Essay : Not their finest hour – Ford Sierra 2.0 (i4 engine)

Mike Humble

The Ford Sierra – Post 1990 models were good looking machines but dogged by cheap engineering under the skin.

To quote David Grohl of Foo Fighters fame (the nice man of rock), I have a confession to make: I like the Ford Sierra. It took 14 years after its launch for me to really appreciate it, though. Being the age that I am, I grew up loving and worshipping cars that were designed with a ruler and a set square, rather than in a wind tunnel. I was 10 when the Sierra landed into our local Ford dealer – Skippers, and I was aghast at what I saw compared to the seemingly immortal Cortina.

Until the mid-1990s, I had driven plenty of them and even worked – for a brief period – on the spanners at a huge family owned Ford dealer. But the Sierra still didn’t flick my switch, as t’wer, until I actually took the plunge and bought a four-year old 1.8 GLX five door in Tasman blue in the back end of 1996. Piling on the mileage from day one, I grew to respect the well thought out cockpit, love the supportive front seats and adore its ability to soak up motorway miles with comfort, economy and credible refinement.

Looking back, it’s easy to understand why the Sierra did so well in both fleet and retail even after a shaky start, it really was a car for all people with all budgets. Bereft of any real character or excitement in the cooking models, the Sierra was in essence, a steel umbrella if you like, an essential tool akin to something like a can opener or a disposable razor – something you never ponder over but depend on day after day.

The Sierra excelled by being very average, or in other words, by doing nothing badly but by doing everything as its design intended. But by 1984, the Sierra was hopelessly outclassed by home spun rivals like the Cavalier and Montego in terms of performance, economy, servicing costs and even passenger space. Yet, the Montego gained a reputation quickly for shonky quality and hopeless reliability, while the early Mk2 Cavalier had cylinder head components made from toffee. The Sierra simply built up momentum and got on with the job with no real fuss to speak of.

Unlike the Montego, which had the ludicrous idea of a different engine design for every capacity, Ford equipped the Sierra with everything from the 1.3 to the 2.0 with a single design family of OHCs – known in the trade as the Pinto. Far from being the benchmark for efficiency and refinement, the Pinto was developed into a range of fairly hardy and dependable engines. Yes they became a bit knocky and tappety after a while, but that was more often than not down to poor maintenance than anything else.

Ultra high mileage examples were commonplace and completely life expired engines would just keep going on and on seemingly forever belching out clouds of blue smoke akin to a two stroke moped and simply refusing to die. But by the late-’80s, the Sierra was so behind the rivals in terms of technology and power, it was becoming a bit of a joke – so the economy-special 1.8 ‘E Max’ was replaced with an all-new CVH engine known as the R2A in 1988. The 2.0 Pinto was then replaced the following year.

The OHC Pinto plant was developed into a dependable and respected engine, but by the late 80’s was hopelessly behind its rivals.

The new 2.0 plant was, just like the Pinto, a four-cylinder unit with the same bore and stroke layout with eight valves – but here is where the similarities ended. A DOHC alloy cylinder head was introduced, driven by chain rather than rubber belt, and both efficiency and performance were on a par with mainstream rivals. Designated ‘i4’ this engine was available in twin choke carburettor or Bosch fuel injected tune. It was then coupled with a brand new gearbox design in a hope to pull back flagging sales especially from Vauxhall’s superb Mk3 Cavalier.

Whereby the Pinto looked ancient and decrepit when popping the bonnet, the i4 looked imposing and modern packing almost every spare inch of space in the engine bay. Sales of the 1990 Sierra range picked up as a result, but it didn’t take long before the lack of development funding and some terrible news of reliability were banded around the motor trade. Ford had rather hastily developed this engine knowing the Mondeo and Zetec products were a few years away, so the i4 was designed and built on the cheap.

The Ford 2.0 i4 engine – Imposing refined and economical but also dogged by serious under development.

Some truly awful problems dogged the engine soon after launch. Issues such as stretching or snapping timing chains were commonplace. The cooling system was prone to furring and blocking, which led to overheating which would also blow the cylinder head gasket just for good measure. It was also known for the head to crack in extreme cases, and sometimes the spark plugs would simply seize into the head when over tightened or overheated – it was a truly awful engine for such a high volume maker.

Just like earlier Pinto models, the oil spray bar was prone to blocking on cars using the wrong oil or subject to poor maintenance. Though whereby the Pinto was resilient to abuse, the i4 would quickly destroy its modern hydraulic tappets and at worst, ruin the delicate machined alloy cam bearings pretty much rendering the engine as scrap. But to put things into context, a well serviced and cared for twin cam Sierra was dependable in daily use – but these cars were packhorses not thoroughbreds, especially in fleet use.

The Sierra also gained a new gearbox for the 2.0-litre engine, which was far from as slick-shifting nor hard-wearing as the previous ‘N’ series based box of old. Designated the ‘MT-75’ this new transmission featured a weight saving alloy casing and reverse gear synchromesh but suffered from a rubbery shift quality and often failed at relatively low mileages. This was a real shame, as both the Cortina and earlier Sierra featured a sweet and light short throw gearchange – the trademark for all older generation Ford RWD cars.

Towards the end of production, the Sierra ended up with a confusing range of four cylinder engines. The 1.6 ‘Pinto’ was changed to a 1.6 injected ‘CVH’ that bore no similarities to the larger 1.8 ‘CVH R2’ unit, thus meaning that the three four pot petrol engines each had their own separate engine type. This was slightly amazing considering its replacement was little more than 18 months away – the 1.8-litre turbo diesel and 2.9-litre V6 petrol models remained unchanged to the end of production in 1993.

After the Sierra bowed out, Ford developed the i4 engine into a 2.3-litre and fitted it into the Galaxy MPV model. One would have thought that engineering matters would have been cured, but the same old issues of timing chains and engines simply blowing apart also dogged this models reputation within the trade. This was a real shame as the engine ran quite sweet while offering a credible balance of power/economy when performing as required.

I owned a twin cam too, a 1992 GLSi Sapphire bought from a private owner, and formerly a Hertfordshire Police CID car. It came with full service history and never once missed a beat. But after selling it onto a work colleague two years later, who thrashed it and abused it, the poor thing subsequently blew up. After buying it back and fitting a second hand engine, I resold it again making a slim profit – but the twin cam was a pain to work on being the complete opposite to the Pinto which was a joy to wield a spanner on.

Amazingly, though, the Sierra remained popular right up to the death bell tolling in 1993, partly thanks to Ford’s all-conquering publicity and marketing department allied with the halo effect of the superb Cosworth model. The memorable ‘Everything we do is driven by you’ campaign had the public tripping over themselves to the local Ford dealer, proving that if anyone could make a silk purse from the proverbial Sows ear – Ford could do it every time.

Mike Humble


    • Got to ask, why the hate?
      In contrast to today’s timid ASA-fearing adverts, “Everything We Do” focused on the product, it featured the whole range, and wasn’t afraid to play up Ford’s motorsport links. Was it the Brian May soundtrack that bugged you?

  1. Not Brian May’s finest hour.

    The early Zeta engines (before Lancia told them to rename it – to Zetec) as fitted to the 92 Orion 1.8i were lemons too and had a few of the same issues such as spark plugs seized in place, bad idle especially if the oil gets a bit thick, cutting out, lumpiness, seals going etc. etc.

  2. Very true Will

    I remember the valves would sink into the head too leading Ford to issue various press releases blaming supermarket petrol for the problem and not their shonky engineering.

    I think the early 90`s were certainly Fords darkest hours

  3. I remember my uncle buying a brand new Fiesta 1.8 XR2i on a K plate, and less than 2 weeks after buying it, he got a recall notice for severe engine issues, which included cambelt problems. The car was massively unreliable, and in the end Ford ended up replacing the car under warranty with a later L reg model, which featured the much needed power steering

  4. I had a company Escort 1991 1.4LX with CVH engine which actually reached 106K miles without any major problems apart from replacing clutch & exhaust.

    I havent seen the “Everything we do” advert since it was originally transmitted. I think they did another version with an end shot of the MK1 Mondeo at launchtime. I did like Brian May’s soundtrack though!

  5. OK, this sufficiently answers the question why Westfield designed their SDV (Single Donor Vehicle)-kit with the Pinto (aka boat anchor)-engined Sierra in mind rather than this… ;o)

  6. I must have been lucky as I had one of the good ones of these – a 1992 ‘J’ plate 2.0i GLX hatch which was formerly a BT company vehicle bought at 2 years old with 60k on the clock. I had it for 7 years and sold it with 140k still going strong!

    I particularly liked the strong low and midrange torque that the engine produced, it was pretty economical too, 38-40mpg in daily use which is not bad even by today’s standards!

    I also preferred the MT75 gearbox paired with this engine compared with the rather notchy 5 speeder fitted to earlier models.

  7. @ Hilton D, yes I remember the other “Driven By You” ad from late 1992 that had several sneaky partial shots of the Mondeo just a couple months before it came out. That was Ford just teasing us!

  8. BEST ADVERT EVER. Its what Brain May hums when culling badgers or something*

    Not Ford’s finest hour, but a marketing masterstroke when you lifted the bonnet – it looked just like your neighbours BMW or an exotic Italian with two camshafts inline. Take that Cavalier!!!

    Alas having extracted a few of these engines in my time (staple Taxi/chauffeur fodder in Essex), the plastic guide would frequently break between the timing chains, this resulted in good I4’s being at least £250 15 years ago! However even with an auto box you could hit very nearly 30 MPG at a time when boat anchor diesels (denied the auto box too) slogged to 40 MPG at best. The uber rare carburettor version is still highly prized.

    As for the Zetec (That why the rocker casting is so proud – the Zeta got machined off) going bang at first people were blasé about 5/30 oil – in the early 90’s Castrol GTX was still all the liquid engineering a man needed!

  9. Those I4’s used to have very porous heads-used to leak oil,others issues with the CVH engines was the four grades of pistons in used and a large batch were fitted to sierras and had consumption problems,this amounted to a few thousand cars keeping Dealers in work simply throwing in new correctly built engines.

    @9, i saw a lot of Zetecs leaking oil from filter housing and oil pump gaskets through not using correct grade of oil and if it was a mondeo the engine had to come out!

  10. @ Kevin Steele

    Bit like they’re doing now, touting the forever delayed “new” Mondeo and Focus with 1986 Mini grilles stuck on the front. Osborne effect.

    I still remember a variation on that advert when they park up a Focus next to a Capri. Or maybe I dreamt it. The Sapphire and 4 door mk3 Granadas were handsome beasts, in retrospect!

  11. I was working in a Ford dealer when the ’95 Mexico came out. I felt embarrassed to even look at it.

    • That engine is basically a TL (pinto) engine just with a 16v head on top and chain driven cams.
      The Escort Cosworth engine was the Sierra Cosworth engine, which is the TL (FORD SOHC/pinto) engine with low compression pistons and a 16v head.

  12. In my book the Sierra with the Pinto 2 Litre was “not their finest hour” as well. It might have been more reliable than its successor but it was still rough and not particularly economical. Horrible car, totally outclassed by the Cavalier. Even the Montego 1.6 was better to drive.

    • I had the 2.0 GLSi Pinto Sierra and also a MK3 Cavalier, it wasn’t until years later I owned an E36 323i that I had a car that was as good a drive as that 2.0 pinto. Even the fully loaded MK4 Golf GTD I own now doesn’t drive as nice as that Sierra did. Never met anyone that liked a Montego enough to buy 2 of them, I owned 4 Sierra’s in total, the MK2 Mondeo wasn’t as good so only one of those and not had a big Ford since. The now old BMW’s are the only cars that drive as well or nicer than those old school big Fords, love my current E46 330CD coupe. I think it’s the rear wheel drive gives a nicer ride, even my poverty spec 1 series BMW was nice.

  13. IIRC, and may well be recalling very incorrectly, the 2.3 heads were developed by Cosworth and there were plans – mooted, at least – for it to be deployed in the DEW98 Jaguar (S-type). Project code HCA…

    Project HCA: DOHC 2.3L balance shaft, Ford DEW98 Scorpio
    Project HCB: HCA adapted to front-wheel drive, VX62 not DEW98

    (I’ve had arguments with people over DEW98 before, so I’d take that one with a pinch of salt – part numbers aside, I’m convinced that the changes in the late model Scorpios owe a lot to DEW98 development, and that DEW98 owes a lot to the Scorpio platform regardless of actual component compatibility – like the relationships between Triumph 2500, Stag, P76 and SD1).

  14. I think all cars from that era had some gremilins. Vauxhalls of similar age suffered cam belt tensioner problems and as for Rover K series………… Its only in the past 10 years or so that manufacturers really seem to have got on top of these sort of issues. Then again there is the recent Mercedes OM651 Fuel Injector issue and as for the MG6…….

    • Agreed, the Vauxhalls suffered bydly from cam wear or tappet noise and the snapped cam belts, usually due to water pump failure. That water pump/cambelt failure dogged the CVH too, but these failures dogged VW (Golf and Polo) to the end of the nineties!!!

  15. I thought the Jaguar S type share its DEW platform with the Lincoln LS (as does the current XF). The Scorpio was of course a Granada that was effectively a stretched Sierra.

  16. @Ezeee The Escort Cosworth engine was derived from the Pinto. It was the Escort RS2000 that had the i4 engine.

    • They were quick, I raced one with my 2.0 Pinto GLSi Sierra. The i4 engine on the RS was dead by around 100,000 miles though where mine was going strong at over 145,000. I only scrapped it due to rust, shame as I’ve probably never had as much fun in another car since.

  17. I too hated that bloody commercial- not really a Queen fan. In Brian May’s defence, the song wasn’t originally written for a Ford ad.

    So we can blame Ford for starting the use of the now very hackneyed lower-case ‘i’ in front of just about every bloody product on sale now?

  18. I had a 1993 Escort RS2000 with i4 16v engine. This engine was bulletproof and powerfull. It never used oil or water and never let me down.

  19. @8 Kevin… thanks for confirming what I remember about the Mondeo “driven by you” advert. I’ve just re-viewed it and still like the mix of images married to the soundtrack… I must be in a minority judging by what others have said here though.

  20. “I thought the Jaguar S type share its DEW platform with the Lincoln LS (as does the current XF). The Scorpio was of course a Granada that was effectively a stretched Sierra.”

    Yes, and yes, but Ford’s midsize RWD platform was a follow on from the Scorpio as far as I can tell. Platforms aren’t just about sheet steel – design ethos, suspension layouts and so forth, all count. Scorpios were used as mules for the S-type/LS, DEW98 at some point would have been intended to underpin the Scorpio’s replacement (it’s just that that turned out to be the S-type with no need for a lesser marque below it). There’s probably thinking from Scorpio/Ford Europe, Jaguar, Ford USA and even Mazda in what became DEW98, and the S-type started out with the Scorpio underpinnings as a development process; DEW98 presumably took the refinements and improvements Jaguar’s engineers wanted and applied them.

    There are refinements applied to later Scorpios that I’ve been told more than once were related to DEW98 – the rear suspension has some changes, for example.

  21. It’s not often that a DOHC engine is still only 2 valves per cylinder. There was, of course, the Fiat 131/Mirafiori Twin Cam, which was 8v DOHC but it certainly wasn’t the norm.

    My favourite Sierra has to be the bespoke-bodyshelled XR4i

  22. @29, I had a 1600 twin cam Mirafiori in my early twenties and that car delighted my heart!funnily enough a pal had a XR4i and he couldnt keep up with me,i wouldlove another one of these,even the sport (2l twin cams are ultra rare)i never gelled with the XR4i’s side profile much prefering the cleaner looking three door shape.

  23. Ive always liked the Sierra, this is a car which has timeless elegance, if one didnt know any better it would be hard to pick which 10 year period it came from. I also remember the AWD Cosworths Doing very well at Bathhurst!

  24. @29, Its probably fashion! the TVR AJP6/8 engines run 2V heads and was very effecient even in terms of consumption,the VW 5V heads are a work of art but of no real use unless turbocharged.

  25. Andrew Elphick

    That 165 bhp Sierra 2.0 Turbo conversion by Turbo Technics is rather fascinating, always felt that there should have been a similar model with a near-stock (3-door) bodykit that is far more understated than the loud XR4i.

  26. The RS Cosworth was built on a 3 door shell, though with spoilers and wide arches, and an engine derived from the Pinto.

  27. @39,the venerable YB engine,i once built a circa 450 BHP pinto from a recipe-SAAB 900 turbo conrods,bushed at the little ends,VW T4 van pistons (with machining)and a hybrid Garrett T5 turbo all in a MK2 escort!
    If i remember rightly,cosworth was experimenting with prototype YB’s when Ford engineers came across them,next news a factory was built just for this engine!

  28. My old man had a red GLSi with the afformentioned engine and never had a prob. The only things that needed changing were the parts that needed doing at the recommended intervals. In fact the engine was still going strong when the body fell apart. It use to go like stink and great at tail happy driving!

  29. Might the assembly line at Dagenham being transferred to Genk in 1989 have anything to do with the quality nosediving as workers losing their jobs might not have taken pride in their work and built the cars badly? I often wonder if buying a Mondeo made between 2012 and 2014 as ironically Genk is being wound down and this will mean the end of Fords being made in Belgium.

  30. We had a 1989 Sierra G616 FHD 1.6 laser – pinto engined – hopelessly outclassed in terms of performance and fuel consumption (25mpg max) – BUT – it did 150k in 4 years with no major faults. Even the paintwork and interior stood up well to this mileage. About as fun to drive as a washing machine though, and watch out for sidewinds on the the motorway.

  31. What I meant to say in post 37 is it could be a gamble buying a Mondeo made between now and 2014 as Genk is closing down, turning the town into a Belgian version of Linwood, and some of the workforce who are being paid off might be tempted to skimp on quality control as a form of revenge. It is ironic that the factory which took over family car production from Dagenham, which went into a slow decline after this date, is itself being closed and Ford production, as in Britain, 11 years ago, will be ending in Belgium.

  32. @39, they will offer production bonus -a good drink on top of thier wages so they dont do anything like that i guess.

  33. I remember the Bryan may advert, mainly because at the time I had a Sierra Sapphire as a company car (rusting nicely at 18 months old) and used to hum along with my own version, “everything we do is a pile of poo”

  34. Oh, how I hated the Sierra! The later Sapphire versions where much better looking but the interiors were still horrid. The thought of sitting in the driving seat for my (in those days) 30k miles per year would have made me cry. I owned an Escort Mk4 for 2 years – that was enough to put me off Fords, and other than the odd hire car I’ve not had one since. For my money, Ford just can’t do interiors!

    I much preferred the Cavalier Mk2. Our fleet never had any significant trouble with the GM Family 2 engines despite clocking up hige mileages. I ended up with an Astra Mk1 diesel which was not the quickest but comfortable and outstandingly reliable even when hammered (all the time 😉 ).

    The Pinto was rough but reliable (assuming that the oil was changed regularly) but I remember knocking cams were a problem if oil & filter changes were skimped. The i4 was a dog. I truly hated working on them and still have the scarred knuckles to prove it. Then they went and made the “constant vibration & harshness” engine which was also a dog.

    Incidentally, my brother bought my Escort 1.4LX off me and ran it for another 6 years before selling it to one of his neighbours. It was still running at 120k miles until she wrapped it round a lamppost….

  35. My uncle still runs a well-knackered 1990 Sierra and spends good money after bad on it every year on welding and parts just to get it through the M.o.T.

    Many have tried to tell him it was’nt a very good car when new and is now only fit for banger-racing, but his mindset is pure 1970’s Ford man logic – all other cars have expensive parts and modern cars have too many electrics which give trouble.
    Dosn’t occur to him that modern cars are so much more reliable that they don’t need so many parts…

    Mind, the fact the ancient electric windows and dodgy rear light relays in his car have failed him probably just reinforces his mania.

    It got nicked recently, (for it’s towbar, to enable the theft of a nearby caravan…) and the theiving scrotes added insult to injury by not doing him the favour of burning-out the heap. Instead, plod got it back for him, (minus door locks, plus a broken clutch and a bill for storage)

    Only saving grace when he bought it years back was that it’s a 1.8 GLX – the 1.8 probably being the best ‘Pinto’
    in having similar performance to the 2.0 of the time, but managing fuel economy figures very near to the 1.6. Doubt the thing can manage more than 25 MPG these days though.

  36. Back in 1988, I bought a two year old Granada 2.0i GL and after a Orion 1.4 Ghia the Pinto engined large car was a revelation. Smooth and powerful (or so it seemed at the time). Shortly after the old Pinto unit was replaced with the i4. Remember thinking I so want the DOHC unit.

    What I can say is though experience, the old engine was bulletproof. Kept the car for 4 Yeats with next to no maintenance. It just went on and on, without any doubt the most reliable car I have ever owned.

    Traded it in for £2k off a 1990 820 Se. Treated that car much the same as the Granada. In less than a year the nightmare started. Needless to say, after about two years the ARG product died a uncermenious death. That said the Ford was workhorse, unloved just a mode of transport. The 800 I actuly loved it.

  37. 18 months ago I inherited from a friend of mine a LHD 1992 Sierra 2.0 LX Auto. The bodywork is solid but recently the thermostat jammed shut whilst on the Autobahn resulting in a blown head gasket. As an engine it seems powerful and economical enough but it does seem very tappety at idle (or at least mine is). The car has only 87000 kms on the clock. After a string of BL/ARG/Rovers this is my first Ford. Although only a stopgap banger I intend to keep it running for a few more years yet.

  38. The I4 is a better engine than the zetec. It also has nowt to do with the pinto bore and stroke, the I4 is square, the pinto is very over-square. Fitted with the 8v I4, the Sierra is faster to 60 than the 2.016v mondeo which replaced it. If ford had put the 16v in the sierra, it would have been embarrassing! I bought an 82k sierra with an I4 lump, it was still going on 168k when I sold it with nothing but fluid and filter changes. I could get 50+ mpg on a long slow run, and 40 at normal motorway speeds. The 2 litre 16v I4 produces 140 lb/ft of torque, an injected pinto struggles to make 90.

    I have thrashed the living daylights out of the 16v I4 on the race track, and found them to be utterly bulletproof, even when being bounced repeatedly off the limiter. Even banger racing drivers use them in preference to all other 4 pot engines nowadays for their power and toughness. Probably the most underrated engine Ford ever made .

  39. Ford also fitted it’s Pinto derived Lima 2.3 I4 to the Sierra in America, where it was sold as the Merkur XR4Ti. Unfortunately currency fluctuations killed Ford’s captive import Merkur brand in the late 80s. You still see the odd one stateside though, where they’ve got a reputation as a sporty curiosity.

    The Mk3 Granada was also sold as the Merkur Scorpio but they gave it some really horrible lights. Thinking of the Mk3 Granada does anyone know if it’s related to the Ozzy EB Falcon, I’ve owned both and the Falcon seemed much wider, but it seems unlikely that Ford would build an entirely new car for only Australia and NZ.

  40. I could not disagree more with the main article in respect of the DOHC L4 engine and LT75 gearbox.

    Had three, a VERY economical and fast carburetted 2.0 Sierra GL Estate (bit of a barge on corners) and two 2.0 litre Sierra Ghia 4×4 Estates. They all went the distance, the latter two to 180,000 miles and 260,000, miles.

    THe “Twinky” was a delightful engine with lot`s of low-down grunt and revvable to 5800rpm – but not necessary (and noisy after 4800, but no worse than any other engine I`ve driven. Comfortable cruise up to 100, but 110 a bit noisy at 5000 rpm)

    The LT75 gearbox was delightful and bullet-proof in my experience. The only criticism would be the long throws – but if you ever drove an Rover SD1 you would long for the Sierra!

    The DOHC engine did not eat headgaskets. The problem was the thermo-switches for the electric fans. These failed because they hardly ever were needed; but when they were, if they failed to switch the fans on the engine overheated quickly; and if you didn`t notice, it cooked up badly. Quite few otther cars have had this problem.

    One lived and learned! Once I did I never had any more trouble.

    The 4×4 versions had the same steering, brakes, and suspension as the 4×4 Cosworth models and the handling was delightful, with super steering and electro-hydraulic brakes. Used to the latter, you`d never want anything else.

    Great cars – great workhorses, and great towing cars in mud or snow.

    Oh! And I loved the heated windscreen, headlamp wipers, and heated washer jets- just right for winter.


  41. One little remembered variant was the 2.3 V6 estate, which was phased out in 1985 when the new Granada was launched. Using the powerful Cologne V6 used in top of the range Cortinas, and often found with Ghia trim, this was an extremely rapid and refined estate. Also the styling was a lot easier on the eye than the hatchback and it was a good load carrier.

  42. I had a well looked after but very cheaply purchased Granada saloon with an injected I4 DOHC motor in it. Have to say that it was far from an exciting engine having little desire to rev as such (anything past 4k was strained) but was very flexible & docile at low revs and also much smoother than the injected pinto ever was. I ran it for almost 12 months & never laid a spanner on it – the whole car was very ordinary but also incredibly competent. I have however also seen plenty of them which scattered their innards in a very expensive fashion, they were certainly far more mechanically involved than the pinto & if memory serves correctly not any lighter (the block was a big old lump & the valvegear was very stout plus things like pullies, brackets & flywheels all added quite a bit). Fairly odd choice bearing in mind the zeta nee ZETEC was on it’s way. Like most of these things though lots were sold & billions of miles done in them collectively by many happy (ok ambivalent) drivers!


  44. Ford’s glory days probably were the seventies and early eighties, everything they produced was a huge success, the cars catered for every pocket, some like the Mark 3 Capri and Mark 2 Granada were very stylish, and buyers knew they were getting cars that were mechanically simple and cheap to maintain. In particular, fleet buyers, who received a 25 per cent discount on new Fords, became their biggest customer as they could buy huge batches of Cortinas and knew during the cars 3 year lifespan, they’d get something the drivers liked and which were reasonably dependable and cheap to fix.

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