sierra was the kind of car your dad would have. In fact, your dad probably did have one if he grew up in Britain. In, in the 80s and 90s. But the good think about the RS1 is that you could see the racing one on telly. And you can buy that in the real world. This particular car was made in 1986 as was I. So this car is as old as me. And I kind of hope that I'm holding up as well as it. This car is the type that would humble super cars. Many times its price. And now, it's still [UNKNOWN] quick. But you just feel a lot more. To put that into perspective, say a Golf GTI, that's got 270, 230 horsepower depending on which one you get. [NOISE] It's a great car, you go very quickly in it but this just feels more involving and this real wheel drive we got great balance to it. It's a big brick of car but it's so cool, every time I look in my rear view mirror. There's just wing. Big ole wing. I like a big ole wing. And the [UNKNOWN] has got vents in it, all big and boxy. Man this thing is cool. This is another example of what happens when Ford goes right. We need a car that's going to be wicked; let's make it. And then, they do. The racecar did well around the world, ranking up victory after victory in [INAUDIBLE] Australian touring cars, WCCC and even saw service in the WRC, though its rear-wheel drive layout meant it didn't win any loose surface WRC races. It was incidentally well loved in the lower level rally events. There were two further sierra [UNKNOWN]. The last one being the one in the 90s. The four x four. And it had been much [UNKNOWN] for a while and was entered as a [UNKNOWN] rally car. It didn't set the world alight. But it did find favor. In the lower leagues. When the time came for the Sierra to go, though, it was your place to buy them on Dayo. The Sierra Cosworth, though, well that wasn't. [MUSIC] The Cosworth model it was replaced with is this. The Escort RS Cosworth. Where its Cosworth predecessor was designed to take on the track, the Escort was designed for rally. Work began on the Escort Cosworth in the late 80s but it went on sale. In the early 90s. Now under its body shell sits the engine and transmission from the Sierra, but thanks to a new turbo and engine management system, it's two liter turbo charged engine pushes out 217 horsepower. That said, [UNKNOWN] have managed to get much, much more out of it. [MUSIC] The Escort got 34 to 66 rear [UNKNOWN] four wheel drive, Recaro seats and a spoiler that will either offend or delight. It was on sale for four years and over 7,000 rolled off the line. The first two and a half thousand of those were [UNKNOWN] specials, cars made to keep race officials happy. And a few of them where Motorsports specials which were a touch more hardcore than the norm. Later cars came with a different more manageable turbo and an option to delete the spoiler, thankful one that few took. [MUSIC] The Escort course was running car did okay on the world stages. It got [UNKNOWN] it's first. << First victory of the Monte Carlo rally in 40 years. Much like it's predecessor, the Sierra, it also found pretty good favor in the lower league of rally as well. After six years of competition, the Escort car was laid to rest and replaced by the Focus. However, this is the road car. This is the one we're here. The need to drive and many people dribble over them. And if I'm honest, before today I'd never driven one. And so, this is going to be interesting. First off their specs. This thing will do naught to sixty in 6.1 seconds and 140 mph. It's got four wheel drive which means in nasty conditions like this it actually holds incredibly well having driven them back to back. The sierra is a lot more rural. This thing has a load more grip thanks to it's four wheel drive. Admittedly, that does mean steering suffers a little bit. And sierra, you get so much more feedback through that, where as this isn't quite as good, not quite as communicative. That said, you can go around banking at 10 miles per hour faster in this than you can in that because you just know. Little grip. It's got a few awesome touches to it, like the little boost gauge, in the center console there. But you when you nail it, you put your foot down, and then you wait, and then there's the boost. There's the boost. And it's rapid. It's so quick this thing. I mean, it's not quite as meaty sounding as the Sierra, but I'll take it. I can see why people love it. And it's wings. I thought the wing on the Sierra was a big deal. Oh my Lord. All you see in the rear view mirror. Where as in the Sierra you get quite a lot of it, in this there's a big bar in the middle. Then a big slab of wing, right over the top of the glass. Looks cool, it's big and it's boxy and it's angry and it's shouty. This particular car is one of the development vehicles and it was shaken down here at Ford's test track, so basically taken it home.When I was young, I had a best mate, Sam, and his parents had an Escort because everybody's had an experience with a ford. At least in Britain, almost certainly Europe and if you haven't. In America they'll know something is really wrong there, but slipping back in here, seeing all of this, seeing all the gauges, it just brought it all rushing back. It all felt just rough. This is like a big hug from the past except the big hug with a massive wing on the back and all kinds of boost. And yet. Did you get more noise. This here is a noisy car. Have to wrestle with it while the gear box in it is a lot easier to use instead it is quite interesting. Joining the two shows just how far ford came in not that long as 1986 this is early 90's. Someone got these to over. That was his worst peril. They're very formidable cars, they're very, very, very iconic. People just love them. And that's easy to understand why. Whereas now cars have become a little bit too comfortable, a little bit too happy. We're making sure you don't feel too much. These are far more engaging. They're far better at letting you know what's going on. I really want to know know what would happen if this was Norms now eventually it would look like a Focus. But it's not slow and it's not bad to drive. It'll hold the road. Remarkably well. These two are legends in their own lifetime. Creates to take on the competition, win and sell a few cars in the process. These road going versions of their race siblings proves that you could have a little slice of that race bred dream sat on your drive. And their also proof if ever was needed that Ford's really good at making fun, fast cars. [NOISE]

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