Can an ugly car still be classic? Mark George explains why he’s proud to be a Sapphire Cosworth owner
“It is better to be good than to be ugly” said Oscar Wilde. His thoughts might well have applied to Ford’s Sierra Sapphire Cosworth, had the floppy-haired Irish intellectual not met his maker some 86 years before this particular Cossy hit the road.
In short that’s because the Saph is pretty universally acclaimed as an ugly but damn fine – and fun – motor. As its Wikipedia page drily notes, after it was first unveiled at the 1985 Geneva Motor Show “the car’s appearance raised little enthusiasm.” The reason was simple. Bodywork designer Lothar Pinske saw that in order for the car to stay grounded when travelling at the best part of 150mph, he would have to favour function over form.
But this beast had a beauty to it and nearly three decades on, it continues to woo Ford fans at shows across the country. Proud Saphy owner Mark George can testify to this. The 35-year-old security guard from Bury, Greater Manchester, picked up his 1990, G reg – the four door saloon that followed the groundbreaking three door model – in 2007.
He has since invested an estimated £20,000 and many more man hours fine-tuning its performance and look. He uses it not for daily driving (a Zafira is somewhat more practical if a lot less joyous) but to simply drive to and from Ford shows and monthly excursions to his local RS Owners Club meetings at the Phantom Winger pub on the A6 outside Preston. As a result he barely clocks up 3,500 miles annually.
“I only go to shows in it, I don’t drive it around town because I don’t want some idiot driving into it. I’ve not taken it on a track either because I’d rather drive it home than race it,” he explains although he’s not so worried about protecting its, ahem, good looks, more undoing years of hard graft – and hard cash.
Check out Cosworth in Crisis featuring Carole Nash Classic Cars ambassador Fuzz Tonwshend restoring a 1986 Ford Cosworth on Channel 4’s Car SOS.