Ford Sierra  

 

 

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Production Saloon

Sharing Sean Brown's Group N Production Saloon Class Sierra Cosworth.

GAA V6 Debut

The debut of the V6 GAA 24 Valve Thundersaloon car. This was during the Easter Bank Holiday meeting at Brands Hatch in 1985.

GAA V6

The same car, but this was a year later, in 1986. The engine for this car came from the Mk3 Escort.

GAA V6

Taken during one of the essential driver changes of the Thundersaloon Series. Again, Brands Hatch 1986.

Sierra Porsche

The Terry Nicholls owned, Gartrac built, Porsche engined Sierra. This Thundersaloon pumped out around 700 bhp from the ex-956 sportscar flat 6. See below for more details.

Porsche Engine

One very mean looking engine. Notice where the Spark Plugs are situated.

Porsche Engine

Not much space was available for maintenance once the engine was in place.

Sierra Porsche. "The Technical Nightmare"

The Sierra Porsche debuted in 1989 and was a joint project between Terry Nicholls and myself. Gartrac built the body shell and grafted an air cooled Porsche 962, 700bhp 3.2 litre Flat Six turbo engine into the front. The air-cooled factor proved to be a problem, which manifested itself dramatically at Oulton Park.

Coming over Clay Hill just before Druids corner the car became airborne and shot across the track. The downdraft from the air cooler fan was causing a build up pressure under the front-engined car. Fortunately I managed to avoid a major incident.

Another problem we had was the fact that the spark plugs could not be changed easily because it had an engine which was designed to be in the rear fitted to the front. Also we could only ever achieve 4mpg.

Barry Williams joined me in the car at Snetterton and we actually led until a gearbox problem, costing 2000 to repair, forced us out near the end. At Zandvoort it was the fastest car down the old long front straight, topping 180mph, but it was not quite so nimble around the twisty bits. Sadly, after one disaster after another, the project ground to a halt within half-a-season as both Terry and I did not have the resources to carry on with the development.

The rolling shell went to Rob Cox, who fitted a 600bhp Pontiac engine and called it soon Black Thunder. It is now owned by Michael Bloomfield who campaigns the car with a V8 engine in the Europa Northern Sports & Saloons. The engine went to a Porsche collector in Sweden, a former bank manager. How ironic!

 

This page was last updated Tuesday September 18, 2012 08:45 PM

Copyright Rod Birley & Shawn Herrington.