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Pristine 1986 Ford Sierra Cosworth sells for auction world record of £132,750

Forget about achingly-beautiful Aston Martins, stunning vintage Jaguars and ultra-rare Ferraris – the brand that sent car collectors into a frenzy at the weekend was Ford. And Fast Fords in particular.

While most people associate the carmaker with models like the supremely popular Fiesta – which Ford announced will cease production next year – and family favourites including the Focus and Kuga SUV, back in the eighties the manufacturer produced some of the greatest hot hatches to ever grace our roads.

Arguably the pinnacle of these attainable 1980s performance cars is the Sierra Cosworth. And a pristine example of that eighties icon with fewer than 9,000 miles on the clock has just sold at a Birmingham auction for a – very surprising – world-record-smashing £132,750. 

It was one of eight new world record auction figures registered at the weekend’s sale – as well as three further UK records – which saw collectors part with a total of £7million.

Ultimate eighties throwback hot hatch: This Sierra RS Cosworth has just set a new auction record, selling for at the weekend for a massive £132,750

The Silverstone Auctions event took place on Saturday and Sunday at the NEC Classic Motor Show, with over 1,468 registered bidders from as far afield as America, Hong Kong and Dubai.

Three quarters (75 per cent) of available lots sold successfully in yet another clear sign that the cost of living crisis is – so far – doing very little to curb the appeal of collectible cars among enthusiasts.

While most of motors on offer sold within – or just below – their pre-event estimates, one that obliterated the auctioneer’s guide price was this 1986 Ford Sierra Cosworth.

Silverstone Auctions had expected it to sell for up to £110,000 this weekend, but competition in the auction room saw bidding exceed all predictions, with the winning price some £22,750 higher than what its valuers had expected.

And it shocked experts, too.

That’s because the car sold isn’t one of the more desirable RS500 Cosworth cars – the limited run of 500 models produced for Ford by Aston Martin Tickford.

One of these exclusive cars had held the all-time auction record for a road-going Sierra for over five years, with Silverstone Auctions selling a 1987 example with 11,000 miles on the clock for £122,400 back in 2017. 

But that record has now been eclipsed by this ‘standard’ RS Cosworth, which is one of the 4,995 Ford made in order to take the Sierra racing in touring car championships and on the rally stage.

Silverstone Auctions had predicted that the 1986 Sierra RS Cosworth would sell for a maximum of £110,000

However, competition in the auction room saw bidding exceed all predictions, with the winning price paid beating all previous records

Silverstone Auctions had predicted that the 1986 Sierra RS Cosworth would sell for a maximum of £110,000. However, competition in the auction room saw bidding exceed all predictions, with the winning price paid beating all previous records

'Looking as crisp as ever in Moonstone Blue with a virtually unmarked Recaro grey cloth interior, just two former keepers have had the pleasure of owning this time-warp car from new,' said Silverstone Auctions

‘Looking as crisp as ever in Moonstone Blue with a virtually unmarked Recaro grey cloth interior, just two former keepers have had the pleasure of owning this time-warp car from new,’ said Silverstone Auctions

Famous for its aggressive body kit – including the ‘Whale Tail’ rear spoiler – and potent Cosworth-tuned 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the eighties Fast Ford produced 204bhp and could accelerate from 0-to-62mph in 6.2 seconds and hit an official top speed of 150mph.

While the standard RS Cosworth might not have the rarity of the RS500, this example’s record-setting value is mostly driven by how little it has been used until now.

It has a documented 8,795 miles from new only. That’s an average of 244 miles per annum since it came off the production line some 36 years ago.

New record holder: A more exclusive RS500 had held the all-time auction record for a road-going Sierra for over five years, with Silverstone Auctions selling a 1987 example with 11,000 miles on the clock for £122,400 back in 2017

New record holder: A more exclusive RS500 had held the all-time auction record for a road-going Sierra for over five years, with Silverstone Auctions selling a 1987 example with 11,000 miles on the clock for £122,400 back in 2017

That record was eclipsed at the weekend by this 'standard' RS Cosworth, which is one of the 4,995 Ford made in order to take the Sierra racing in touring car championships and on the rally stage

That record was eclipsed at the weekend by this ‘standard’ RS Cosworth, which is one of the 4,995 Ford made in order to take the Sierra racing in touring car championships and on the rally stage

It has a documented 8,795 miles from new only. That's an average of 244 miles per annum since it came off the production line some 36 years ago

It has a documented 8,795 miles from new only. That’s an average of 244 miles per annum since it came off the production line some 36 years ago

‘Looking as crisp as ever in Moonstone Blue with a virtually unmarked Recaro grey cloth interior, just two former keepers have had the pleasure of owning this time-warp car from new,’ said Silverstone Auctions. 

‘It was dry stored in 2003 and only recently emerged from hiding to undergo a thorough recommissioning in April of this year at a cost approaching £7,000. 

‘The originality of this car cannot be underestimated, and during its preparation for the sale our vendor employed a professional detailer to present the RS in its best light and he stated that it was perhaps the finest he had ever seen.’

The weekend’s lot even included the car’s original purchase invoice – which will probably make for painful viewing for the new owner when they see it was just £16,630 back in 1986.

Using This is Money’s historic inflation calculator, that amount today translates to £53,750, which is less than half what the car sold for over the weekend.

It means the weekend’s price paid is 700 per cent above the non-adjusted original value – or 147 per cent above taking into account inflation.  

With most Sierra Cosworths were either crashed or ruined with modification by owners – or stolen by criminals – in the eighties, remaining original cars have become treasured assets these days.  

While the standard RS Cosworth might not have the rarity of the RS500, this example's record-setting value is mostly driven by how little it has been used until now

While the standard RS Cosworth might not have the rarity of the RS500, this example’s record-setting value is mostly driven by how little it has been used until now 

The Cosworth-tuned 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine produced 204bhp. The car could accelerate from 0-to-62mph in 6.2 seconds and hit an official top speed of 150mph

The Cosworth-tuned 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine produced 204bhp. The car could accelerate from 0-to-62mph in 6.2 seconds and hit an official top speed of 150mph

The RS Cosworth is famous for its aggressive body kit, which includes the 'Whale Tail' rear spoiler. Silverstone Auctions says the car was the poster boy for petrolheads in the 1980s

The RS Cosworth is famous for its aggressive body kit, which includes the ‘Whale Tail’ rear spoiler. Silverstone Auctions says the car was the poster boy for petrolheads in the 1980s

‘It’s simply remarkable to have this level of historical detail with an RS Cosworth all helping to corroborate the tiny mileage and astonishing originality,’ the auction house says, describing it as a ‘poster-boy of its era’.

Commenting on the Sierra reaching an incredible world record auction price, classic car valuations expert John Mayhead from Hagerty UK said the result had been helped by the fact the Silverstone Auctions event hosted a number of Fast Ford lots that would have drawn the attention of the most dedicated collectors of these models.

‘The sale price, well over the top estimate of £110,000 has put this car in very rare territory, usually the preserve of Group A RS400 Cosworths,’ he explained to This is Money.

‘Even the top-selling road-going RS400s haven’t reached this level at public auction, topping out at around the top Hagerty Price Guide value of £115,000.’ 

The world’s most expensive classic Transit van

The world's most expensive classic Transit: This original-condition 1972 Mk1 Ford Transit sold at the same auction for £61,875, which is the most anyone has ever paid for a classic Transit at the block

The world’s most expensive classic Transit: This original-condition 1972 Mk1 Ford Transit sold at the same auction for £61,875, which is the most anyone has ever paid for a classic Transit at the block

One of the standout vehicles to go to the block at the weekend was a vehicle you wouldn’t necessarily associate with a classic car auction…

A stunning 1972 Mk1 Ford Transit – the white van man’s favourite commercial vehicle – sold for £61,875, which is the most anyone has ever paid for a classic Transit at the block.

The ’72 example is a twin-wheel, long-wheel-base version of the Panel Custom Van, which first launched to the UK market in 1965. 

The auction house described it ahead of the weekend’s bidding as a ‘best-of-breed’ contender, saying collectors were being offered an ‘unrepeatable opportunity to acquire a rather special example of what is becoming a highly collectable vehicle’. 

Being a ‘custom’ model, it boasts features such as both left and right-hand side loading doors, up-and-over barn doors, improved seats and wood-effect dashboard trim.

The '72 example is a twin-wheel, long-wheel-base version of the Panel Custom Van, which first launched to the UK market in 1965

The ’72 example is a twin-wheel, long-wheel-base version of the Panel Custom Van, which first launched to the UK market in 1965

The auction house described it ahead of the weekend's bidding as a 'best-of-breed' contender, saying collectors were being offered an 'unrepeatable opportunity to acquire a rather special example of what is becoming a highly collectable vehicle'

The auction house described it ahead of the weekend’s bidding as a ‘best-of-breed’ contender, saying collectors were being offered an ‘unrepeatable opportunity to acquire a rather special example of what is becoming a highly collectable vehicle’

It is showing as having just 7,071 miles on the clock, though Silverstone Auctions has been hesitant about confirming this as fact

It is showing as having just 7,071 miles on the clock, though Silverstone Auctions has been hesitant about confirming this as fact

The classic commercial vehicles was described ahead of the auction as being in ‘impressive collector condition’, with the odometer showing it as covering just 7,071 miles, which the vendor believed to be correct.

While most Transit vans endure a hard life and rarely escape being scrapped once they’ve clocked six-figure mileage, this example has lived a far more sheltered existence.

It is believed to have been kept in a heated garage for over 40 years during the early part of its life. 

And once this long-term storage ended, the Transit was then bought by a previous owner, who decided to refurbish it with new paint inside and out and detailed the engine.

Once it had been thorough reconditioned, the Transit was taken by one of the former keepers to various shows and competitions to show off its originality with a great deal of success.

While most Transit vans endure a hard life and rarely escape being scrapped once they've clocked six-figure mileage, this example has lived a far more sheltered existence

While most Transit vans endure a hard life and rarely escape being scrapped once they’ve clocked six-figure mileage, this example has lived a far more sheltered existence

It is believed to have been kept in a heated garage for over 40 years during the early part of its life

It is believed to have been kept in a heated garage for over 40 years during the early part of its life

After 40 years in dry storage, the van was refurbish by its next owner with new paint inside and out. They also detailed the engine

After 40 years in dry storage, the van was refurbish by its next owner with new paint inside and out. They also detailed the engine

The last owner ahead of the sale has retained it in his private collection of significant Fords for many years, retaining its original condition. 

This includes ‘period’ touches including air horns, generation-correct wheel trims, a Radiomobile 8-Track player complete with some cartridges, a push button radio, an operators manual and  – in true white-van-man style – an old copy of a tabloid newspaper.

Commenting on the sale price, John Mayhead from Hagerty UK, told us: ‘The Transit is, as a far as Hagerty data can tell, a record for the classic transit sold at auction.’ 

Though John points out that it’s not the priciest Transit ever sold. In fact, there’s a new one in showrooms today that’s even more expensive than this.

‘The winning bid is eclipsed by the brand-new RRP of the Transit MS-RT Double Cab, at £68,169 including VAT,’ John says.

And there were a few other noteworthy motors that sold for record sums at the same event…

Other classic cars bought for record-high prices this weekend

This 1989 Jaguar XJ-S V12 Convertible, which remains unregistered and has covered just 100 miles from new, sold for a world record £131,625. It beat the previous record for a car of this ilk by a staggering £86,000

This 1989 Jaguar XJ-S V12 Convertible, which remains unregistered and has covered just 100 miles from new, sold for a world record £131,625. It beat the previous record for a car of this ilk by a staggering £86,000

Among the seven world records achieved included an unregistered 1989 Jaguar XJ-S 5.3 V12 Convertible with only 100 miles from new.

It sold for a massive £131,625, which was £86,000 higher than the previous highest sale price for a drop-top version of the classic Jag at auction.

Commenting on the weekend’s incredible auction activity, Rob Hubbard, sales director at Silverstone Auctions, said: ‘Given the tough economic situation the country currently finds itself in, this sale was a vote of confidence in classic car collecting. 

‘The international interest was the biggest we’ve seen with a strong presence of Europeans. 

‘As a result we had a good sell rate and some very satisfying new world and UK records achieved.’

Among the other record included a 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII, which made a record £72,000 for an eighth-generation example of the Japanese brand's rally car for the road

Among the other record included a 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII, which made a record £72,000 for an eighth-generation example of the Japanese brand’s rally car for the road

A 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300SL (R107) with just 6,000 miles from new also sold for a world record £75,375

A 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300SL (R107) with just 6,000 miles from new also sold for a world record £75,375

The 2010 Ford Focus RS500 (left) is now the most expensive road-going version of the modern-era Fast Ford, selling for £99,000

The lime green example also set a record for a non-limited-edition example of the Mk2 Focus RS

The 2010 Ford Focus RS500 (left) is now the most expensive road-going version of the modern-era Fast Ford, selling for £99,000. The lime green example also set a record for a non-limited-edition example of the Mk2 Focus RS

Among the other record included a 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII, which made a record £72,000 for an eighth-generation example of the Japanese brand’s rally car for the road.

A 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300SL (R107) with just 6,000 miles from new also sold for a world record £75,375, as did a pair of Ford Focus hot hatches – you can read our full report on these cars here.

There were also three UK records set over the weekend, including the sale of a one-of-90 homologation-special Ford RS200s – the road cars on which the fearsome Group B rally racer was based.

The car, in full road specification and just 7,800 miles from new, sold for £292,500.

Another UK record was set for an original DeLorean DMC-12 at £85,000 and a collector also handed over a British record £56,250 for a 1957 BMW Isetta 600 ‘Bubble car’ previously owned by racing great, Sir Stirling Moss OBE.

There were also three UK records set over the weekend, including the sale of a one-of-90 homologation-special Ford RS200s ¿ the road cars on which the fearsome Group B rally racer was based

There were also three UK records set over the weekend, including the sale of a one-of-90 homologation-special Ford RS200s – the road cars on which the fearsome Group B rally racer was based

Another UK record was set for an original DeLorean DMC-12, with a winning bid of £85,000 said to eclipse the previous highest price paid for this icon of the big screen

Another UK record was set for an original DeLorean DMC-12, with a winning bid of £85,000 said to eclipse the previous highest price paid for this icon of the big screen

Another collector handed over a British record £56,250 for this 1957 BMW Isetta 600 'Bubble car', which was previously owned by racing great, Sir Stirling Moss OBE

Another collector handed over a British record £56,250 for this 1957 BMW Isetta 600 ‘Bubble car’, which was previously owned by racing great, Sir Stirling Moss OBE

CARS & MOTORING: ON TEST

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