2000E - "Sophia"

Having made the crazy decision not to wait until passing my driving test, I started looking to buy my Sierra Sapphire in August 2005 and found a few likely examples on both AutoTrader and eBay. The intention was to buy one that was already fitted with the Cosworth bodykit and alloys and preferably in blue, my favourite colour. A tall order considering the amount of Sierras left on the road, but a likely candidate in my price range was available to view in Gillingham, Kent. The car was a 2000E, first registered in 1990 finished in metallic Tasman Blue and a rare manual example. Before I got my hopes up, I made sure that I would be able to obtain insurance and once a suitable quote was received, I made an appointment to view the car and arrived by train.

The address was within walking distance from the station and before I got there, I spotted the car parked out on the street. Time for a quick once-over before meeting the owner and I was very pleased with what I saw. No visible rust on any of the usual Sierra troublespots, tidy grey leather interior and lattice-style alloys and generally good paintwork on the panels. The only issues I could see was that the spoiler was the RS-type, not a Cosworth one and had been badly sprayed with a rattle can, the bonnet was a slightly lighter shade of blue and the drivers wing had also been resprayed and didn’t quite match. None of this mattered though as I had made the cardinal sin of falling for the very first car I viewed. “Hello Sophia, you’re going to be mine”, I thought.

The owner was a nice chap who obviously cared a great deal about the car, so much so he had turned down previous offers because he wanted to make sure it would be going to a good home. Financial circumstances prevented him from keeping the car himself, so an offer was made and accepted with a deposit left. Arrangements were then made for a friend to accompany me down on the Saturday to pick the car up and drive it back home. Once the paperwork was signed and the money changed hands, the car was mine. As of October 1st 2005, I was the proud owner of my own Ford Sierra Sapphire. How lucky I felt to have one as my first car :oD

Once I’d got over the initial excitement, I booked the car in for a full service and made plans to make a good car even better. First item bought was an immobiliser, quickly followed by a set of parking sensors and a Cosworth spoiler to replace the old RS-option one.

An early shot taken in summer 2006. Note the slightly undersize wheels.
Rear view - that RS-option spoiler had to go, and that rusty tailpipe!

In the meantime, I used the car for practice between proper lessons, much to my instructor’s chagrin as his Vauxhall Corsa felt totally inferior (particularly the gearbox!) after driving the silky smooth, not to mention powerful, 2000E. I wasn’t shy about letting him know it too!!

After passing my driving test in February 2006, I was then able to enjoy the car properly and as well as commuting to work, I attended a few FSOC pub meets and exhibited at shows such as Classic Ford, Ford Fair and the Ford Sierra Owners Club National Day. I also enrolled on a ‘Car Maintenance for Women’ course because I wanted to be able to change a tyre and do basic servicing like oil and filter changes, plus learn about the mechanics of my car. So much so that I’ve managed to change both rear brake callipers and change a full set of wheels over as well as other servicing, albeit under the watchful eye of Sprintex ;o)

Since owning Sophia, the Cosworth spoiler has been painted and fitted; the bonnet has been replaced with a Tasman Blue one, an RS badge added to the bootlid and the rear door trims have been changed to ones with the ‘Sapphire’ badge. The wheels, although the correct lattice design for a Cosworth replica, were actually found to be 14” ones from and Escort rather than the correct 15” items so these were also replaced giving her a much more purposeful look. The only giveaway that she isn’t a real Cosworth are the chrome window surrounds and the original ‘Sapphire 2000E’ badge on the bootlid. Mechanically the car has remained pretty much standard as the 2.0i twin-cam engine is easily powerful enough and despite her Cosworth aspirations, externally she is to remain a ‘comfortable cruiser’. Replacing the standard air filter with a K+N Induction Kit and fitting a Scorpion stainless exhaust backbox has made the car more responsive in the midrange, as well as adding to the aesthetic noises ;o)

Genuine Cosworth spoiler and nice big shiny tailpipe, but no pretentions as she is still proudly badged as a 2000E, albeit with the addition of 'RS' letters.

A later photo with the correct 15" lattice alloys and Cosworth rear spoiler.

Sophia was retired as my daily drive in August 2009 and as hard as that decision was, it was the right thing to do. I would much rather keep her for many years in good condition instead of being run into the ground in a couple of years and seeing her sent to the great Ford dealership in the sky. As the Sierra was one of the first cars to use engine sensors, a broker sensor which cannot be replaced would effectively end the useful life of the car, so it makes sense to stockpile these items and keep mileage to a minimum. A full restoration is in the pipeline with most parts squirreled away. The tow bar will be removed and ready to be fitted are four A1 condition doors, a full set of polybushes, a replacement Cosworth front bumper and chin spoiler and four diamond cut lattice alloys amongst other service items. After the restoration, a respray in Tasman Blue is planned but with a subtle hint of rainbow metal flake to complement her chrome trim and diamond cut alloys.

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