Proudly South African: Chapter 1, Part 3.
The third and last installment of our muscle car heritage.
For now, this is the final South African Muscle Car article.
3. Ford Sierra XR8. (1986)
Weirdly, this is by far my favourite of the three even though it’s the slowest, least good looking and the newest. I probably like it most because you can still get them for a decent price and they are very underrated. All Sierra’s were plain and simply good cars. There were dreary inline 4 cylinders, V6’s, “hot” XR6’s V6’s (barely faster than the normal V6 due to a different rear end ratio) and of course the amazing Cosworth, which we did not get. Obviously we did not get that one. FORD SA set out to make their own big wanged performance Sierra round about the same time the Cossie came out. They copied Basil Green’s idea. Take the good V6 car, fit a shitty underpowered 302 V8 in it, change the styling and colour a bit and Bob’s Your Uncle. Even though the V8 only made about 225hp, it was a rocket ship compared to the 150hp XR6. The front suspension and steering was not screwed up by any fitments or the extra weight of the V8. Though, the steering column does make it very hard to fit the driver side exhaust manifold. It was still a comfortable four door sedan with a big boot. It was still a Sierra. I also like how they weren’t advertised as a “masterpiece” or anything like that. The ads were more like: “This is a V8 Sierra, you know you want one, come and buy it”. Unfortunately, they are also heavily copied and replicated by enthusiasts like the other two which gets fucking boring real quick.
Specs and Facts:
There were only 250 built, making it much rarer than a Cosworth and the RS500 version. It made around 215-225hp / 160k-167W) and 270lb.ft/370Nm (some say 330Nm which I don’t want to believe). Not great then. This is due to an absurdly low compression ratio of 8.3-8.5 depending on sources. It weighted 1275ish kilograms, could do 0-100km/h under 7 seconds (barely, 6.7 seconds) and a standing quarter in around 15.3 seconds. It would eventually go on to a top speed of 144mph / 232km/h. In the hands of Willie Hepburn and his team, the XR8 became a track weapon and pretty much dominated everything
I will be creating a poll for you guys to vote your favourite of the three contestants.
Drop a comment and tell me what you think, assuming that you’ve actually read this.
I hope you enjoyed this little trip through SA muscle.