Show-winning finish, never welded, impeccable history – but this modified Sierra RS Cosworth is no trailer queen. It’s been driven hard its entire life.

Cosworth enthusiasts are walking on air these days. Well, the ones who actually own Cosworths, anyway. The original blue collar supercar, the road-racer for the everyman, the OG, the GOAT… the whole point of this car was to provide ridiculous performance at a not-ridiculous price point; sure, its real purpose on paper was to homologate the Sierra for Group A competition, and of course that’s a role it fulfilled with alacrity, but there’s something owners recall with just as much misty-eyed fondness as all that motorsport prowess, and that’s the fact that ordinary people could wander into a Ford showroom, slap down a wad of twenties and drive home in something unbelievably fast with ultra tuning ability.

For a time, it was one of the most stolen cars in the UK, and they became increasingly difficult to insure because they made outstanding getaway cars. The police couldn’t keep up. Urban legends abounded about drivers setting lap times around the M25 in the wee small hours.

And yet, in the 2020s, the notion of affordability has gone right out of the window. Thanks to all of these enduring myths and legends, and the Sierra RS Cosworth’s indelible and ineradicable halo, these cars are selling for very silly money indeed. The type of telephone numbers that make owners mothball the cars in heated and dehumidified garages, keeping them away from prying eyes and caustic elements, safe in the knowledge that one day that’ll be their retirement fund amply taken care of.

modified Sierra RS Cosworth spoiler

Driving the Sierra RS Cosworth how it was meant to be driven

Some owners, however, remain true to the cause of what these glorious machines were built for: grabbing by the scruff of the neck and giving a thorough drubbing on every available occasion. People like Jamie Price, who love nothing more than to get their big-power Cossies sideways and cause a bit of a fracas. And what Jamie’s doing here is continuing the hedonistic enthusiasms of David Parr, this particular car’s only previous owner, who was especially keen on the idea of giving the Sierra a really hard time. Because that, fundamentally, is what they’re all about.

front on shot of modified Sierra RS Cosworth

Jamie’s car obsession

Now, regular readers of Fast Ford may well recognise Jamie a few months back, when the team ran a feature on his daily driver – a Ranger which he’s converted to Raptor spec and fitted with a 3UZ V8 motor from a Lexus, of all things. This is a man with high-octane fuel very much coursing through his veins. He’s always had Cosworths, along with a bunch of big-power Japanese cars in the mix including the 900bhp Mk4 Toyota Supra he’s got right now – and he’s in the process of swapping a Honda K24 into an Escort Cosworth, which should ruffle a few feathers.

modified Sierra RS Cosworth interior

Modified Sierra RS Cosworth history

The Diamond White hooligan that’s skidding about for Ade’s hungry lens today has been in Jamie’s possession for a couple of years or so now. “I previously had a black 3-door Cossie for a while, but I really wanted a white one,” he explains. “So I put some wanted adverts up on the Cosworth Facebook pages, and a guy called David Parr messaged me – and when I found out that he had owned this car from brand new, well, I just had to have it.”

A one-owner example is a rare enough find in itself, but there was an additional dimension here to consider. You see, David wasn’t the typical Cosworth owner (if, indeed, there was such a thing). Having started out using it as his daily driver in 1987 – because, impressively, this was his company car – he decided to keep it for himself when the time came to trade up to a newer model, and from 1992 he started using it in sprints and hillclimbs. David had form here, as he’d previously built up a lot of experience in motorsport; he’d started things off with a 105E Anglia in the 1960s before moving up to a Diva GT 10F (a super-obscure machine with a fibreglass body and spaceframe chassis) in 1970; Divas generally ran small-displacement Ford crossflows, although David fitted his with the twin-cam from a Lotus Cortina.

That was followed by a bunch of Escorts, one of which had a 260bhp Cosworth BDG motor and won him a lot of silverware; that engine later got swapped into a Davrian, which again helped him to win championships.

BBS wheels

Road legal

So the Sierra acted as a natural progression for David, and while he was adamant about keeping it in road-legal trim, he was also keenly aware of how to sharpen up the edges and extract all the performance it had to offer. Taking the car to Andy Fisher at Woodyard Garage in Redditch, the venerable YB motor was torn down and built back up with a 200 block, uprated internals, T38 turbo and hot cams; the result was a brutal 380bhp, which was subsequently dialled down to a ‘sensible’ 345bhp (it’s all relative) to make it less lairy and more manageable on the road – because this was never a trailer queen, David was proud to drive it to and from every event.

YB engine in modified Sierra RS Cosworth

Rallying success

In the early days, he enjoyed an incredible amount of success, regularly claiming scalps from the likes of Porsche 911s and Morgan Plus 8s. But the rally boys inevitably shook things up in time, and as more and more all-wheel-drive cars such as the Mitsubishi Evo and Subaru Impreza started shuffling the Sierra down the order, so David decided that it was time to return to his roots and get himself another 105E Anglia – a feisty 1700 screamer which, naturally, was also fettled by Andy Fisher. And it’s with these shifting seasons of life that, after so many years of enthusiastic use in single-ownership, Jamie found himself able to buy David’s iconic and legendary Cosworth.

“The car has won over 150 trophies in sprints and hillclimbs with David at the wheel,” says Jamie. “He is in his 80s now and he’s a lovely guy – he can really drive, he’s still competing in the 105E, and he scared the life out of me when we test-drove the Sierra!”

Recaro bucket seats

Finishing touches for the modified Sierra RS Cosworth

There was a gentle touch that needed to be taken here. The modified Sierra RS Cosworth has such heritage and such history that it deserves to be preserved – and, of course, it deserves to be driven hard and often, because that’s what David always did. But at the same time, as the car’s new curator and the one to guide it through the next chapter of its existence, it was important to Jamie that he put his own stamp on it and really make it his own.

“It looked fairly stock when I got it, aside from a few decals,” he says. “I put the RS500 bodykit on, and changed the seats to a set of Recaros I had lying around from a past project. And the engine’s had a bit of refresh too: Andy Fisher built it a long time ago, 23 years ago now, and it’s still going strong. I’ve recently had Mark Shead of MADevelopments install an Emtron ECU and a new loom, along with a coil pack conversion, modern injectors and so on. It drives so nicely now, it’s at 2.3-bar boost and really good fun to drive. I also installed an RS500 intercooler and a new radiator. According to MAD it’s making around 400-420bhp.”

rear 3/4 shot of modified Sierra RS Cosworth


All of this adds up to something thoroughly impressive, and its faultless spick-and-span appearance is the perfect trick to fool the casual passer-by into thinking that it’s some manner of static showpiece, rather than the hard-driven brawler it really is. Jamie’s fitted a set of BBS centre-locks to heighten the maximum-attack aesthetic, and that really is the way he drives it. Balls-to-the-wall, just as it ought to be. “The car is in amazing condition for its age, really,” he muses. “David did a great job of looking after it, it’s never been welded and the only paint it’s ever had was me doing the RS500 bits. A true survivor car, and the MOT history is astounding, it’s never failed or even had an advisory.”

A rare groove indeed, and that unblotted copybook makes it all the more impressive that the Cossie is still getting driven the way its designers and engineers always intended, all these decades later. But that’s Cossies for you, isn’t it? It’s not just a machine, it’s a feeling. “I love this car,” Jamie beams. “I’m turning 50 this year, and this car reminds me of being in my early 20s when I had a 3-door. Good times.”

Yes, it’s those two words that perfectly sum up this endlessly impressive car. Good times. That’s what it was made for, and that’s what it has always, always provided. Long may the good times roll.

Photos: Ade Brannan.