1985 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth (Pre-Production)View vehicle description
The Sierra was, like the Cortina before it, the backbone of British motoring life, shuttling the widget rep along the motorway network with the same aplomb as it shuffled the family around at weekends. It excelled at both, being spacious, comfortable, reliable and decently economical.
What it wasn’t though, was fun. At least not until the XR4i came along with its wonderfully nonchalant claim to be able to cruise at two miles a minute; if the bog-standard Sierra was an Airbus 310, the XR4i was Concorde.
Ford upped the ante again with the RS Cosworth, which was essentially a road-going SR-71 Blackbird. Capable of around 150mph (after passing 60mph in 6.2 seconds) the 204bhp Cossie was an absolute revelation. The turbocharged Cosworth engine fed its power to the rear wheels via a Mustang gearbox, the suspension was based on Andy Rouse’s race car and the body kit and spoiler were there for their aerodynamic performance and to hell with the aesthetics.
Ford needed to build 5,000 for Group A homologation, a figure the dealer network estimated was about three times the number it could actually sell.
They couldn’t have been more wrong. Ford ended up building more than 5,500 plus even more of the later, Sapphire four-door version. Instantly recognisable, the Sierra RS Cosworth was a bona fide legend from day one and a worthy successor to the Lotus Cortina.
Our latest auction offers a unique opportunity to acquire an exceptionally rare and immaculate 1985, C-Plate, pre-production, ‘matching numbers’ Ford Sierra RS Cosworth, complete with a fascinating history and comprehensive written reports confirming its provenance as one of the Ford works “HVW” cars. The “HVW” registration suffix was used on the run of early Sierra RS Cosworths built in 1985.
As a genuine UK-registered, three-door example its status as part of the 4P – ‘Pre-Production Prove Out Programme’ – has been confirmed by Gordon Prout and Geoff Fox, members of the original Ford Special Vehicle Engineering Team (SVE) responsible for developing the Sierra RS Cosworth.
The differences are small but important, and the more significant ones include the fact that there is no rear window washer, the lid for the fuse box is black rather than white, there is no first-aid box, two types of radio balance controls are fitted and there is a brace between the engine and gearbox to reduce vibration.
Gordon also confirmed that C357 HVW was almost certainly one of the original British magazine press cars, and the star of the Ford ‘Cars Of The Future’ TV advert, seen in the final dramatic scene speeding across a beach. The advert can still be found on YouTube.
In addition to provenance from the SVE members, the car has also been verified latterly by leading authorities on all things RS and by the RS Owners Club and there are detailed reports available on request including confirmation from the original Ford build-sheets and production schedule from 1985.
This schedule confirms that C357 HVW was built on 21st November 1985, approximately nine months before the official production run started. Just 10 ‘4P’ right-hand-drive cars are thought to have been built, with another five being built with left-hand-drive. Of the 10 RHD cars, it is relatively well known that 7 of these original ‘HVW’ cars were white and used to create the1985 Securicor Rally Series, for promotional purposes. The remaining 3 cars were left as road cars – and of these 3, this was the only Moonstone car and the only one known to still exist. (Note, Ford aficionados may correct those who say “Moonstone Blue”…it’s just “Moonstone”!)
Exported to New Zealand in 1994 when its British owner emigrated and couldn’t bear to leave it behind, it had approximately 40,000 miles on the odometer. By 1999 it had travelled just an additional 7,000 miles before becoming the proud possession of Paul Mortimer, a well known Ford Dealership owner in NZ. Paul added approximately 15,000 miles in his decade of ownership and the car was fastidiously looked after by Lodge Auto Centre in Hastings, the leading NZ Cosworth specialists.
In early 2009 Jason MacRae purchased the car in Auckland, with approximately 62,000 miles on the odometer. Jason would describe himself as a slightly obsessive RS enthusiast and perfectionist who cossetted the car and, during his 6 years of ownership, “took an already very good, standard car and made it perfect”.
In 2015, the current owner, Tim, a Yorkshireman, living in Sydney, saw the car for sale in Auckland and couldn’t resist making the trip to see the star of his childhood bedroom posters. He recently told us that “I hoped it was a dog, so I didn’t feel the need to buy it and make my life even more complicated by owning cars in Yorkshire, Sydney and New Zealand!”; he went on to say “but it was simply perfect, hiding away in Auckland and I had no choice but to do the right thing, bring it back to it’s spiritual home in the UK and reunite it with it’s historically important registration plate”
Safely back in the UK since 2016, the car has been stored in a climate-controlled classic car facility, with a regular start-up and roll schedule and also used by the owner for tours of up to 1,000 miles per week during trips back to the UK.
Still only showing 68,000 miles, and with his life increasingly Sydney-based full time, he’s now concluded that it’s too good to store and is keen to find a new owner who will continue to lavish love on it in the coming years – and preferably someone who will actually drive it as Ford intended. Despite having owned a Caterham 7, 996 GT3, Renault Alpine and other hero cars, he says of the Cosworth “it’s more enjoyable to drive than anything else I’ve ever driven; just the perfect blend of power, grip and handling and you can’t help but feel like a BTCC hero from the 1980’s”.
On the Outside
The subject of an extensive bodywork refurbishment in 2014, the Moonstone paintwork is in a staggeringly good condition. With tight and even shutlines, dent and ripple-free panels, and an amazing sheen to the paintwork, it is every bit as good now as it was back in 1985.
And we really do mean it is every bit as good because even the lights, mouldings, door and window seals (the latter of which set the previous owner back around £400 per window…) have been replaced with new/old OE stock wherever possible. The windows even have the original period acid-etched C357 HVW as was the habit back then for security purposes.
Please see the printed summary of what has been replaced, along with details of the brand and origin; the sum of the bills is somewhat eye-watering and comforting to know that someone else paid them.
The original alloy wheels are in a very good condition, complete with rare locks and are shod with nearly new, correct size Toyo Proxes tyres and the spare wears an original Dunlop D40.
As we will never tire of explaining, our experience shows that matching high-quality tyres are an infallible sign of a caring and mechanically sympathetic owner who is prepared to spend the appropriate amount in maintaining their car properly. Their presence does not, of course, preclude the need for a thorough inspection - something the vendor would welcome, by the way – but it does perhaps give you a shortcut into their attitude towards maintenance.
Work to do? Well, while the alloy wheels are free of damage and in good condition, a perfectionist would see they are slightly discolored, so we can see that the new owner might like to have them professionally refurbished to bring them up to the same exceptional standard as the rest of the vehicle.
On the Inside
The front seats were stripped down in 2012 and rebuilt with new foam but reusing the original seat covers. That Jason went to these lengths goes to the very heart of this car’s appeal; careful to preserve its originality wherever possible, he nonetheless ensured that it was as good as he could possibly make it without compromising its underlying integrity.
A new headlining was fitted in 2009 and the dashboard is free of the usual cracks - even the rear parcel shelf hasn’t sagged or broken. The original three-spoke steering wheel is present and correct, as is the OE Ford-branded radio/cassette player and separate audio control panel.
Apart from an aerial that won’t retract after turning the radio on, everything works as it should too, but then you’d guessed that already, hadn’t you? Hell, it’s even still got the original Ford dealer sticker in the rear window.
The boot carpet and trim are very good and the spare wheel is a matching alloy. Even more importantly, lifting the mats shows only an original, solid, rust-free floor.
So, while we could go through every major component and tell you how good they all are, why not feast your eyes on in glorious technicolour?
Or, even better, why not make an appointment to come and see it in person? We promise you won’t be disappointed.
The engine was rebuilt at 50,000 miles while the car was in New Zealand. The work was clearly done to a very high standard as around $7,000-worth of parts were used, including for example a Group A head gasket and Cosworth parts. The parts were supplied by Lodge in Hastings. While the engine needed work due to a failed water pump, the owner used the opportunity to have a broader refresh including for example a rebuild of the turbo by Lodge.
Under Jason’s perfectionist ownership, all electrical sensors and hoses were replaced with OEM parts wherever possible. The suspension bushes have been replaced with urethane replacements, and the injectors have been stripped, cleaned and rebuilt.
When Tim brought the car back to the UK, he immediately charged Graham Goode Motors, the world famous RS Specialists with inspecting the car and proposing a no expense spared list of any works he would recommend. In truth, there was little he could recommend however the car enjoyed a full service, including a new cambelt and fresh fluids including, as ever, the very best quality oil.
Its mechanical specification is standard bar a Sapphire turbo heatshield, a larger bore exhaust, and a stainless-steel Bailey water tank (fitted only to preserve the original from discolouration). The original heatshield and tank are available and will be supplied with the car. Running the standard chip and boost pressure, the vendor tells us that it has been ultra-reliable and has run perfectly over the 3,000 or so miles he’s driven it.
We’ve taken it out for a brief test drive and can confirm it drives exactly as it should, which is to say it is very fast and performs every bit as well as its legendary status would have you believe; while some say you should never meet your heroes, we’re very glad to have met this one.
As you can see, the engine bay is immaculate, and the underside is solid and neatly presented.
Please do try and make the time to come and see for yourself just what careful use and storage, an inordinate amount of time, and a considerable sum of money can achieve.
The Sierra’s MOT certificate expires in June 2021 and was gained, of course, without a single advisory.
It also comes with a sheaf of invoices and bills to confirm the work that has been done to it over the years plus a very detailed summary of its life and owners as well as the original owner’s handbook and Ford Sierra RS Cosworth supplement.
Please visit the documents section of the gallery of this listing where you will find photos of this and other paperwork to support our claim that this car has been maintained and refurbished to an impeccable standard.
If you’d like to inspect the car prior to placing a bid – something we would encourage – then please use the Contact Seller button to arrange an appointment.
And please be reassured, we’ve undertaken a full COVID-assessment and put into place strict control measure to enable us to safely facilitate a no-contact, socially distanced viewing that includes disinfection of the vehicle before and after your viewing.
However, if you’d rather not come to see the car in person, please give us a call and we can shoot a personal video of the car honing in on any areas you’d like us to concentrate on.
Or, even better, why not contact us with your mobile number and we can set up a WhatsApp video call? You get to direct us in real-time, giving you a virtual personal viewing experience while maintaining the lockdown. We like to call it ‘The Market’s 2020 Vision’…
What We Think
One for the enthusiast and collector looking for a genuine Sierra RS Cosworth for high days and dry days, this one’s status as a pre-production car adds yet another layer of interest to an already very attractive car.
With an estimate of somewhere between £39,000 and £59,000, we wouldn’t be surprised to find it sells for even more; almost unique in both its condition and provenance, we simply don’t think an opportunity like this will arise in the foreseeable future.
So, if you’ve ever considered buying an early, three-door Sierra RS Cosworth please do get in touch and make an appointment to come and see it for yourself; all we would ask is that you set aside plenty of time because there’s an awful lot to admire…
Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car and AnyVan for transporting it.
BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.
Also, localized paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.
Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.
Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.
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