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Spotted: a 1983 Ford Sierra 2.3 Ghia

September 29, 2023

The Ford Sierra was introduced in 1982 as the successor to the Taunus. Especially in terms of design, the Sierra was a revolutionary model. At a time when almost all manufacturers offered and introduced angular models, Ford came up with a model where aerodynamics were overwhelmingly paramount. With success. The Sierra had an air resistance coefficient of 0.34, compared to 0.45 for its predecessor. Because of those aerodynamics, the Sierra had also become a liftback rather than a sedan. A station wagon was still there, though. The interior design was a lot more conventional, but did stand out with a center console facing the driver.

Revolutionary on the outside, conservative on the inside

As revolutionary as the exterior was, the car remained conservative under the skin. Like its predecessor, the Ford Sierra had rear-wheel drive, while most competitors already offered front-wheel drive. The Ford Sierra’s suspension was, however, markedly improved over that of its predecessor. The Sierra had fully independent front and rear suspension.

In addition, the Sierra even took over the entire engine lineup of the Taunus. Still, there were minor updates, and the Sierra also offered the option of a five-speed manual transmission to complement the standard four-speed. A three-speed automatic was also available for certain engines. New to the lineup was a 2.3-liter diesel engine, but that too was a pre-existing block.

The Ford Sierra was primarily available with four-cylinder gasoline engines. In addition to the aforementioned diesel, some V6 gasoline engines were an exception to this. The Sierra initially had a 2.0- and 2.3-liter V6 on the option list, but later a 2.8- and 3.0-liter were also among the options. Those were reserved for the sporty XR4 versions, though. In South America, the Sierra even came with a V8, but that is a story in itself.

Ford Sierra makes tentative start

Overall, the Ford Sierra made a good start, but precisely in the all-important British market, its revolutionary styling deterred many potential buyers. The fact that the Sierra was also not available as a sedan didn’t help either. After a mediocre first year, however, the public had grown accustomed to the aerodynamic Ford, and the Sierra, like its predecessor, topped the sales charts. In 1986, the model even took the leading position within its market segment.

Facelifts for the Ford Sierra

In 1987, it was time for a facelift. However, because the Ford Sierra had such a progressive design when introduced, very little needed to be done before the facelift. Most notably, the car received all-new headlights that were again in line with the brand’s now-new design language. The side windows were also slightly enlarged for better all-round visibility, but those were also the biggest changes. However, a new body variant was added to the lineup. Due to continued demand, the Sierra was now also available as a sedan.

Another more subtle facelift followed in 1990, mainly replacing the orange indicators with modern “white” ones. The taillights were given smoked glass. In 1993, the successor was ready: the all-new Ford Mondeo.

The spotted specimen

So much for the history of the Ford Sierra in a nutshell. There is much more to say about the model, but for now we move quickly to our spot of the week. Near Marknesse, we saw this 1983 Ford Sierra 2.3 Ghia. It was registered early that year, making it one of the oldest Ford Sierra’s in the Netherlands. It is also a luxury Ghia version, with the 2.3-liter V6 on board. All in all, then, it is quite a rare sight, no matter how “ordinary” it looks at first glance. To top it off, this Sierra also looks like it just came from the factory. Even under the hood, everything gleams at you. icing on the cake are the historically accurate license plates without a blue EU patch.

Incidentally, we came across the Ford Sierra during an Elk Brand Worth association club weekend. This is the association for unknown and misunderstood cars, or really just any car that is somewhat unusual or “outside the lines. The highlight of the year is the EMWalhalla, which brings together an impressive collection of rare cars. Want to know more about the club? Then also listen back to our AutoRAI Podcast #5. One of our guests was PR man of the club Aart van der Haagen and he told us all about the special club.