Ford Heaven: A 1988 Sierra Sapphire


Ford Heaven

Mark Fenech's 1988 Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth is one of eight in his garage.​

Mark has got to be Sydney's biggest Ford car buff! He's got a crazy garage full of a bunch of small Ford's, but there's no doubt that Mark's 1988 Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth is a stand out beauty! This highly collectable Ford in the rare colour of Crystal Blue drew Mark in and he couldn't resist adding it to the collection.


12 years ago, while keen to start up a new project, Chris stumbled upon a shell of a 1980 Ford Escort Mk2 RS2000 at a local car wrecking yard while a mate was looking for some parts. Being the Ford fanatic he is, the RS2000 seemed like a no-brainer to work on.

From what Chris knows, the car had been through quite a few owners, all who modified the RS2000 at some point. The last known owner tried to sell the car but was unable to get his asking price, so he split it up and sold in as parts, dumping the shell at the wreckers.

Since purchasing, the RS2000 has undergone a full body restoration. Chris has added a new motor, suspension, interior, wheels and tyres.  He's ramped up the engine with a PL30 Kent Cam, oversized valves, a Ford Motorsport inlet manifold, Alloy adjustable cam pulley, alloy accessory pulley and a .040 rebore. The RS2000 features a four-speed manual transmission.

Other mechanical attributes like the pinto engine and rear leaf spring suspension can be a bit old-fashioned even when the cars were new, but they are efficient, lightweight and fun to drive!

Jaw dropping and gorgeous in every respect, this RS2000 finished in Monza Blue, amazes perfection seeking connoisseurs, like Chris. From the front wings to the black coachline below the swage line trimmed slightly short of all the panel gaps, this car is definitely a unique one.


The Ford Sierra Cosworth, otherwise known as the 'Cossie' defined the 1980s and the teens who lusted after them. Now those youths have grown up, and the prices of the 'Cossie' have matured alongside them, the best ones today are worth just as much as - or sometimes even more than - contemporary Ferraris.

In 1983, Stuart Turner, Ford's new motoring boss, realised that the Ford was no longer competitive in touring car racing. He suggested mating an experimental Cosworth 16-valve engine with a turbocharger and inserting it into a three-door Sierra shell. The RS Cosworth's first debut was in 1985.

In 1988, the Sierra got the Sapphire treatment. The car changed to have more of a subtle looking four-door styling and while still not cheap, represents the best value today. Well-preserved Sapphires are going up in value, even since Mark bought his over 2 years ago.

Finding an un-molested car like this is a challenge, and because of dubious rust proofing out there, finding one in a condition similar to Mark's is hard. RWD Sapphires are now also uncommon.


Dick Johnson's racing team gave the Ford Sierra's their name in 1988/1989 at the Australian Touring Car Championship. He dominated both years alongside his team mate John Bowe who finished first and second place. The Sierra's took the top three in the championship in both years.

In 1988, Dick Johnson and his team also took the step of homologating a modified Ford nine-inch axle for the Sierra. Meaning its weak drivetrain, one of the cars biggest weaknesses, was eliminated which allowed the car to be driven harder with less fear of failure. This was also seen as essential in Australia which used standing starts compared to the rolling starts used in Europe.

The Ford Sierra Sapphire is the driver's car. Many experienced Ford driver consider the 4-door Sierra to be the best of the lot… This is a big call considering the 2-door is an iconic unit.

Considering this one is an Australian iconic race car, the drive is remarkably smooth, strong and responsive that to the high-performance engine.

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