A practical sports saloon for all seasons, Ford’s Sierra XR4x4 brought steroid-fed four-wheel drive to the man on the street. Counteracting German dominance and the subsequent premiums for automotive street-cred elite, the XR4x4 provided enough clout to wage war on Audi’s road-going Quattro without breaking the bank.
Providing an almost unbeatable combination of price, pace and practicality, the Sierra XR4x4 took traditional rivals outside for a Dagenham-sponsored spanking. Originally powered by the 2.8-liter Cologne V6 engine and launched as a direct successor to the XR4i, slick roads and testing conditions were no match for two viscous differentials. In the right hands, the four-wheel powered Sierra was unstoppable.
A facelifted model arrived for the turn of 1990 with extra power under the bonnet and improved economy. Utilizing electronic fuel injection, Ford’s new highly efficient 2.9-liter V6 churned out 148bhp. Quite frankly, this is the variant to seek from the classifieds.
Except, now hailed as an example of Ford’s finest, the XR4x4 commands a hefty price tag. Healthy specimens frequently breach the £15,000 ($25k, €22k) mark, slowly pushing ownership away from enthusiasts and towards the collector. But there's a secondary path to XR4x4 ownership – purchasing a project.
This one rolled off the production line in 1990 installed with the 2.9-litre V6, and comes with its own hedge.
There’s 65,369 miles on the clock and all manner of creatures living within the cabin, but all components are present and correct. Give the interior a deep clean and you’ll be whisked back in a legitimate time machine.
The vendor claims this Sierra would make a solid restoration project, with little in the way of serious corrosion to be found. The underside is a tad crusty having been exposed to the elements, but Ford’s infamous factory-installed tin worm has barely feasted on those structural weak points.
There is some evidence of previous welding jobs on the rear wheel arches, and the paintwork showcases various slabs of algae and stained vegetation, but these aspects could be solved with some elbow grease and TLC.
Naturally, having sat outside for an indeterminable amount of time, brakes lines will have perished. Fuel lines will also need replaced. As for the engine, we’d advise you undertake a full-blown service before even trying to turn the ignition. A strip-down rebuilt is recommended.
Yet, more to the point, is the £3000 ($3900, €3400) asking price justified? Judging by the current market and spiralling values for anything with that worshipped blue oval up front, it appears the price is right.
At the end of the project you'll have arguably one of the finest handling saloons from the 1980s, boasting 'hedge find' provenance. And with the way collector car premiums are heading, you'll reap back all purchase and restoration costs, too. Feeling up to the challenge? Get a closer look at the 1990 Ford Sierra 4x4 here.
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