Ford Sierra. Like yesterday

Ford Sierra. Like yesterday

It was November 1982. We cycled to school in a group, and I rode next to Jan. I told him that my parents were saying goodbye to the Citroën gsx. His place was taken by a brand new Ford Escort. Jan thought the idea that we were going to drive such a car was a real shame. I didn't understand it. The Escort was very popular and was widely praised, especially thanks to its design. Before I could comment, Jan recovered. He mixed up two cars. Because the car he had to get used to was the brand new Ford Sierra.

The Ford Sierra was Ford's new mid-range asset, designed by Uwe Bahnsen. It was to replace the conventional Cortina and Taunus models. The Cortina was already passé in the Netherlands and Belgium, the TC3 Taunus had been driving around with us since the end of 1979. The stout and so familiar looking mid-range Ford had a wide following. So Ford put a lot on the line by coming up with a completely different Sierra. That was an extremely modern and aerodynamically designed liftback that did away with the shapes of the so familiar-looking Taunus, which I think could stay on the program for a while next to the Sierra. But Ford chose not to. The Sierra was something new, especially in the optical sense. And the middle class public - and certainly the loyal Taunus drivers - should get used to that. Had the Taunus stayed on the program for a few more years, it would have kept the necessary buyers away from the beautifully designed Sierra.

That was not so strange. The middle class often consisted of sedans with the classic three-box configuration. Yes, there were manufacturers who then had a liftback version on the program. In that sense, a fifth door was not new in this class either. But a middle-class model without a classic sedan and with a slippery new design, that was something else. And that mass manufacturer Ford dared to set the tone within the middle class, that was a sign of guts.

I thought the Sierra was beautiful, that's how I drew cars myself. The shapes of the spacious Sierra were futuristic music that could be heard in the present. In terms of chassis, the case was also modified, the rear wheels were independently suspended on slanted wishbones, which in turn were attached to a subframe. The front wheel suspension was constructed according to the MacPherson principle. From a motor point of view, the vast majority of the music had been tested and played regularly. The range initially ranged from the 1.3 OHC Pinto engine up to and including the 2.3 V6. The engines could be ordered depending on the market and equipment.

Simply put, the program started with the bare-bones 1.3 Custom (with a grille that was not painted in the body colour) and initially ended with the endearing 2.3 V6 Ghia. And there were many combination options. For diesel engines, Ford made the 2.3D engine available from the start, and in 1983 the XR4i with the masterly 2,8 V6 Kóln engine came on the menu, which was also the year that the three-door version came on the market. In December 1982, Ford had already presented the Sierra Turnier.

The Sierra was on, but didn't catch on right away. get used to it, Ford must have thought. And the public took the time to get used to the Sierra. Ford was confident. It continued to develop the Sierra and after a few years took the 1.3, 2.0 V6 and 2.3 V6 from the program. Ford introduced more modern engines (1.8 and 2.0i) and released some very nice versions (RS Cosworth, XR 4 x 4). The facelift followed in January 1987 (with, for example, a different front and an enlarged glass surface), and the sedan also returned within Ford's middle class, because there was now also a Sierra with a classic trunk. Also technically, Ford kept up to date, and brought the Sierra effortlessly appealing sales figures. This was also maintained for a few years after the second facelift in 1990. In 1993, the Sierra finally gave way to world car mondeo.

In 1984 that was still a thing of the future. Back then the Sierra was still young and not everyone was around yet. Far from. Still, the Sierra fell into favor more often. The first shock was over. The modern lines were absorbed by the public who nevertheless lacked a Ford sedan in this class. My father was not bothered by this, he was immediately impressed by the modern, almost avant-garde Sierra shapes. In 1984 he changed jobs, which meant that for a while he had to travel 220 kilometers in a day for his commute. Working from home? So no mortal had heard of it. For cost reasons, petrol had to make way for diesel or LPG. My father came across a gas-powered Ford Sierra 2.0, and my parents were close to buying the young white Sierra. There was too big a gap between asking and trade-in price, although the Ford was already quite in the miles. It didn't work out, and I was pretty pissed.

I told it to school friend Jan. He thought it was a pity for me that my parents did not agree in the end. Because Jan was over, he now also found the Sierra to be a car with remarkably modern lines. “I've come to like him,” he said. It's all still with me. Just like the introduction of the Ford Sierra. That will be forty years ago, but it feels like yesterday. And that certainly has to do with its shapes, which rocked the middle-class world during the autumn of 1982. And left an impression on me.

The photos published are all of Sierra's first-generation variants

Ford Sierra. Like yesterday
Sought after Sierra Mk1. The L version.
Ford Sierra. Like yesterday
Of course, Ford also released a Turnier version of the Sierra. That happened in December 1982. A beautiful station.
Ford Sierra. Like yesterday
In August 1983, Ford expanded the Sierra range with this three-door version
Ford Sierra. Like yesterday
Extremely attractive rear. This is a publication photo of the GL from the early years, an attractively dressed version
Ford Sierra. Like yesterday
Very fine and refined. The XR4i with 2.8 V6 engine
Ford Sierra. Like yesterday
The Ford Sierra RS Cosworth came in 1985, with a 2 liter engine with four valves per cylinder


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  1. I can still remember the first Sierra I saw: a blue 1.6 GL and a little further on I saw a beige 2.3 Ghia on the same day. In Zwolle. The fact that I remember it that way shows that as a 16-year-old I was particularly impressed by the model. And now when I look at the photos accompanying the article, I still think it is a model that does not look outdated. Uwe Bahnsen has made many successful designs for Ford.

  2. In 1983 my father bought a Sierra 4-door 1,6L. I myself drove the Taunus 1.6L.
    The design was very modern and progressive at the time, but I was not charmed by the cheap hard plastic construction and especially the very weak chassis of the Sierra compared to its predecessor the Taunus.
    On cobblestone roads you could feel the doors and the entire middle section moving and if you dared to open a door of the car while replacing a front wheel, you couldn't possibly close the door again. Given the body quality, they were certainly not storage cars, they are quite rare now.
    The first series shown is also a lot nicer than its successor with the larger windows and ugly trunk and new headlights. Unfortunately, the XR4 also had to replace the beautiful Capri.
    Comparing the Taunus to the Sierra, the difference felt a bit like a Volvo with a duck.

    • I agree with the slack chassis.
      Once had a 4 year old Sierra in the workshop (series 1) where a Golf 1 was diving in the back..
      Despite the minor damage to the Golf (slightly crumbled chrome bumper), the Sierra's doors no longer opened and closed properly, the rear doors did not open at all, by the way.
      That was my moment when I decided - never - to buy a Sierra.

  3. Tastes do differ. From the first time I saw a Sierra, at Schiphol I believe
    it did to me the same thing a shark does in a beach town. I can't remember ever seeing them here, in 1986 we get the Taurus here. The jelly bean look. They aged like Milk.
    For a very short period a Merkur was available here, they turned out to be unsaleable. too expensive and too strange. The Toyota Camry was already throwing a spanner in the works in the US at the time, and was also very successful in Canada. That has more or less remained the case until now. The latest Camry is insanely popular, you trip over it. Last year, nearly 320.000 Camry's were sold in the US.
    11.000 have been sold in Canada. 12.000 Tesla 3 series sold here last year.
    Greetings from a sunny YVR

  4. Gosh… where have they gone? The Sierra has never been an upgraded TC, only some of the powertrains came with it. In fact, the first 2.0, the old RS-2000 ohc with double Weber and 100 to 110 hp, was a fast cart, even the national police knew what to do with it. Handling problems due to aerodynamics were solved with spoilers. The 2.3D Peugeot was too slow to be, but across the board economical and a nice travel car. The later 2.0L Dohc was less reliable, but 25hp stronger. The later 1.8td was developed together with Deutz.

  5. From a GS to a BX seems to me a more obvious route 😉 .

    In my memory, the ordinary Sierra was modern in terms of body and plastic application, but still a Taunus in terms of technology and driving characteristics. Only with the Mondeo was this issue resolved.

  6. Indeed a revolutionary new model for the sometimes surprisingly innovative but also often conventional Blue Oval. The Ghia versions with their closed grill, wide headlights and fog lamps a la 924/944 in the bumper could always receive my approval, but the early simpler versions with slatted grill and small lamps were too poor in my eyes. Plus, Audi released the C3 100 in exactly the same time frame, which was completely slippery in design. I had (much) later a two-liter Laser as an intermediate car (I was waiting for my lease Astra) in 1995…. that Pintomotor had more than enough power to push the Sierra to highly illegal speeds and the dead straight A13 near my house was a fine drag strip from time to time.

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