[Euro-American Classics] European Ford Taurus : the Sierra

Euro-American? That's starting to sound weird... but a lot of models of american brands have been specially produced for European countries. Ford is a big adept of this kind of work, and the well known Fords in Europe aren't the same as USA... for example, Mustang, Focus, Taurus, F-150 are all unknown cars for Europeans. Let's talk about the Taurus's european cousin, the Ford Sierra (don't mix with the GMC Sierra sold here!)

An european Taurus

The original 1982 one.

When you first see the pic of a Sierra, it's hard to believe that the model was introduced in 1982. Designed by Patrick Le Quément, it was intended to replace the more classics Ford Cortina and Taunus, but is shocked a lot of people, mainly because of its futuristic style (futuristic for the 80's, you understand :)). Its styling was called the "aero" Ford design, but a lot of people nicknamed the car "Jellymould" or "Salesman's Spaceship" because of it. Sales were effectively low at the beginning, but it paid off around 86-87, and the car became really popular.

1991 Sierra Sapphire.

Initially, the car was sold as a 5-door sedan and 5-door wagon, as well as a 3-door hatchback. Strangely, even if it was intended to be a large family car, no 4-door saloon was offered, and this was another reason of the lack of the popularity of the beginning. Ford addressed this mistake in 1987 by introducing the 4-door Sierra, along with a facelift of the car. The 4-door was named Sierra Sapphire. The Sierra is registered as the tenth most popular car sold in Britain's history, with a total of nearly 1,300,000 units! In the beginning of the 90's, it was clear though that the car has fallen out of step against more modern Japanese rivals, and it was replace by the Mondeo in 1993.

Majorette, the mighty european maker, introduced the Sierra as the number 272 in its regular casting line. As you can see with the pictures, it is the 5 door original sedan, before the facelift. As always with old Majorettes like this, it's an awesome casting, really accurate, with opening doors and working suspensions. Unfortunately, i tried to repaint the one i have when i was a kid.... and well it didnt give a sooo good result. I saved the car recently, but before i bought a drill, so it's still average. The original had red decorations everywhere though.

Sportier versions

Sierra XR4i.

In 1983, Ford introduced a sportier version called the XR4i. The car was easily distinguable with its huge rear spoiler and strange multiple rear pillars. It was equipped with the same 2.8L as the Ford Capri. Unfortunately, it was recognized as over-stylized, and never been so much popular in its time. It was also sold in the USA as a Merkur, a special brand created by Ford to sell european cars. The XR4i appeared in a lot of races, noticably in the BTCC racing league. Further sporty versions were introduced after 1985, such as the XR4x4 (four wheel drive with a V6) and the famous Sierra Cosworth (famous for its rally success). Turbocharged versions were also availabe, reaching up to 280 hp. Those were real killers!

Matchbox produced a nice version of the XR4i from 1982 to 1997 in its regular line. It was produced in a variety of colors, from flower "kid-version" to a fire department one! The one i own is the yellow with black interior one. Strangely, it's written XR4x4 on the sides, even if it's a XR4i... This Matchbox #120 is really well made (i must admit, i'm a huge fan of those 80's Matchbox). It lacks the side mirrors, but the spoiler is really well made, and the sunroof is a nice addition!

I also own an intriguing white Welly Ford Sierra XR4i. Welly earned a reputation of copying other diecast brands (not with their recent diecasts though), and this one is a clear rip-off of the Matchbox one. Although it's nowhere identified as a Ford Sierra, you can easily recognize the model, and the blue oval on the hood screams Ford. Cheapier than the Matchbox, it's still a nice diecast in my humble opinion, and the rear spoiler is admirably well done. Offered in the Speed Wheels serie, it was one of my favorite as a child (why? i don't remember that :)), and i still keep it carefully.
Enjoy the pics! Don't be afraid to leave comments!


  1. I'm a big fan of diesel engines because of their efficency; too bad they aren't as popular here in the U.S as in Europe.

  2. Yep, and the diesel engines we got here aren't the same technology as the european one :(