Mark George found his Ford Sapphire Cosworth to be a labour of love
I found love in the classified section of a website for sports car enthusiasts. I looked at about 20, as far afield as Scotland and Weston-Super-Mare. A lot were sheds but this one I found on Pistonheads up in Newcastle had the engine spec that I really wanted. It needed painting but was mechanically sound.
That latter point was an understatement. The Cosworth’s previous owners had not just added their own tweaks and touches but taken exceptional care of it. The original owner was an Essex millionaire who did much of the engine work. He owned Porsches and Ferraris in his garage but kept the Cossy at the back so no-one would nick it. It was apparently the fastest car he had.
Once I’d christened the motor driving it home down the A1, I soon set about getting it just how I wanted. Far from its millionaire roots, on a cobbled street that could double for Weatherfield’s soap opera thoroughfare, me and my mechanically minded mates have steered an ongoing project. Since then I have swapped the standard 15” wheels for 17 inchers for 18” Compomotive MO 6 Motosports dressed with Falken’s flagship silica compound high performance, £500-a-pop tyres.
Having had local lad Martin Brearley respray the paintwork in its original colour, the chassis was lowered, with a full Koni suspension kit, Ahmed Bayjoo springs, front strut brace and poly brush kit. Next I armed the Sierra with formidable Brembo six pot front calipers with 362mm discs and alloy bells to complement the standard rear brakes – the kind of turbo brake set up you might find on a Porsche Cayenne. I’ve put massive brakes on it, to make it stop. When your engine can chuck out 420 bhp and 386lbs.ft of torque at 6850 revs, decidedly assertive brakes are a definite plus.
Anything to do with bodywork and I’m your man, but the mechanical side, it’s not for me. I’ll have a go but I’d rather get it right first time. Invariably doing so involves pulling in Lee O’Keefe, my best mate since teenage days and now co-owner of Rochdale based classics spares specialist Rally & Restorations. Lee really knows his way around cars so I always have him around so my car is in tip top condition all year round, especially as I managed to blow the engine when testing and indeed finding its limits.
Of course I depends too on pros, not just Gibbs and his crew at Supreme Car Services, but Gary Bell at specialist Bristol-based Cosworth breaker RS Classics who has proven invaluable in tracking down obsolete parts. I’ll give Gary a call looking for an air filter cover or some other chrome accessory, and he’ll invariably have it. If he doesn’t, then he’ll source it. Gratitude extends too to Ryan Percival whose Bury-based Dent Solutions has ensured the Saff’s bodywork is as smooth as the proverbial baby’s posterior.