Ford Sierra RS Cosworth | The Most Iconic Fast Ford?

27th Feb 2024

By Kenny Longdon

Ford Sierra RS Cosworth

Launched at the 1985 Geneva Motor Show, with models first appearing on UK roads in 1986, the Ford Sierra RS Cosworth caused quite a stir, in a good way of course.

The standard Ford Sierra came along a few years before and didn't really sell amazingly well, so what better way to add some serious spice to the range than adding an all singing, all dancing whale tail (more on that later) monster to proceedings.

In this article, we have a look at this infamous fast Ford in more detail, and see if it is indeed the most iconic of all time.

Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday

Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 Racing Car

This phrase is synonymous with racing from the 1960s, through to the to 1990s, and it's still pretty relevant today.

The fact you could watch a racing car on a Sunday and go and buy a road car pretty similar to it from a dealership on Monday was always going to be popular, and Ford definitely thought of this with the introduction of the Sierra Cosworth.

The Sierra RS Cosworth was literally born because of a chap called Stuart Turner, who was appointed as the boss of Ford Motorsport, and he wanted to build a car that would be on top of the podium in Group A racing.

After approaching Cosworth for the engine - a 16-valve twin-cam version of the famous Ford Pinto engine, albeit with a turbo added for extra spice, the 'bland' Sierra was chosen as a base and the rest was history.

For the mid '80s, the 'Cossie' could do 0 to 62mph in just 6.2 seconds, thanks to its 4-cylinder, 2.0-litre turbocharged engine pushing out 204bhp, and capable of 149mph. This was in the realm of exotics at the time, so of course, became popular in an instant.

The Iconic Whale Tail Spoiler

Ford Sierra RS Cosworth

The Sierra's hatchback body was a bit poor when it came to aerodynamic lift, and so if it was to be a success in racing, it needed some special aero - a huge wing was the answer.

It was the 1980s and excess was very much in fashion, so when Ford decided to stick an outlandishly large spoiler to the back of the Sierra Cosworth, it was always going to cause a stir.

Whale Tail was predominantly a term used for the iconic Porsche 911 Turbo and its huge wing, but Porsches were for the wealthy, the Sierra could be bought by the working class.

With the 'cossie' costing just under £16,000 upon launch, a 911 Turbo was around £50,000. Of course, the Porsche was faster, but the Cossie proved it could compete with the 'big boys', which to your humble petrolhead, was temptingly not out of reach.

The Ford Sierra Cosworth RS 500

Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500

With racing still a huge part of Ford Motorsport, and the team wanting to keep the 'Cossie' competitive, Group A racing allowed enhanced modifications to be made to the race cars, if 500 road cars were built for the public.

So, just like the original Cosworth, built for homologation purposes, the RS 500 followed suit with 500 built.

Enhancements included adding another wing to the wale-tail set up, and a bigger turbo, pushing up power from 204bhp to 224bhp, although over 500bhp was easily achievable in the racing version.

With the birth of the RS 500, race wins on track came easy with wins in DTM (German Touring Cars), Spa 24 Hours, BTCC (British Touring Cars) and beyond.

Today, it's by far the most sought after version. 

The Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth

Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth

Again, born out of the will to go racing, a four-wheel drive Cosworth was born in 1988, to make Ford competitive in the World Rally Championship.

Unlike the original 1986 Sierra Cosworth, and the 1987 'holy grail' RS 500, the Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth 4x4 was a more subtle 4-door affair, which came along with the Sierra's facelift.

It didn't do too badly at rallying, but it wasn't as successful as the track RS 500. It did, however, form the foundations for the more successful Ford rally car, which was the Escort Cosworth, which came along in 1992.

Furthermore, it may not have the iconic whale tail, but it's still very a much loved 'Cossie' and more usable thanks to its all-wheel drive, four-door set-up.

Cosworth Values Today

Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 and Ford RS200 Police Car

Today, The RS500 is the most sough after Cosworth, with a 1987 version with just 5,192 miles on the clock selling for a world record £596,250 at Silverstone Auctions (now renamed Iconic Auctioneers) in February 2023.

Of course, in time-capsule condition, it was always going to be expensive, but with a guide of around £150,00O it certainly smashed its estimate, and shocked the car world as at nearly £600,000, there are plenty of exotic supercars you could have instead.

At the time of writing, it's the Sapphire Cosworth models which are the most affordable, costing circa £30,000. The original RS Cosworths tend to fetch around the circa £60,000 mark, although low mile, concours cars can fetch well in excess of this.

RS 500 examples tend to be easily six-figure cars, mainly thanks to the record-breaking version sold in February 2023.

Fast Fords will always be sought after. Cars like the Ford Focus RS, especially the Mk2 RS500 guise, have shown more modern versions are taking after their RS predecessors.

With a rich racing history, and fetching over half a million pounds, the Ford Sierra Cosworth, especially in RS500 guise, just might well be the most iconic Fast Ford ever. It's certainly one of them, that's for sure.

The above image shows a cool press photo from Ford of an RS500 being pulled over by another iconic fast Ford in the form of an RS200 Police car.

Find your perfect Fast Ford with Evans Halshaw

The Ford Sierra RS Cosworth is undoubtedly a legend, and although we are unlikely to sell this model in our used stock, we have plenty of other cool fast Fords available.

Check out our Ford Performance new car stock for the latest offers, or search are used Ford section at your leisure.

Alternatively, if you enjoyed this article, why not check out more like it in our dedicated blog section.