1984 Ford Sierra XR4i

Highlights 


• Comprehensively restored in 2020-2021
• Class Concours winner at Shelsley Walsh 2021
• Almost completely original, inside and out


The Background


In 1982, Ford shocked the car world with the release of the futuristic, curvaceous Sierra. Initially buyers were cautious of this unusually shaped newcomer, but it soon caught on and went on to become sensationally successful.

One of the ways Ford tried to get the public onboard with their new design direction was to release a hot, sporty version of the Sierra. Thus the XR4i was born. It may only have been produced for a couple of years (it stopped in 1985), but more than 25,000 were sold and it helped rocket the Sierra into the public consciousness.

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The History


Initially registered in May 1984, this XR4i started life in the spiritual home of the fast Ford – Dagenham Motors in Barking, Essex. It remained in the area for some years, the service record confirming that the car was cared for by Dagenham Motors until at least the 36,000 mile service.

Following this, the car had a few owners before ending up in Scotland. Here it was used fairly sparingly (it’s only covered 20,000 miles since 1991) until 2006 when an MOT failure put it off the road. The owner parked it up in a barn (yes, this is an actual barn find!) and seemingly forgot about it.

Move forward 14 years to February 2020, and the current owner heard about the car and travelled to Scotland to collect it for a complete restoration. Once they got it back to their workshop, a ground-up restoration, including bare metal respray, was undertaken.

Finally completed earlier this year, the car was ready for entry into the Concours d’Elegance at Shelsley Walsh. Entered into the ‘80s Car’ class, it won ‘Best In Class’ – a testament to the time spent restoring it and sheer quality of the finished product.

The owner is now only moving the car on as they are undertaking a new restoration project and no longer have room to store the XR4i, so it’s a fantastic opportunity to get your hands on a rare, show-winning 80s automotive legend.

The Paperwork 


A comprehensive file of documentation accompanies the vehicle, confirming the car’s service history, MOT history and the work undertaken. As well as the expected V5 and MOT (which runs until October 2022), there are many previous MOT certificates, confirming the car’s mileage as far back as 1991.

Unusually, the original handbooks and sales brochure are not only present, but in truly excellent condition. In fact, the owner’s manual and service log are pristine. Also included are a couple of issues of ‘Cars’ from the early 80s, featuring the Fiesta and Sierra of the period, as well as a stack of receipts and invoices from across the vehicle’s history.

Of course, the all-important winner’s certificate from the 2021 Shelsley Walsh Concours d’Elegance is present, for added bragging rights at your local car show.

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The Interior


One of the things we really adore about this car is that the original interior is still present and complete. So many people would have replaced or re-trimmed the interior during the restoration process, but the owner was keen to keep the car as original as possible. So the original light grey cloth interior remains, following an extensive cleaning process, replete with dark grey stripes and checks on the seats, dark grey carpets and red piping on the door cards and dashboard. The owner has also fitted aftermarket black carpet mats with complementary red detailing.

As this is a nearly forty year old cloth interior, there is naturally some age-related wear and tear, and the headlining is beginning to sag in a couple of places. But generally it’s all in very good condition, we’d definitely put in the “characterful patina” category. Other than sorting the headlining, we’d probably leave the interior exactly as it is.

The dash itself is in excellent condition, with no cracking or sun damage evident. All of the switchgear (including the very cool original two-spoke XR steering wheel) is intact and everything works as it should, including the electric windows and mirrors. The only change that has been made is to the stereo system. which has been upgraded to a modern Pioneer Bluetooth head unit. Should you wish to restore it to complete factory specification, the original stereo unit will also come with the car. The cabin also features a factory-fit glass sunroof, which operates well and adds a touch of 80s glamour to proceedings.

Inside the boot, the carpets, parcel shelf and lining are in good condition, although the floor carpet has a few stains. Underneath is a full size spare ‘Pepperpot’ style alloy wheel and tyre.

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The Exterior


Where this care really shines, figuratively and literally, is on the outside. During the restoration process, the car was subject to a full shell, bare metal respray in the original Graphite Grey. This was a rare, factory order colour only available in Europe, so it makes what is already a very rare car even more desirable. The finish of the paintwork is excellent, and in combination with the new, period correct ‘XR4i’ graphics that have been added, really do make this look like it’s only just rolled out of the showroom.

The aesthetic flourishes that made the XR4i stand out from its rep-mobile brethren are all there too – the double rear side windows with XR graphics, those chunky front fog lights and the oh-so-cool double spoiler.

All of the external trim is in excellent condition, with no damage or significant wear evident. The owner has done an excellent job of restoring all of the trim to near-new condition. The theme of originality even continues with the glass – the door windows are the original items, complete with security etchings. Ford’s iconic 14” ‘Pepperpot’ alloy wheels really suit the car, and here have been fully restored and shod in high quality Uniroyal Rain Expert 3 tyres.

Underneath, the car is in exceptional condition, the owner replaced the floors, centre sills, and inner sills using original pattern panels from Ex-pressed Steel Panels in Yorkshire. Everything that could be cleaned, restored and repainted on the vehicle was. Anything that was too far gone to restore was replaced. Even a cursory glance over the car clearly shows how much work has gone into it – the owner tells us there were hundreds of hours of work completed. We think they might be underestimating…

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The Mechanics 


The XR4i is powered by the robust and much-loved 2,792cc V6 Cologne engine. The owner has carried out significant amount of work under the bonnet. Aesthetically, everything that could be cleaned, painted or replaced in the engine bay was. All of the perishable rubber hoses and gaskets were replaced. A new battery has been fitted, along with new fuel pump and Bosch K-Jetronic injection system.

On the underside, upgraded Koni suspension has been fitted, all of the brakes have been renewed and refurbished, and all of the brake lines and hoses have been renewed. You’ll also notice from the photographs that a new fuel tank has been fitted, and all of the fuel lines have been replaced. Keeping that beefy V6 breathing properly is a full stainless steel performance exhaust. The gearbox is the standard 5-speed manual, renowned for its durability and reliability. 

All of this means the car drives very well. It sounds fantastic and rides smoothly, cornering and stopping in a way that inspires confidence.

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The Appeal 


The XR4i was only produced for a couple of years, so it’s a rare old beast (less than 200 still on the road in the UK). Try and think - when was the last time you saw one of these on the road? It’s such a unique car in the range, featuring as it does a meaty V6 and many unique styling elements, such as that wonderful double-decker spoiler and the additional window pillar. Ford clearly went to a lot of trouble and expense to make the XR4i really stand-out as a true halo-car for the range.

This particular car is an even rare example, featuring the factory order, Europe only Graphite Grey paintwork. It’s a lovely colour, a warm grey with just a hint of brown to it. It gives the car a proper Q-car vibe. We also love the fact that the owner has chosen to keep the cabin as original as possible, the car wears its history on its sleeve and is all the better for it. We hate to use the ‘p’ word, but it does have a lovely patina (sorry).

It’s one thing to look great, but if the show isn’t matched by some go, then there’s very little point. Thankfully, Ford gave the XR4i some serious muscle in the shape of the 150bhp 2.8-litre Cologne V6 engine. By today’s standards that may not sound like much, but when the car weighs just 1,200Kg, it gives it a properly healthy dose of shove. You’ll shoot from a standstill to 60mph in 8 seconds and won’t stop charging until north of 120mph.

So it looks great, it’s been comprehensively and sympathetically restored, it handles well, goes like a stabbed rat and sounds wonderful. What more could you possibly want? Well, it just so happens this is a show-winning Concours car. With stacks of history and documentation. And it’s a rare, early 80s fast Ford – if you’re looking for a retro or classic vehicle that’s almost certain to increase in value significantly while also providing you with all the driving enjoyment a petrolhead could want, then this is the car for you.

Just please don’t put fluffy dice in the windscreen.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1984
  • Make Ford
  • Model Sierra
  • Colour Grey
  • Odometer 93,172 Miles
  • Engine size 2792
  • Town Stourbridge
  • Location West Midlands
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
15 bids from 8 bidders
  • Do•••• £14,750 13/12/21
  • mh•••• £14,500 13/12/21
  • ro•••• £14,250 13/12/21
  • mh•••• £14,000 12/12/21
  • ga•••• £13,500 12/12/21
  • mh•••• £13,250 11/12/21
  • mh•••• £12,000 10/12/21
  • La•••• £10,250 10/12/21
  • mh•••• £10,000 06/12/21
  • Ja•••• £7,500 06/12/21

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