From a few grand to jackpot win, there's a fast Ford hero for any budget – here are the choice cuts
By PH Staff / Tuesday, 14 November 2023 / Loading comments
Mondeo ST220, 2005, 85k, £5,495
While it’s easy to think of the best fast Fords having three doors, a turbocharger and – hopefully – a silly rear wing to top it off (more on that in a sec) there have certainly been a few more discreet hits over the years. They arguably come no better than the Mondeo ST220; launched back in 2002, it took all that was good about the previous ST200 – lusty V6 power and sorted handling, most notably – then combined them with the handsome Mk3 Mondeo shape. The result was a proper sports saloon like they used to make: a pleasure to drive in any situation, endlessly practical and 150mph fast, with the added bonus of a manual gearbox. Despite rarity and a favourable rep, values haven’t soared just yet – this Imperial Blue car, with 85k and registered before the pricier tax, can be yours for £5k. And plenty of fast Fords command rather more than that…
Sierra RS500 Cosworth, 1987, 36k, £174,995
Never underestimate the power of homologation. As competition cars have moved nearer and nearer to silhouette racers over the years, those models with a tangible link to motorsport glory have become highly prized. The Sierra RS500 is undoubtedly of that ilk, and a very special car to the UK. Back in the wild Group A days of BTCC, it was decided that the Sierra Cossie needed to be even more powerful, but to race it, you needed to make it, and so the RS500 was born with a host of upgrades over the standard car. Introduced in 1987, all 500 were for the UK, because we loved the things, and it did the job alright – RS500s would go onto dominate touring cars across the globe, and a legend was born. The museum-level quality of this one is thanks to 17 years in storage, during which time it’s skyrocketed in value – if only we’d all thought to do the same.
Fiesta ST Performance Edition, 2020, 15k, £20,990
There was no doubting the ability of the Mk8 Fiesta ST: more powerful than its predecessor despite reduced capacity (and cylinder count), better appointed and more capable. Somewhat inevitably, however, a little of the Mk7’s rapscallion nature had been lost along the way. It would be easy to say that the two Editions made since 2018 – this Performance Edition, and the Azure Blue ST Edition – reinstated that character, but that would be selling them short. The introduction of KW coilovers and lighter, flow-formed wheels lifted the driving experience even further, ensuring the ST was agile, adjustable and brimming with quality. They were expensive new, at around £27k – and it was hardly like the standard ST was bad – so probably they were a tough sell in tough times. But for fun on four wheels (or three), there’s little better. Which is why £20k is still needed for one.
Mustang Mach 1, 2022, 3k, £50,995
Honestly, we toyed with including a Capri at this point, given its hairy-chested position in the formative boomer years. But impossible really not to favour its Stateside inspiration as the Mustang looms so large over Ford’s internal barometer of what going fast really means. Which is to say blue collar and attainable and cool because of it. Thankfully, the ‘stang hung onto those charms when it finally made it to the UK in right-hand-drive format, and was for a long time the cheapest way into a new, manual-gargling V8. There are plenty of affordable ones about now that you should absolutely consider, although we’ve opted to highlight the best of the outgoing generation, the Mach 1. Pricey at just over £50k, sure – but also with 500hp and with a chassis that befits its Fighter Jet Grey paint job.
Ford GT, 2005, 18k, £279,000
If the Mustang is arguably the beating heart of the Fast Ford story, its supercar must rank as the adrenal gland. The story of the GT40 is so deliciously human and of its time (i.e. one when autocratic giants roamed the industry) that even Hollywood couldn’t resist its narrative charms. But beneath all the scheming and testing and winning there was the fact of Ford’s nascent ability to build (with a little help from Blighty) a spectacular race car that caught the world’s imagination. Of course, any original now ranks among the great unicorn cars of the 20th century, so it’s represented here by its spiritual successor, the GT. That its performance, price and presence compare favourably with most Ferraris from the same period says everything you need to know about Ford’s lasting achievement.
Focus RS, 2009, 62k, £24,995
Despite the omnipresence of the Fiesta ST, no Ford has left a greater mark on the wider performance car segment than the Focus RS. For twenty years, its sporadic appearance in the lineup has helped redefine what we expect from the humble hot hatch. It has also helped redefine what we might like to pay for one as well – it’s still possible, after all, to pay nearly £90k for an RS500. Hard to recommend you do that, but we are inclined to agree that the second-generation RS still has a tremendous amount going for it – not least the character-driven inline-five – and probably best embodies the underlying spirit of what it means to be a Fast Ford in modern-day Britain. For a well looked after one like this one with below-average miles, expect to pay around £25k. And expect to love it deeply for as long as you own it.
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