Want an ASBO? Here ya go.

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After six long years slumbering in a garage thanks to BC’s emissions-testing program, this 1986 Sierra Cosworth is out on the loose, causing a disturbance and acting the hooligan. It’s fuelled by curry and strong cider, an Essex boy with a bad attitude and a hoodie. It’s a hoodlum, a knockabout, a corner boy, and a scouser.

What excellent fun.

The development of this car (see above) is chock full of fun little tidbits, including the wonderfully phallic-sounding Dick Johnson and his Australian racing exploits. A friend remembers seeing one of those 500+hp monsters explode on the track so violently that the hood of the car arrived in the gravel trap before the car did.

This one’s far more civilized, entirely factory apart from the stainless steel exhaust. Forward thrust is zippy, but with ~200+hp, it’s not going to pin your ears back. A greater revelation is just how fresh everything feels, from steering to the T-5 transmission to the seat bolstering. Then, of course, there’s the thrill of looking out the rearview and seeing what appears to be a large snow-shovel bolted to the rear hatch.

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Compared to an XR4Ti, this car is significantly lighter and lower, and the twin-cam revs with a sound that’s tinged with surly violence. There’s a relentless realness to the experience, a rawness that’s sadly lacking from the Focus ST I’ve brought along for comparison. Isn’t it a shame that new cars are getting so good that trying to infuse them with sporting intent almost always results in a character blunted by layers of competence? I think that’s why the Fiesta ST is better than the Focus - it’s a little unstable, a little hyperactively darty.

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The Sierra has that same slight element of unpredictability, but mostly it’s just a thrill to throw it through a few curves on a mountain road. The owner has two of these things, (and an XR4Ti), and the second one is tuned beyond 300hp. Apparently it’s a complete animal - a career criminal built from a juvenile delinquent.

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This Moonstone Blue car is... it’s a good boy, at heart. Sure it’s got an ASBO and likes to run with a fast crowd, but it’ll be home for tea. Usually. Never mind that time it flicked a V at the rozzers and did a runner. It’s not a baddie. Not really. Swear on me mum, guv: I never done nuffink.

@brendan_mcaleer

www.brendanmcaleer.ca

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