Logic dictates a secondhand car/house/boat or even jet is only worth what somebody else is willing to pay for it. If someone is happy to shell out £200,000 for a whaletail Sierra then that's what it's worth, no arguments.
That's shocking, right? Only it shouldn't be.
In the US, the average price of one of the 34 1965 Mustang 350Rs is $800,000, with the best cars making almost a million. So why can't the closest thing we have to a Pony car be equally valuable? After all, just 500 RS500s were made - that's half the number of 1973 911 Carrera 2.7 RSs and, like the Porsche, the road car's reputation is built on the solid foundation of phenomenal success in motorsport.
Even today this is a special, special car, the homologation provenance of the 500 road cars only adding further to the values.
In its time, its performance was outrageous, boasting 20hp more than the already fearsome Cossie, the RS500 produced a towering 227hp from its blown 2.0-litre Pinto, the added power coming from a larger (read laggier) Garrett T4 turbocharger. Ford also added a larger intercooler and doubled the injector count from four to eight. Visually, of course, there's the ultra-cool extra air intake above the bumper and the extra tip on the rear spoiler - it was a car spotter's delight.
And those trademark aero bits worked too, that whaletail delivering almost 100kg of downforce at 100mph and a vital part of the performance that took Steve Soper, Andy Rouse and Tim Harvey to all their wins. Out of the 500 cars, just four were used to develop the faster RS500 and herein lies the confusion over our £200,000 Cosworth.
Chassis #001 now lives in Norway and its owner, perhaps, isn't quite as clued up as the rabid fanbase that surrounds these cars. Instead of being built in-house by Ford as claimed in the description, #001 was actually built with the rest of its siblings by Tickford. During the development one of the four cars was involved in a very bad accident but didn't need re-shelling. Instead, it was repaired by a local dealer under the shroud of secrecy. The re-shelling of #001 must have happened later and is either a big deal or not quite the hoo-ha you'd imagine, depending on who you speak to.
Ford RS Owners Registrar, Paul Linfoot, says a new chassis isn't the end of the world as it is, in his words, a "serviceable part". But for top money the RS500 must be HPI clear and been repaired using a correct period shell, stamped with matching numbers by the repairing Ford dealer. And there's a caveat. The shells sold as parts after the limited 500-unit run of RS500s are different to the ones fitted to production cars. The tow hook was relocated and, the bit that really grates purists, the later shells have a rear bulkhead off the Sapphire. In any case seek advice and pay for an inspection.
Linfoot advises buyers to also ask for real pictures of the car in question, to judge the quality restoration. The images you see are library images, so make sure you see before you buy. Finally, development cars were driven fast and very hard by Ford engineers and have something described by RS500 fans, charitably, as a 'unique patina' that some owners love and others just can't live with.
Legend has it, the hand cut spoilers were a little rough and ready but, again, that may add charm. As far as money goes, it might alarm you to know chassis #001, isn't the most valuable RS500 Cosworth around.
If you own an RS500 and it just happens to be car number 500 of 500. You might want to take a seat because there are collectors out there searching for your car. One of whom, PH spoke to, will happily pay you £250,000 to take it off your hands...
FORD SIERRA RS500 COSWORTH
Engine: 1,993cc, 4-cyl turbocharged
Transmission: 5-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 227@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 204@4,500rpm
First registered: 1987
Recorded mileage: 42,000 miles
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £200,000
See the original advert here
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