TTAC Project Car: Home and Dry!

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

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:

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!

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • Spreadsheet monkey Spreadsheet monkey on Aug 08, 2013

    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 ( 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?

  • Power6 Power6 on Aug 08, 2013

    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/4x4 models.

  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.