What makes a successful product? Broad ranging appeal. You want to appeal to the largest percentage of the population as possible. This applies to anything that is for sale or was once for sale. This month’s ramble will centre around a car that is iconic, a car that embodies a chapter of my life that I look back on very fondly as well as the people I shared it with. This car has a broad ranging appeal as well as being ground breaking. This car set records in many areas but sadly the most documented was how many were stolen. This car brought break horse power out of the aristocratic hands and gave it to everyman. This car was the Sierra Cosworth.
The example I can still picture in such detail was the “Sapphire” Cosworth. This model was the one to have…. None of this four-wheel drive babysitting…. this thing was rear driven, longer than your grandad’s war stories and quick. Really quick! Now I want you all with me while I reminisce about this monster of a machine and by doing this I will hopefully succeed in conveying what I loved about this Cosworth and how it achieved that mystical state of “broad ranging appeal”.
She was Burgundy in colour and on a “G” plate so an 89’ I believe. From the outside she was flawless. She made a young Jane Fonda look scruffy. So few cars get looked after in this way. Axle stands in the winter and thorough warm up’s and down’s in the summer. If cars had a soul this would have been car heaven. Doted on, polished….loved. There was only one external clue to this car’s big secret and it hid in plain sight. Every external and internal detail was original and unmarked. Every gauge, every bulb was how the car was on day one in 1989. But behind those standard wheels with barely a ray of light between them and the inner edge were the hugest set of brakes possible. This was the clue to the party piece. I wonder why a completely standard looking Cosworth needs such big brakes? A stupid question……
The delightful duality this car embodied was exposed when you lifted the bonnet. Chrome and highly buffed stainless steel everywhere. Not a blemish and you could have eaten a carvery off the turbo charger. It was enormous! This coupled to the 200 motorsport block, oversized pistons, upgraded injectors and so on and so on. Now for those who are in the know I don’t need to be crass about the sort of power this car produced, and I won’t. But let’s just say it was not shy. In fact, when the turbo (eventually) spun up on this car it was ridiculous! Clouds of tyre smoke in any of the first four gears and I swear it spent most of its time at 45 degrees producing a grin on the owners face a lottery win wouldn’t have matched. It was weird. I loved how much he loved that car. It was a lovely thing to behold. One man and his pride and joy. There’s something wonderful about that. If there’s nothing or nobody in your life you feel that way about, shouldn’t there be!? Go fix that.
I am pleased to say I was one of the trusted few. I got a turn behind the wheel and in truth I came away 90% in awe but 10% disappointed. I’ll explain. As you climb in you are transported back to the 80’s. Its all so “Michael J Fox”, the dials look basic, the radio is comical, and it feels sparse. Original has its downsides here, but I would not have changed a thing. Its originality was its appeal and that keeps the anti-modifying guys on side. You get the tuners when they see what lies beneath. See, “broad ranging appeal”! I’m not mad! The seats offer little support and it all feels rather tinny. But then you breath in. She smells amazing. Modern cars don’t smell like this. Fuel, polish, leather and TLC. On start up the secret is out as the original doesn’t sound like this. She runs lumpy in a good way, like an old rally car. Low speeds, low throttle she’s a pussy cat just rumbling away like the tenor in a choir nobody notices. However, should you use the throttle pedal at any point all hell breaks loose!
The dump valve sounds like a demented pigeon being cracked with a whip and the roar of the petrol exploding and being transformed in grins is deafening. Still to this day this car would slay most things on the road. The chink in its armour which comes at the cost of the beautiful originality though, is putting that much power down in a car from 1989 doesn’t always work. The transmission for example is light years behind what we have today, all that power lost in wheel spin never wins races.
Of course I am playing Devil’s Advocate here, as its simply not the point. The point is a labour of love that ended up with a beautiful example of an iconic car, where like most of us, the owner got giddy and ended up with bucket loads of power. Nothing more to it and long may it continue!
THE AUTO VIP