History of the 1982 - 1993 Ford Sierra
The Ford Sierra was produced from 1982 to 1993. Styled by Patrick le Quement, it caused shockwaves when launched for being so futuristic in design. Yet underneath, the front-engined, rear-wheel-drive platform was similar to the previous Cortina. A full five seater, Sierras were produced as three-door and five-door hatchbacks, four-door Sapphire saloons, and five-door estates.
The Ford Sierra was not a technologically important car when launched in 1982. But it was a bold new shape, and wasn’t well received at first. Buyers were scared of its jelly-mould appearance and hatchback shape, despite the simple underpinnings and the Probe III concept teaser from 12 months before.
Early cars had a choice of slatted or blank grille, depending on model. In 1987, the Ford Sierra received a restyled bonnet which incorporated the front panel between the lights. The Sapphire saloon was also launched, to lure back saloon customers dissuaded by the Sierra’s hatch.
A final minor facelift in 1991 saw clear indicators and smoked rear lights, with the L and GL becoming LX and GLX. The Sierra continued until 1993, to be replaced by Ford’s world car, the Mondeo.
Ford Sierras ranged from 1.3 to 2.3 litres, spanning four-cylinder and V6 engines in petrol and diesel form. The 1.3-litre petrol is shared with the Capri, Escort, and was still in use in the MK1 Ford Ka until the turn of the millennium. The 1.6 and 2.0 units are Ford’s Pinto, while the 2.3 is a Cologne V6 variant shared with the Granada. Later cars used a 1.8 CVH. 2.0 Sierras were available with optional fuel injection; all others used carburettors. Early diesels used a 2.3-litre Peugeot engine, while later ones used Ford’s 1.8 Endura from the Escort. All used four- and five-speed manuals, with optional three-speed automatics.
Ford Sierras aren’t particularly special to drive, but they do the job effectively and predictably. With a range of willing engines, light steering and plenty of space, it’s a comfortable long-distance classic – the V6 and 2.0 are considered the best to drive with the 2.0 returning better mpg than the 2.3. Everything mechanical is shared with other classic Fords, so you needn’t worry about parts supply – Escorts and Granadas can often yield parts. Ford specialists can supply not only service parts but pretty much any remanufactured item you might need. When working on a Ford Sierra, there’s little to worry about – simple, robust mechanicals make them easy to repair.
Body and trim parts are more likely to be found from sources within the Sierra enthusiast community, or from people who have broken Sierras as donors for kit car projects.
Ford Sierras are known for rusting – primarily in the lower half of the body. Check the sills, door bottoms, boot floor and valances for corrosion. New panels are not available, but rust can be repaired unless advanced.
Early Ford Sierras are the most desirable – particularly base model and Ghia spec cars, and anything with a 2.3-litre V6. Facelifted cars and Sapphires are less popular, unless the rare and well-equipped 2000E. 1.6Ls, GLs and 2.0GLs should be plentiful, as should LX and GLX models, but these aren’t especially desirable unless in excellent condition with low mileage. Original cars are always more desirable than modified examples.
For a similar car from the Ford stable, try the larger Mk3 Granada range. Competitors for the Ford Sierra from other manufacturers include the Vauxhall Cavalier, Austin Montego and Mazda 626.