Historic fast Fords being desirable is hardly a new phenomenon; the combination of big-selling popularity and motorsport success ensure a devoted following among impressionable young minds. What is new, however, is the latest generation of Blue Oval offerings now making the grade - or at least trying to.
Take this Mondeo ST24, for example. Not old enough - or significant enough, you could argue - to be considered any kind of modern classic. Right? But the Mondeo is now more than 25 years old, meaning the very earliest cars (if one can be found) do qualify as classics. Moreover, the ST24 was launched in 1998, and this particular example is now 20 years old. A similar age, in fact, to the very earliest Focuses. Time does move fast.
Moreover, the V6 Mondeo was the first ST-badged Ford, an accolade that's becoming more notable as further additions are made to the range. Only this week an ST badged was slapped on a 400hp Explorer in the States, and that's in addition to a host of hilarious Focuses and Fiestas. It might be the junior fast Ford billing, but a favourable reputation is now well and truly assured. You expect ST Fords to be good, put simply, which hasn't always been the case.
Perhaps an even more important factor in assessing the ST24's classic status, though, is its scarcity. Now, of course, a car needs to be more than rare to qualify as something worth saving, but the rate at which numbers have dwindled is incredible. In 2008 there were 6,546 Mondeo ST24s registered in the UK; a decade of scrappage, rust and crashes later, and there are just 395 remaining by 2018's numbers. They can't be far off an endangered species TV appeal.
And while the 2.5-litre ST24 wasn't quite the pukka fast Ford the ST200 was (Jamie Oliver having got less popular in this century too, funnily enough), it still delivered decent handling in that late-90s Ford fashion. Lower than a standard Mondeo and with a modest-but-not-unappealing bodykit, it arguably cut more of a dash than its contemporaries from Vauxhall and VW as well.
Anyway, the ST24 was reasonably good and probably worth saving, finding itself in a similar position to where the XR Sierras were not long ago. Is it worth saving for £5,000, though? Those who purchased them at Shed money will surely scoff, but you only need look at the drastic decline in numbers, the values of Sierras and the affection for the Mondeo badge in the UK to see where things might be headed.
Alternatively, buyers desperate for a 90s rep racer should still be able to secure an Accord Type R for £5k and have more fun (though may need to bide their time), and if it has to be a V6 Mondeo then the newer and faster ST220 is still in budget. All of which means there are plenty of reasons why you might want to spend £5k on a Mondeo ST24 - and many why you might not. Given the dealer's name, it's clear to see where they think values are headed - so what about you?
SPECIFICATION - FORD MONDEO ST24
Engine: 2,544cc, V6
Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 170@6,250rpm
Torque (lb ft): 162@4,250rpm
Year registered: 1999
Recorded mileage: 54,000
Price new: £NA
Yours for: £4,995