Ford of Britain 100

August 6, 2013 By Mike Lee
Last updated on July 27, 2015

Ford of Britain 100 posted on 14 June 2011

1983 Ford Sierra XR4

To celebrate the centenary of Ford of Britain in 2011 the company is exploring its photo archive to reveal rarely seen images.

Ford’s unique relationship with Britain and its society will be illustrated each week by specially selected pictures.

Some vehicles are classics from day one and some become classic with time. This week’s image shows one of each.

During the early 1980s space exploration changed dramatically with the introduction of NASA’s Space Shuttle programme, a series of ‘reusable’ space craft. With design based on functionality rather than style, the Shuttles soon became classics and were instantly recognisable.

Around the same time the first operational Shuttle missions were taking place, Ford unveiled the Sierra. With its flowing lines and what was sometimes referred to as ‘jelly-mould’ styling, the Sierra was a world away from its predecessor, the iconic Cortina, and it was not an instant hit. But, like the Shuttles, the form of the Sierra followed its function with the aerodynamic curved bodywork and improved chassis providing greater stability. Inside the Sierra new additions, such as delayed action interior lights, lockable compartments and illuminated vanity mirrors, introduced a level of refinement uncommon at the time.

Today, as both vehicles approach 30, the last Shuttle prepares for retirement and the Ford Sierra has joined the ranks of the classic car. The styling that made the Ford Sierra so radical is now recognised as ground breaking and its legacy continues to be seen in Ford’s highly successful kinetic design philosopy.

Space Shuttle Ford Sierra
Introduced April 1982 (Maiden flight) September 1982
Length 56.1m 4.4m
Width 8.7m 1.7m
Weight 2,030 tons 2,182 lbs
Power 2,800,000 lb f thrust 1.3-litre – 2.3 V6