By on November 28, 2011


In our last installment, our Sierra was found by one of TTAC’s Best and Brightest. Now our brown-hued “Salesman’s Spaceship” gets lost in shipping space for a few weeks, crossing a very large pond.  Don’t worry little British Ford, America will be very, very kind to you.

Captain Mike Solo’s European USAF adventure is now over, but Citizen Solo (actually he’s in the Air Force Reserves, but Citizen Solo sounds epic) might go back to the land of small meal portions and super trick road courses built around quaint German towns. Not so for my Sierra. A more clever man than I would insert a Bertel Schmitt-ish Euro-Asian Corporate Marriage reference, but I am too lost in Ford’s cutting edge past to think about most anything else.

And yes, that low mile, super clean Peugeot 205 GTI (1.6L*) belongs to our Captain Solo…and it will be Texas bound along with the Sierra. More on that later, as we are here to celebrate the insanity that is the importation of a Ford Sierra Ghia.  Importing a 205 GTI actually (kinda) makes sense, relatively speaking. And don’t we all hate being normal? Normal-ish?

Going with the Sierra’s story is a change of shipping venue, chosing a USAF-backed shipper that made our lives easier…except that the delivery changed from the nearby Port of Houston to somewhere in Dallas!  What kind of magic boat docks in landlocked Dallas?

I suspect I will find that out later. For now I am getting ready for my Sierra’s arrival. Make no mistake, I am super pumped.  In true TTAC Piston Slap form, I bought a decent (i.e. not factory) shop manual from a UK bookseller via eBay. Two more are on the way…perhaps landing at the same time as the Sierra?


You might ask yourself, why not get a USA Merkur shop manual?  Cost issues for one: I paid less for three UK books (including shipping) compared to the Merkur stuff I found on eBay.  Not to mention the 1983 Sierra is significantly different from any Merkur, so the proper UK manual is needed. Too bad I might need a translator for some of this:

“Dampers and their upper and lower mountings differ between saloon and estate models.” 

Well hot damn, son! Can you please tell me that in American? I thought this Sierra is like my friend Bubba’s Ford Pinto!

Was that even mildly entertaining?  I certainly am giggling.  And from the moment it arrives to the moment the project finishes off with a trip to the local Cars and Coffee parking lot, owning a Rio Brown 1983 Ford Sierra Ghia will be an absolute hoot. I can’t wait to begin the lunacy, stateside.

More to come. And more to the point, Merry Christmas to…well, ME.

*Our Pug savvy readership will note the 1.9L wheels, but rest assured, they were added after the fact. This is the 1.6.

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15 Comments on “TTAC Project Car: Coming to America!...”

  • avatar

    “Dampers and their upper and lower mountings differ between saloon and estate models.” Am I the only one saying this out loud in a faux British accent?

  • avatar

    You really want to pick up the OE shop manual. If just for the wiring diagrams. Aftermarket manuals just don’t compare in that dept.

  • avatar

    Have no fear, the US Merkur people will help you with anything you may need. If I can’t figure something out, I know the people who can.

    Maybe I should paint my LeMons-candidate XR4Ti brown and get Ghia badges for it. :)

  • avatar

    “Dampers and their upper and lower mountings differ between saloon and estate models.”

    You must be the first people on earth to find a dry as dust autodata manual funny. But then I found a copy of Car & Driver hilarious with its description of a Pontiacs steering as “suitably target seeking”.

    Clearly the writer was discomfited with praising something as esoteric as steering so had to drop in a military metaphor to lend it credibility with the red neck crowd.

    Nice Jellymould by the way.

  • avatar

    I’m giggling myself thinking about how my Sierra will turn out. As for the language in the manuals, it’s nowhere near as bad as the incredible way they try to avoid any shortcut in any description in the books (especially Haynes manuals) When I bought my first Sierra I had little first-hand experience in working on cars, and I followed the book step by step. Any time I’ve tried the same operation later I’ve saved hours on not following thew book step by step.
    It does help that the Sierra is ridiculously easy to work on, especially if it’s a 2.0 Pinto engine.
    Love the 205 GTi too, even if it’s a wrong wheel drive car, they are reasonably exciting (not as insane as a 1.9 Gti though) It’s not easy to find a nice one anymore.

  • avatar

    I’ve always thought “dampers” is a much better term than “shock absorbers”. Mostly it’s the springs that absorb the shock, then the dampers damp out the oscillations (bouncing) of the spring and the mass attached to it. I expect “shock absorber” was coined by some one in sales or marketing.

  • avatar

    Just don’t peel out and drive over the curb when leaving the Cars & Coffee.

    • 0 avatar

      Why would you say that? Have you actually seen Sajeev do that in his panther?

      You CAN do that in a panther – my late uncle Gilbert used to do it all the time, just before they took his license away. All his Marquis needed was a front end alignment.

      • 0 avatar

        You can…but if you do it at Cars and Coffee, you just look like the stereotypical car show loser that can’t drive but thinks he’s a real hot shoe.

        Nobody wants to be THAT guy.

      • 0 avatar

        It was a reference to the corvette videos Jack Baruth posted on Friday. One of them was a guy leaving Cars & Coffee. The driver managed to jump a curb after romping the gas pedal and barely missed some photographers…who happened to film the whole thing.

  • avatar

    Captain Solo?

    Please tell me his call sign is “Han”…

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