When Ford glued the GT badge to the Sierra Estate in the 1990s, it was arguably little more than a cynical spec level. But Callum Hynd’s developed the GT into the Grand Tourer it always deserved to be.
Some cars shout loud about their performance credentials, battering you with a relentless assault of spoilers, flics and canards along with aggressive offsets and engorged arches. Other cars prefer to speak softly while carrying their big stick, and this is more the case with Callum Hynd’s late-model Sierra GT Estate. Approaching it from behind, the car eases you in gently, its relatively stock appearance augmented simply by a 3 inch outward-rolled tailpipe and a markedly lower stance. Moving round to the side, your eye’s caught by the RS-option sideskirts and unusual wheels; it may take your brain a moment to place the design but, yes, that’s right, they are genuine motorsport wheels from an RS200. What are they doing on a sensible Sierra Estate?
Then, as you reach the front of the car, all bets are off. The 4×4 Cossie bonnet, the Sapphire RS bumper, it’s clear that something unusual is going on here. And this is before Callum’s raised the bonnet, revealing with devastating clarity that the 2.0 badge on the boot is a big fat lie…
The GT badge remains eminently appropriate, however. When Ford offered the Sierra in GT spec, what they had in mind was essentially an LX with additional trim upgrades, painted mirrors, alloy wheels and a 2-litre twin-cam — something to supersede the GLS that never really caught on. But those two letters, GT, carry a lot of weight in the automotive sphere, and what Callum’s done here is to properly fulfil their potential with this car, producing a powerful and sporting version of a machine you could happily cross continents in. A bona fide 1990s Grand Tourer.
It’s a bit of a departure from Callum’s three-door RS Cosworth that featured in the pages of sister mag, Fast Ford back in 2017, that’s for sure. “The Estate came up for sale online and, as many of my friends know, I’m partial to buying a Sierra or two — so I was kindly pointed in the direction of the GT,” he recalls. “After some brief negotiations with the seller, my good mate — also called Callum — and I hopped onto the train from Edinburgh to Stafford. Upon arrival we were met by a gentleman called Mick Arnold, sitting in a red Sierra Estate sporting a set of white Comp THs. Mick turned out to be the owner of MAD Ford Engineering.”
The GT they’d come to view had enjoyed a full picture-documented restoration a year before, so Callum could be sure that it was a good car and had been restored correctly. After spending some time in the MAD workshop looking at all the cars and parts strewn about the place, he could tell that Mick was a man after his own heart and liked to do things right when it came to building old Fords. The deal was thus a no-brainer, and the two Callums left happily in the car after parting with the readies.
“Cosmetically, I can’t take too much credit for the car as most of the hard work was done already, and to a very good standard,” Callum continues. “I set about rolling the arches and sorting out some wheels and suspension so I could get it how I wanted it to look. Finishing touches, in my opinion, are what can make or break a car.” We couldn’t agree more, and the addition of the obscure Group B homologation wheels is a brilliantly offbeat choice that ensures plenty of double-takes from marque aficionados.
It was under the bonnet where Callum really got to work, ousting this interesting but timeworn stock motor for something a little brawnier: “The 2-litre twin-cam was tired and needed replacing,” he reasons. “It was then that I actually sold the car to my mate Stephen Morgan, who proceeded to put the heart and soul of a Sapphire RS Cosworth into it — a Stage 3 YB, no less! It was exactly what the car needed, and I really did regret selling it although I needed to free up some funds for another three-door Cosworth build I was in the middle of… but when Stephen decided he wanted to sell the car minus the engine and gearbox, I managed to get it back to where it belonged! That’s when I decided I was going to put my BOB 24-valve Cosworth engine into it, which was in another three-door I had lying around.”
Callum is evidently some sort of Sierra superhero, possibly even the patron saint of Sierras, and the idea to shoehorn a BOB in there was frankly a masterstroke. This quad-cam Cosworth evolution of the Cologne V6 is known as a torquey cruiser, which Ford saw fit to bolt into the Scorpio and offer with an auto ’box — but as you can see from the evidence before you, there’s five manual ratios to choose from here, and it doesn’t burnout like a cruiser. It shreds rubber like a total hooligan.
“There were plenty of obstacles to overcome along the way,” he says. “The transition from YB to BOB 24-valve, the wiring, plumbing and mechanical differences from the three-door Sierra to the Sapphire and estate… a fair few modifications were made, but with the help of friends and a few late-night phone calls to Fitz at Top Boss Performance, we finally got there.”
What resulted was, somewhat incongruously for an estate car wearing roof rails and grandad-spec seats, a bit of a flying machine. 200 bhp-ish may sound relatively modest, but allied with the V6’s stump-troubling torque, it makes for a very entertaining drive – especially combined with the custom 2.5 inch exhaust system which makes noises nobody would expect from a car with this slab-sided profile.
“I can honestly say the car gets more attention than my three-door,” Callum grins. “I think it’s because you don’t see many Sierra estates, never mind one that looks like this! People always come over for a chat, asking all sorts of questions about it — especially the wheels. I happened to have these treasures tucked away in my garage, they were bought with my three-door Cosworth, but came off due to the car not going up my driveway on 16 inch wheels! But I think what I like most about the car is that it could easily have left the Dagenham factory looking like it does; a lot of people have commented on this, saying it’s the Sierra that Ford should have built back then. Simple but effective when it comes to styling, with very little effort really.”
He’s being modest there, of course — the effort that’s gone into this unique wagon is evident from all angles, building on that quality restoration to create something perfectly engineered for continent-spanning road trips… with a few hijinks along the way.
And with only three GT estates reportedly still on the roads, it’s great to see that this
one’s fulfilled the potential promised by the badge.
“It just had to be done,” Callum grins. You can’t really argue with that.
Words Dan Bevis
Photos Ade Brannan
See more photos and get the full spec on Callum’s 24-valve Sierra Estate in the April 2019 issue
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