AFTER the disappointment of the Nissan Cherry Europe, our next car was a rather more conventional choice. The Sierra 1.8L in glorious Rosso Red was acquired in May 1989. More space, five doors, power steering – and we even got £1,000 in part exchange for the wretched Nissan.

sierraUnfortunately this photo doesn’t show a glorious Rosso Red specimen owing to my failure to find the picture I wanted in our pre-digital collection. (There is one, somewhere, showing C634TFP on a caravan site in Newquay, but you’ll just have to take my word for it.)

Dubbed “the flying jelly mould” by some (whether affectionately or disparagingly I’m not sure), the Sierra was Ford’s bold replacement for the near-legendary Cortina, and would itself be replaced by the Mondeo. It was a great family car for us, although I craved a sunroof (there also not being any air conditioning).

Being somewhat larger than the Nissan, it was a tight squeeze in our garage. So much so that we took to parking as close as possible to the right-hand wall, squeezing across the central console and getting out the passenger door.

Pranged

The Jelly Mould carried first one newborn baby and then a second (both ours, I should add), taking us on family trips and the daily commute for about seven years. It was pranged twice, most memorably (as I hinted in AutoMemory #3) as we left Gordano Services on the M5 in 1996. We were on our way to Cornwall and were waiting at the exit roundabout from the services car park. A coach behind us, also waiting, obviously decided that we were about to move off (probably watching the traffic on the roundabout rather than watching us), and promptly ran into the back of us.

I was shocked.

I’d never been rear-ended before, either when moving or, as in this case, at a standstill. It was clearly the coach driver’s fault so we did the usual swapping of details and then tried to figure out what to do. There was a nice crease in the middle of the back end and the boot wouldn’t shut properly. We managed to get the boot tied down and decided to continue to our destination, St Ives Holiday Village.

After unloading the car we backed it up against a hedge as it seemed to be the only way to stop someone opening the boot! The next day we found a garage in Hayle who were able to do a “good enough” repair on the boot lock and the bodywork. Until recently I had a photo of the damaged boot but have again lost or culled it.

After the holiday the insurance company sent an assessor and decided the car was a write-off, simply because the repairs would cost more than the resale value. They sent us a cheque for £900 but also said we could keep the car, which was perfectly driveable. This slightly odd written-off-but-not-scrapped state of affairs went on for another few months before we decided to retire the 12-year-old Sierra before it got too troublesome.

Do you have any Sierra memories? Clearly Peter Kay did, in this 2009 clip