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Ford Sapphire



In South Africa, the Sierra range featured both the hatchback and station wagon and production began at the Silverton (Pretoria) plant in 1985/6. The restyled Sierra range differed from its European equivalent by featuring the traditional black grille of the Sierra Sapphire sedan known simply in South Africa as the Sapphire on the hatchback and wagon. Later, the grille would feature on these models in Europe.

Versions sold in South Africa were available with 1.6 (Kent engine) and 2.0 (pinto) 4-cylinder, 2.3 V6 (Cologne) or 3.0-litre V6 (Essex) petrol engines.

While the Cortina MkV in South Africa had retained the old 3.0 V6 Essex engine, the Sierra was initially given the new 2.3 V6 Cologne motor, this being fitted to the top of the line model only.

However, owing to the low cost of petrol, and the popularity of the old Cortina XR6, a Sierra XR6 was launched in 1986/7, featuring the old Essex, initially producing 103 kW (138 hp).


Versions were LX, GL and GLX, the Ghia trim level was not available for the South African market except on the Ford Sapphire, the sedan version and the Ford Falcon.

As the 2.8/2.9 Cologne was never launched in South Africa, the venerable and popular Essex V6 remained the best normal production engine fitted to the Sierra.

At the top of the range, the 2.3 GLS quickly gave way to a 3.0 GLX flagship model ,producing less power but more torque than the XR6, and that was the end of the Cologne in South Africa, even the station wagon receiving the 3.0 V6 Essex. By 1985, the Sierra had become the largest Ford model, following the demise of the Granada.

Towards the end of its production life, the Essex was modified again the standard carb version tuned to produce 110 kW (150 PS; 148 hp) from 1991 to 1993, while a fuel-injected version was available from 1992 to 1993.

Fitted to the Sierra as the 3.0i RS (replacing the XR6) and to the Sapphire sedan as the Sapphire Ghia (replacing the 3.0 GLX), the fuel-injected Essex put out around 117 kW (157 hp) and was the most powerful Sierra/Sapphire version sold in South Africa, excluding the small number of XR8s built for homologation purposes (see next paragraph).



Ford Sapphire

Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1982–1993
Assembly General Pacheco, Argentina
Genk, Limburg
Cologne, Germany
Dagenham, England
Pretoria, South Africa (BG)
Valencia, Venezuela 1985–1993
Predecessor Ford Cortina Mark V
Ford Taunus TC3
Successor Ford Mondeo
Class Mid-size car
Body style 2-door pickup/ute
3-door notchback/liftback
5-door notchback/liftback
4-door saloon
5-door estate
Layout Front-engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
Engine 1294cc Pinto I4 SOHC
1593cc Pinto I4 SOHC
1796cc Pinto I4 SOHC
1993cc Pinto I4 SOHC
1998cc DOHC I4 DOHC
1598cc CVH I4 CVH
1796cc CVH I4 CVH
2293cc Cologne V6 OHV
2792cc Cologne V6 OHV
2935cc Cologne V6 OHV
5.0 L V8 OHV (South Africa only)
1.8 L I4 SOHC Turbodiesel
2.3 L I4 OHV Diesel
Transmission 3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
4-speed manual
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 102.7 in (2,609 mm)
Length 178.4 in (4,531 mm)
Width 68 in (1,727 mm)
Height 53.8 in (1,367 mm)
Related Ford Scorpio
Ford P100
 Uniquely, the South African market also saw the introduction of a 5.0L XR8 between 1986 and 1988. A limited number of 250 Sierras were made for the purposes of homolgation, as this model was the premier Ford used in Group A racing.

The XR8 was fitted with the 302ci engine from the US Ford Mustang, and the Borg Warner T5 heavy duty transmission. Front brakes were AP Racing 4-piston calipers on 280 mm discs.

The 1.6 Kent continued almost unchanged during the 9 year life of the Sierra/Sapphire, while the 2.0 Cologne was revised several times, being fitted to the Sierra 2.0 GL and GLE and later to the stripped down Sierra 2.0 LX and Sapphire 2.0 GL and GLE models.

It eventually even received fuel injection in the Sapphire 2.0GLi, boosting the power from 77 kW (103 hp) to 85 kW (114 hp).




The Sierra was eventually replaced in South Africa by the Telstar in 1993. Samcor, which assembled Ford models under license after Ford had divested from the country, was already assembling the smaller Laser and Meteor, alongside the Mazda 323, on which they were based, as well as an earlier version of the Mazda 626.

The Telstar was finally replaced by the Mondeo in 1998.









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