First ever Sierra Cosworth RS500 up for grabs!

1987 Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth chassis number one is to be sold by Silverstone Auctions on May 19 at Silverstone Circuit

The very first Sierra RS500 Cosworth to be built, and the only pre-production model to be exclusively constructed by Ford, is due to sell later this month with Silverstone Auctions on Saturday 19 May at Silverstone Circuit.

Assembled in 1987, this Sierra was the first of just four pre-production vehicles crafted as original testbed vehicles before the final sign-off for the RS500 Cosworth could be agreed. Confirmed as chassis number one by RS500 specialist Paul Linfoot, this ‘Holy Grail’ Ford has appropriately been given a pre-sale estimate of between £90,000 and £120,000. We would wager it may go far higher than that...

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The Sierra Cosworth came into existence during the early 1980s thanks to Ford’s desire to re-gain their competitive edge in motorsport. It was decided to marry a turbocharged 2-litre Cosworth engine and the Sierra saloon to the tune of 15,000 units. The RS500 came along in 1987, with a stronger, more powerful engine and redesigned front and rear spoilers.

After Ford had produced RS500 Cosworth chassis number one, a further 499 examples were converted by Aston Martin at Tickford. Amongst the modifications made were numerous aerodynamic enhancements – including a 30mm lip spoiler added to the tailgate for increased downforce, a front splitter, an engine intercooler and larger cooling ducts for the brakes. Were an order to come in for a full-race mode RS500 Cosworth, it was entirely possible for a Sierra with over 400bhp to be manufactured.

All RS500 Cosworths were sold through nominated RS specialist dealers, of which there were ninety within the UK.In turn, this radically increased Sierra sales on forecourts with extremely good cause.

With its enormous whale tail and a 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds, the ‘jelly mould’ Ford saloon that had suffered slow sales since launch in 1982, finally had the look and credentials in RS500 Cosworth specification to make it an icon. The result? You and your 224bhp being eyed up as serious competition when you pulled up at the lights alongside the likes of a Porsche 911 or BMW M3.

The RS500 Cosworth was certainly no slouch and if anyone dared doubt that, you merely had to mutter something about the 1988 British Touring Car Championship race. In an epic battle, Andy Rouse and Steve Soper had been at loggerheads all round Brands Hatch in their respective RS500 British Touring Cars – your point was well and truly made. Chances are Lord Mercedes and Sir BMW would have bought you a pint. After all, the RS500 Cosworth had been built to conform to the eligibility regulations of ‘Group A’ International Touring Car Racing.

To kick-start this impressive production run, Ford had tested chassis number one beyond breaking point. Chassis One was so abused that Ford had to re-shell the vehicle not long after before selling it on to its first owner in March 1987. Over the next two decades, chassis number one would pass through the hands of five further owners before being exported to Norway in 2007 where it then spent a decade calling the Scandinavian Peninsula home.

In February this year, this legendary fast Ford returned to the UK where it is now up for sale.

AutoClassics say...

With all its unique RS500 parts – including the front bumper, low splitters and that iconic bi-plane rear spoiler – all still present and correct, this makes for a tantalising auction lot.

Factor in the RS500 pinstripe, the commemorative badges and the fact that this vehicle has starred in various publications several times and it becomes a prospect even harder to resist.

It is worth noting that the top section of the dashboard and exhaust have recently been replaced with a stainless steel Magnex system but otherwise this car remains primarily original. The car’s comprehensive history file, MoT certificates, early tax discs, registration information and details of the previous owners are all included in this RS500’s sale as is a report by leading marque expert Paul Linfoot.

Speaking on this one-of-a-kind Sierra RS500 Cosworth, managing director of Silverstone Auctions Nick Whale said: ‘It’s chassis number one, the first Sierra Cosworth RS500 ever built! This car is truly a one-off, and for any serious Ford collector, this must be the car to have – the one that started it all.

'Recently we have seen a growing interest in fast Fords, and the prices have risen to record-busting levels. I can't recall there ever being a Ford prototype coming to auction, and I can't see this happening again. This is a very special and rare RS500 that presents very well and is a car that can be driven, enjoyed and is a great addition to any collection.’

See more on the first-ever Sierra RS500 Cosworth on the Silverstone Auctions website.

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