By on June 3, 2012

It happened. TTAC finally has their very own Ford Sierra.

It’s true: the UK-spec Ford Sierra I promised to TTAC readers has arrived.  Well actually two Brits, as our man Captain Mike Solo imported both his Peugeot 205 1.6 GTI and my Ford Sierra Ghia at the same time.  And while I eagerly awaited the Sierra’s arrival in Houston, I could not meet the ship at the port. The precious cargo went up to an official military delivery area in Dallas, about 4-5 hours away.

If you think getting the car from Europe to USA was tough, try making the journey from Houston to Dallas.

Due to timing between my work schedule, the storage fees at the receiving area and Captain Mike’s legal signature required to take delivery, the Sierra waited for at least another month before getting home.

Mike signed for both British beauties (so to speak) and proceeded to trailer off his pretty little Pug. Apparently the staff was more impressed with the bizarre brown space ship on wheels, though most of that credit goes to the exhaust leak from the 2.0L Pinto mill.

One of my racer friends from the 24 Hours of LeMons, Brian Pollock of Property Devaluation Racing, promised to tow it from the place you see here to his workshop filled with similarly bizarre and crappy old Fords.

But then the starter in Brian’s Cummins I-6 converted Ford F-350 took a dump.  No dice. He had a friend in the tow truck business who’d do us a solid, and deliver the car to Brian for $125.  Considering the alternative of leaving the Sierra in this spot, I gladly paid that. I don’t like how that white S10 is staring at my Rio Brown Ghia goodness!

And there it goes.  The deliciously Brown Ford is off to meet LeMons cars, LeMons racers and eventually…its very Brown-toned new owner.

           So what’s up with the random belt shot?  This is one of the many steps required to get me (safely) over to Dallas. See, the Mehta fleet includes a 2006 Lincoln Navigator with a ROUSH Supercharger from an F-150.  And while the roots-style fed, tubular exhaust header equipped Navigator sucks down plenty of premium fuel, the massive torque and close ratio 6-speed transmission makes towing damn near anything a breeze.  But, just in case, here’s the part number if the belt decides the Sierra isn’t a worthy trailer queen.

Luckily there was no need for drama, the Supercharged Navigator happily made it here.  There’s my Sierra!  FINALLY!

And after spending far too much time trying to get the Sierra on the back of the stupid fast Navigator, it was ready to go home. Note my smile with the ratchet straps, as I am terrible with these things.  Combined with the stress of my normal work week, the labor involved in making this day happen and my level of exhaustion while driving up to Dallas, this was no small feat. I need to clone myself.

But still, there’s always time to smile.  Even if all my friends know it’s official: I’m absolutely nuts!

And it got worse.  Apparently the Sierra was homesick, longing for some proper UK weather.  The rain went from British charm to Gulf Coast beat down in a matter of minutes.  I took this terrible shot while filling the Navigator at the gas station: the wind was so strong I was soaked under the station’s prodigious roof. The day went from tiring to absolutely miserable.

But with a bit of caffeine, my two road trip buddies Todd and Angie, the open highway and the amazing view at my back…well, it was all worth it. I doubt I’ll ever have another automotive purchase experience like this one.  And FWIW, the Supercharged Navigator got 9 MPG on the way back.

Annnnd we’re back!  The weather cleared up in the Bayou City just long enough to get the Sierra off the trailer.  And, as the Brits say, the Sierra is now “home and dry” with the rest of the Mehta fleet, some of them shown here.

This is also a good time to mention the theme song for this milestone:

YouTube Preview Image

I gotta see you, I gotta be with you,

We’ll make it better now in every way,

Yes, home and dry.

So what’s next?  Fixing that massive exhaust leak, coming from the gap between the engine and the  manifold. Too bad the hood release also decided to fail.  On the plus side, I finally bought a proper set of Ford shop manuals, sporting this helpful diagram. Looks like I’m spending one morning with the Sierra, a pair of jacks, a flashlight and one very, VERY long screwdriver.

Thank you all for reading.  Get your hands dirty and enjoy your Sunday!

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34 Comments on “TTAC Project Car: Home and Dry!...”


  • avatar
    fiasco

    Let me know if you need a hood cable, I bet an XR4Ti one will fit, and I think I still have a spare or three.

  • avatar
    drylbrg

    Congratulations on the new arrival! I expect cigars to be handed out to all. In way of getting my hands dirty I’m about to start replacing the entire wiring harness for my ’71 Camaro. Any and all prayers would be appreciated.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Painless wiring kit? Or something similar in another brand? I did this to a 72 Camaro some years ago, was pretty easy for the most part, just ake sure you’ve properly grounded the harness and it should be pretty straight forward.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Great looking little car, this should be fun. Are you still planning an engine swap, and if so, to what?

  • avatar
    Wheeljack

    The cable popping off the latch is a common issue on both of your Sierra’s stateside cousins, the Merkur XR4Ti & Scorpio. Chances are the cable is probably fine.

    Check the Merkur Club of America forum under the FAQ section and there is a thread there on how to open the hood if the cable breaks/pops off.

    Anyway, enjoy your Euro Ford. I’ve been enjoying my Scorpio for about the past month or so when I decided to park the Stratus and re-activate the insurance on the Scorp. Man…I forgot what well designed brakes feel like! Just need to get some tires and fix my leaky evaporator and that’s it…everything will be working as it was 24 years ago when it rolled out of the Cologne plant.

  • avatar
    ajla

    You’re going to need a custom “noMerkur” license plate on this thing.

    One day you need to get together with Sanjay and convince him to let you do a writeup on the entire family fleet. You two manage to have so many cars and I have a tough time with just four.

  • avatar
    B.C.

    Congrats!

    Not that you need it anymore, but K080620 = Gates 8 rib 62.0″ serpentine belt, from my days of stuffing superchargers into random unsuspecting vehicles.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Glad it got to you in one piece. I’ve owned a couple of Sierra’s over the years and I loved them both to bits. Great handling and easy and cheap to fix. Have fun!

  • avatar
    chris724

    That is one impressively brown fleet of Fords! I liked the theme song too! Funny I was listening to Baker Street just a minute ago. Now I’m on to ELO.

  • avatar
    Travis

    Would you mind doing an article about what exactly was necessary to import it or just talk about it here a little? I’m incredibly interested in that part of your journey so far :X

    • 0 avatar
      PeteRR

      Seconded. I’ve got a hankering for a LR Defender and before I start responding to UK classifieds I’d like to be better informed on the import process.

  • avatar
    Thabo

    A neighbor here has about 5 of these in his yard — parts cars….

  • avatar
    SuperACG

    Is that a 69-71 Lincoln Mark III?! I’M JEALOUS! And it better be on stock size wheels, Mr. Vellum Venom!

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Ford Sierra = one of the prettiest cars ever. Please be nice to it.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Nice fleet Amigo… I’m jealous.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Too bad about it becoming a LeMons racers, that kind of ruins it with the roll cage, etc.

    Better to keep as a collectible.

  • avatar
    Shipwright

    I was wondering what happened to the Sierra, it’s been such a long time since the last update. I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do with it.

  • avatar
    Garak

    From an European perspective it’s kind of funny to see someone excited over a lowly Sierra, but then again, a base-level Crown Vic draws a crowd on this side of the pond.

  • avatar
    gessvt

    Neat car. Ya gotta bleed Ford blue to get something like that stateside.

    What’s the plan, Sajeev? Keep it as is, Turbo 4 or Windsor V8?

  • avatar
    dave504

    Let me get this straight. You guys went through all of the trouble importing a non-Cosworth Ford Sierra when you could have just purchased an identical xr4ti instead? And you’re going to swap out the Pinto motor anyway? I thought the idea of importing a car was to actually get something you can’t get here. Anyway, I think you guys win the award for most pointless project car. You should swap in a turbo 2.3 to make it even more redundant.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      You can’t get the 5 door version stateside can you? Not too mention it’s probably a tiny bit lighter than a Xr4ti. But yeah, it would be kinda pointless if you don’t just looove Sierras (like I do :P) ;)

  • avatar
    28-cars-later

    So Sajeev what sort of commandments do I have to break to get access to some of the iron in that hanger?

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    Just how many Lincoln’s and Ford LTD’s do you have in there?

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    I was about to say ‘my sympathies’ until I saw the maximum brown Sierra is heading to LeMons. God speed, and don’t let Gerry Rafferty sing you into a coma.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Nice to see it finally reach it’s destination. I hope you can do a decent job on this thing. Would be a shame to ruin what is probably a rare car in the US.
    Needs a 5.0 or a Honda S2000 Engine (not the slow longstroke US version) Colour and styling is perfect for a proper sleeper, so don’t hurt its look more than adding lowering springs and maybe 15 inch wheels ;)

  • avatar
    noxioux

    Just a thought, but how about a 300 straight-6, running long tube headers out the fender for color?

    It also needs an asymmetrical light-brown racing stripe down the hood/roof/boot. And don’t forget to paint the roll-cage a completely different brown as well.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    The South Africans put a 5.0l Mustang V8 into the Sierra and called it the XR8. On the race track it was affectionately called “the Animal”.
    This is a suggestion ;-)

  • avatar
    iainthornton

    5.0 should be a good engine for this.

    Also, out of interest, why the hell did you want it?

  • avatar
    angiem357

    A couple of you got that mixed up. He didn’t say it’s going to be a LeMon. What he said was that when the vehicle was shipped over here, it ended up at a LeMons guy’s house with LeMons cars. He personified the car as meeting those cars and people. Trust me…Jeeves is NOT going to LeMonify this one!

  • avatar
    spreadsheet monkey

    Great choice Sajeev. Love your dedication to Ford. The Sierra is the British version of the Taurus – shockingly avantgarde when it was launched, but soon became a staple part of suburban family life.

    The car had a long production life from 1982-1993, but few remain on British roads today. Most succumbed to rust, but a few died a more heroic death on the oval track (http://www.spedeworth.co.uk/incarace/formula.php?name=LR)

    Can I ask why you specifically chose a brown 2.0L 5 door? A small number of Sierras came with a 2.8L V6 and AWD, and the car was also available as a cleaner-looking 3 door (although these are rare). Well done for chosing the Ghia model. This is the “Brougham” of the Sierra range, although it was never available with a padded vinyl roof, the Ghia name on any Ford used to carry significant bragging rights in suburban Britain back in the 1980s.

    And the guy with the 205 GTI? He’s a brave man driving such a lightweight car on the SUV-packed streets of Texas. The 205 GTI is widely seen as the best car Peugeot has made in the last 30 years (or more), and casts a very long shadow over the current range. How will he manage for parts/servicing in the US?

  • avatar
    Power6

    I have to admit I am far more interested in the 205GTi. The Sierra to me is neat to look at but not that interesting outside of Cosworth/4×4 models.


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