Last night I took the Sierra along to the Classic Car Meet at Earls Barton. It’s my final week working with Connect FM in Kettering, so it made sense to bring the car along on the way home towards Cambridge.
Last time I took the car along, I think people were more puzzled by its presence than pleased. I never wanted to put an information card on the car, because…err… in essence, I’m not “that sort” of owner. However, I agreed a bit of context would help in this case so have written the following.
At first glance, it looks like I don’t belong here.
I’m acutely aware that I stand out like the proverbial Fart in a Lift, and that my best days are probably behind me. I know my wheels are small and my appeal smaller – that my rear bumper is from a Nissan and that the dent in my side makes you wince. I’ve heard it all before.
However, as the most unremarkable car here, my story is anything but. I think it’s worthy of being told.
Far from being a cherished garage queen, I’ve spent the majority of my life ‘earning my keep’. Among other things, I’ve been a taxi, a decorators van and transport to an evangelical church on a Sunday. My previous owner didn’t maintain me, more ‘sustain’ me. (My windscreen wiper mechanism used to feature a dishcloth from the kitchen, and I’ve only got two matching wheels.) What is miraculous though, is that I still exist.
A bit like the demise of “The Corrs”, nobody can quite put their finger on the exact moment that all Ford Sierras disappeared from the roadside. Gradually though, they did – only to reappear years later as callously ‘improved’ Cosworth replicas or as Rumbelows Fridge Freezers.
However, something extraordinary happened to me.
I just kept on being used. Driven as intended. I’ve aged gracefully without interference or improvement, and have been ‘just a car’ for nearly 35 years now.
As I gently slipped from middle to old age, something else happened. People would come to see me. Not at shows or in museums, but at the side of an anonymous looking road in Clapton, North London. People would travel miles – just to see ME! I know right?! Madness.
If this is the first time you’ve seen one like me, here’s my Curriculum Vitae:
- 1.6 pinto with (count them) 4 gears
- No radio
- No cigarette lighter
- No headrests
- No rear windscreen wiper
- No intermittent front wipers
- No clock
- No central locking
- No electric windows
- No rev counter
- No wheel trims (just hub caps)
- No body mouldings or rubbing strips
- No rear seat belts
And of course I have the iconic
- Grey grille
- Dangly mirrors
I am the absolute antithesis of the Ford Sierra Cosworth. Everything IT is, I am not. In reality, the Ford Sierra Base had the accolade of being both unloved by the buying public AND the dealers who tried to sell us. I was rare then, and I’m unheard of now.
In 2016 I was purchased by a consortium of masochists from the Autoshi*e car forum, in order to be saved from an uncertain future. I have had considerable work done recently in order to secure my viability for the future, none of which has or ever will be cosmetic. Please rest assured that, whilst looking a bit worse for wear, I am loved dearly by my new owner. You can follow my (lack of) progress at https://sierrabase.wordpress.com
I am now enjoying my retirement in leafy and salubrious Cambridgeshire, a far cry from the rough and tumble of North London.
As my owner always says, “I am what I am”. A forgotten curiosity of the 1980s. Think of me as white dog poo; just a bit more enjoyable to step into. (Only by a fine margin).