You know those moments in life where you giddily spring to action over the sight of something you’ve never seen before…? Sort of like when an infant sees its favorite cartoon character dressed-up in a life-sized plushy costume… But while driving..? Yes, we’ve all been there…
I encountered one such exact moment of perked-up, adreneline-fuelled giddiness behind the wheel of my car just the other day while driving over the bridge that leads to the AutoInjected Estate. The first thing that caught my eye was the distinctive rump and obtrusively massive rear-spoiler of a Series-1 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth… followed by the obvious/reminded realisation that these were never available to the North American market. As I got closer though, my eyes diverted over to the badging on the boot-lid – this was no normal Sierra RS ‘Cossie’ imported over to these shores, this was an ’87 RS500… 1 of 500 produced. Lots of “Oh my God!”s ensued…
In the 80’s, there was a nice assortment of pumped-up, limited-run homologation-specials made available to the public from the various manufacturers (ie: BMW E30 M3 Evolution, Mercedes 190E Cosworths, Audi Sport Quattro, etc.) that were produced in said small numbers soley for the purposes of going racing…. in the UK and Europe. Sadly, these Homologation specials were never sold to customers across the Atlantic. All we could do was drool and dream of owning/driving one… I know I did.
Back in ’87, Aston Martin Tickford was given the responsibility of transforming a regular Cosworth RS into the desireable RS500. They bolted on a massive Garrett TO4 Turbo to the 16-valve 4-cylinder unit (amongst other mods) that would allow 575bhp in race tune, yet detuned to 224bhp for normal road use.
As you’d imagine, nowadays it is near-impossible to find an RS500 that hasn’t seen engine or suspension modifications in one way or another throughout its life. Yet, this incredibly rare, unmodified, low-mileage example just popped up on the UK classifieds >>> http://forsale.classicandperformancecar.com/detail.aspx?ad=21681&d=218 …in case you’re interested… and have a spare 40K GBP (approx. $60,000 US + taxes/duties/shipping etc.) to spend on a fulfilling a life-long experience behind the wheel of a rare Cossie. Be in no question though – values are constantly rising for the 80’s Homologation specials.
What witb RS500s firmly within the collector territory now, the chances of owning one (let alone seeing one on the road) is scant at best for North American enthusiasts. But with this rise in values of the super-rare RS500s comes the opening of possibilities to snag yourself one of the (still rare) regular RS Cosworth models. The later-modelled Sierra Sapphire RS versions were just as fun to drive as the original and even came with the usual revisions/updates that improved the breed further.
I’ve actually properly driven this exact one for sale at Splendid Automobiles so I can attest to its excellence. And with only 23,000 unmodified and documented miles under its all-original self, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t massively tempted to sell/trade one of my vintage BMWs to make room for this in my garage. Still pondering it though…
***Added Bonus*** – Tiff Needell slinging his Group A RS500 around the track via Top Gear episode from 1989…>>>