1988 FORD Sapphire Cosworth 2WD

View vehicle description

1988 FORD Sapphire Cosworth 2WD


In 1983, Ford Motorsport Europe had appointed a new head, Stuart Turner. He realised that Ford was becoming less competitive in Motorsport, and after some discussion with Public Relations, Ford approached their long-time partner Cosworth. Based on the Pinto engine, Cosworth had developed a 16-valve version which would prove to be perfect once the turbocharger was bolted to it, pushing the power to 180bhp in road form and 300bhp in race trim, a considerable improvement over the old Pinto engine.

The perfect car to trial this new engine in was the aerodynamically sound Sierra, which coincidently used a Pinto, so they knew the 16-valve Cosworth unit would fit. So firstly, the 3-door Cosworth came along, followed by the limited edition model, with just 500 made. These were more in the style of a race engine with a bigger turbo, intercooler and uprated fuel pump plus other parts to make it the RS500.

Proving popular, the Sierra Sapphire was the next to receive the Cosworth lump, producing the 2-wheel drive Sapphire Cosworth which made it even more appealing. Ford sold 13,140 units. The car's popularity also grew with the wrong kind of people, and they became the car of choice for joyriders in the 1990s. With police cars at the time unable to catch the high-flying Cosworths, more and more were unfortunately stolen.

The Vehicle

This 1988 Sapphire Cosworth is a true unmolested 33,740 mile, two-owner (in the same family) superb example which has made it through the 1990s and missed being extensively modified; instead, it has been tucked away and pampered.

The moonstone Cosworth is in outstanding condition from top to bottom, as seen in our gallery. The car was purchased in 1988 and owned by the first keeper for two years before selling it to a 60 year old politician with approximately 15,000 miles on. He used it for special occasions before passing away at 73. The car then got passed to his son, who owns a garage (which can be seen in the letter in the paperwork section). He has maintained the car, using it once or twice for the odd show, but other than that, it's been kept in dry storage covered up and only got out to be cleaned and polished.

With the car getting little use, it was sold into our vendor's private collection, who, after being bitten by the nostalgia bug and remembering owning a Sapphire Cosworth in his early 20s, saw this as a car he couldn’t miss out on, especially one with such low mileage and originality.

With the nostalgia itch scratched and after spending a considerable amount recommissioning the Cosworth, in fact, £5,267, the car is now being offered to a new home. It has been given a clean bill of health and has been enjoyed for approximately 200 miles since 2018, and this is going to be the perfect opportunity for someone to own their teenage dream Cosworth.

On the Outside

The Moonstone Blue paintwork on the car is simply outstanding for the age of the vehicle. The seller states "I looked for an original factory paint vehicle, I had the vehicle inspected by two classic car restorers, who separately spent several hours including a paint gauge studying the vehicle. The paint is consistent depth on every panel. They were convinced all panels are factory paint". There are a couple of minor marks and stone chips, but these are few and far between and don’t cause any area for concern. The headlights and foglights are in excellent condition with bright clear lenses and no chips to be seen, and the reflectors behind them are also nice and bright.

Looking down the side of the Cosworth, there are no dings or dents to point out; the edges of the wheel arches are all in excellent condition, with no signs of corrosion creeping in from the edges. The black trim along the lower swage line is nice and straight, with no signs of being removed in the past. Looking at the plastic trim around the mirror casings, door handles, and C pillar trims, it is clear that the car has been kept covered up away from any harmful UV light.

To the rear is like the rest of the car, as you would expect. The boot spoiler is in excellent condition, as are the rear light clusters, and the correct badges are in place with just a little patina to the Ford badge. The classic lattice spoke alloy wheels all look to be original with nice sharp numbers and lettering to the Ford logo and part number. The tyres are matching Dunlop SP Sport which are in good condition and have a good amount of tread remaining. There is also a spare wheel, and jack with the car which has never been used.

On the Inside

Stepping inside the Sapphire Cosworth, you could easily be back in a showroom checking out a two year old car. Renowned for the bolsters taking a lot of wear, the Recaro seats are in excellent order with virtually no creasing to the bolster. The only unfortunate thing is that there's a small cigarette burn on the driver's base. The previous keeper caused this; on one of the odd occasions he used it, he managed to do this, which he was genuinely devastated about. Although this has happened, it may be possible to get it repaired by an interior specialist. The passenger seat is excellent, along with the rear seat, which does not look like it has been sat in a great deal. The door cards are all excellent, with no scuffs or marks to mention.

Quite a familiar sight on Sierra’s of this age is a cracked dashboard, but not with this one! It is all in good condition with no splits or cracks to be seen. The instruments work as they should, and the odometer shows the incredibly low 33,740 miles. The switchgear is in excellent condition with no signs of wear and all working as it should. The original Ford radio cassette player and amplifier just below are in place, and further back, the eclectic window switches are working as they should for all four windows.

The carpets are excellent throughout the car, and there is also a set of factory mats to protect them. Above, the headlining has started to sag a little at the back of the vehicle, but most upholstery specialists should be able to tackle this. Inside the boot is excellent, with a spare wheel that has never been fitted and still wears the original tyre.


The engine in the Cosworth is the original 2.0 litre turbocharged red top engine. In standard form, the Cosworth produced 201bhp; this car was given some subtle improvements several years ago with the addition of a stage one chip. This was then set up on a dyno with a 248hp result.

As mentioned, the Sierra has been recommissioned with a full service, timing belt discs and pads to the front and rear, new track control arm bushes and drop links, fuel regulator OEM Graham Goode exhaust system, hand brake cables and new brake calipers on all four corners. The car is now in excellent order, and everything that needed to be done was addressed and checked.

As you can see from the underside photographs, the car is in just as good condition to the engine bay and the underside. Originality is something you can’t replicate; it either looks too new or too refurbished. Items such as brackets and bolts which still have the gold plating on are prime examples, and they either look new or old, but in this case, they look original.

The car starts up as it should and sounds as it should with no untoward noises coming from the engine. Out in the car, it comes onto boost just as well as you remember back in the day, and instantly brings back that huge grin! The Cozzy moves quickly through the gears with ease, having had the gearbox thoroughly checked over. Thanks to the new discs, calipers and pads, the car also comes to a halt with no juddering or pulling to either side.

History Highlights

It has covered just 33,740 miles from new and is in outstanding original condition, (apart from the stage one chip). The car was in the same family from 1991 until mid 2021, and for that time, it was used for special occasions for over 13 years before being kept covered up and used for the odd show now and again. Since moving to our vendor, the Cosworth has been recommissioned as mentioned, and enjoyed for just 200 miles.

The car comes with previous MoT certificates; where it hasn't been MoT’d, it has been SORN’d, which is documented. The handbooks are present, along with the service book. Two sets of keys are included, with the spare key in like new condition. There are some invoices for work carried out, including the recent recommissioning work.

The V5 is present and shows two previous keepers, and the current MoT certificate is valid until 28th April 2023.

What We Think

What a gem to find. A true 90s icon in the hot hatch era, when the Cosworth was a car wanted by many if only insurance premiums would have allowed.

This is going to be one for the collectors and enthusiasts amongst you who are looking for an original Sapphire Cosworth with low mileage, and, let's face it, cars like this don’t come along very often.

We estimate this superb 1988 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth Sapphire will bring in the region of £45,000 - £60,000.

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with the seller in Alderley, United Kingdom. To arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions.’

If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage options plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping.  

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

Video Review

Want to know how The Market auctions work? Take a look at our FAQ's

View FAQ's


  • Location: ALDERLEY EDGE, United Kingdom
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 33000
  • Engine: 2000
  • Gearbox: manual
  • Steering position: RHD
  • Colour: Moonstone
  • Interior: Grey Cloth
  • Estimated Price: £45,000 - £60,000
Contact Seller

Live auctions View more