VETERAN TO CLASSIC - FORD FORTUNES

Well past 57,000 miles, the Ford Sierra EFi 4x4 goes on and on, with no record of any real troubles at all. You may not believe it, but it's true! Apart, that is, from the o/s rear electric-lift window refusing to close, which cured itself, and the speedometer going out of action — repaired, but soon on the blink again. The last service, at 55,000 miles, cost £270.54 with VAT, as the front brake discs and the suspect lower suspension arms were replaced, the faulty speedometer repaired (temporarily!), the oil filter renewed, the sump drained and refilled, and new number plates made up to replace those ripped from the Ford by a local half-wit. At 57,250 miles the car passed its MOT test, after a brake-pipe clip had been replaced, and the Michelin MXV tyres, which have run for over 13,000 miles were reported only half-worn.

How does the car feel after this mileage? Well, when you use the same car for four years you sort of grow up with it and do not notice easily changes in its running. But, reliability apart, which was just as outstanding in the three previous 4WD Sierras I had, the present four-cylinder, twin-cam eight valver does not seem to me to show much change from new. A little more noise perhaps, a fiercer clutch. But although left out of doors, the paintwork is excellent and everything works, apart from the fascia read-out which shows the driver's door open when it is firmly shut, a fault not rectified at several services. Space, grace and pace was a slogan someone once used; it might be applied to this H-registration Sierra, if you omit the "grace" bit. It is possible, I am told, to buy a similar four-year-young model for around £5,000. It sounds like a very reasonable purchase. W B