So it was a month ago today that I introduced My Unintentional COAL, a 1989 Ford Sierra 2.9i 4×4 Ghia, to y’all in CClandia. I regaled all and sundry with the tale of how I found and bought it 17 years after first sighting it and lusting after it. Oh how we laughed at what the words “25 year old British Ford” would mean for my already-miniscule bank account. There was a lengthy list of items requiring repair or replacement, most of which resulted in utterances of “Obsolete!” and “Unavailable. Anywhere. Ever.” from my mechanic Les. In fact, Les had taken to hiding under his office desk whenever I popped in to check on progress… But, I’m delighted to report progress is indeed now well underway, so I thought I’d share a few pics and details with my fellow Curbside Classicists!
As you may recall, I came upon my marvellous magenta masterpiece in a used car lot north of my home, 17 years after I first (and last) saw it parked curbside elsewhere in New Zealand. I’d thought about it often since that first sighting in 1997, and upon re-finding it, I immediately bought it without nearly enough thought. It was an as-is-where-is purchase with one condition: I required it to have a new WOF (Warrant of Fitness), which is New Zealand’s 6-monthly roadworthiness certificate. Hilariously it transpired that the WOF was dodgy, and not in a Darty way – more a dirty-rotten-scoundrels way…
In the Unintentional COAL article I mentioned having just discovered unWOFable rust underneath (courtesy of being on the UK’s salted roads for the first 8 years of its life); the requisite rust repairs will be commenced this week. I’ll also have the panel-beater fit the correct front bumper and spoiler, replace the rear door’s clear glass with factory tinted glass (to match the rest of the car), and make one good sunroof out of the two rusty ones I have.
While the body shell’s away having holes and fibreglass replaced with lovely and expensive new metal, the engine’s coming out for a freshen-up. It’s done around 190,000km (118,000mls), and appears quite sound – it started, ran and sounded great in the 3 days I managed to drive it following purchase. It proved to be still capable of getting within a hair’s breadth of the factory top speed – allegedly of course.
Aside from heavier-than-expected fuel consumption (that surely had nothing to do with any alleged top-speedification!), the engine gave me no cause for concern – until I took it for a drive, parked it afterwards and came back after five minutes to find a dinner-plate puddle of lusciously rich oily oil underneath it. ‘Well it is an Elderly British Ford…’, I reasoned as I sprinkled the kitty litter over the oil.
But seeing as it was going to my mechanic Les for a thorough check-up and other minor repairs, I thought I’d mention the excitingly large oil puddle. Annoyingly, it remained thoroughly unincontinent for Les, with nary a drop of oil. Of course no oil leaking from an Elderly British Ford is also cause for great concern… Eventually, after it’d been with Les for a week or two, it suddenly emptied its bladder all over his workshop floor following a drive.
The prognosis was the rear-main crankshaft seal was likely blown, but that it’d be an engine-out job to confirm. As the car had no service history and had been mostly unused for several years, I decided it’d be best to replace every seal/gasket/frost plug on the engine, hopefully guaranteeing me several years of mechanically-sound motoring. Replacing the parts would naturally be much easier with the engine out, so the go-ahead was given and work commenced last week.
When I dropped past last Friday, I was surprised to find the engine, cross member and front suspension all out of the car. It turned out separating the engine from the cross-member proved impossible (think seized bolts, broken engine mount etc) in situ, so the whole lot had to come out from underneath. Once the cross-member is separated from the engine, it’ll get reinstalled, allowing the engine to be worked on separately this coming week.
Both my mechanic Les and I see dollar signs every time we close our eyes – the only difference being that when I see them I curl up in the foetal position and shake back and forth, whereas Les beams brightly… As I type, the job of separating the engine and cross-member has commenced, so tune in this time next month (maybe) to see if the Marvellous Magenta Masterpiece has gone back together as intended, or if the Project Elderly Ford Sierra saga continues!
I shot a 4×4 Sierra sedan for the cohort recently here in Napier so your car still has some whanau around, bit of a shame my BIL recently retired from his parts job at John Andrews Ford/Mazda he could have sourced anything you needed for it but he is now on semi permanent holiday touring OZ. Oil leaks from a British car are normal so I’m told though my Hillman has none despite being a not sealed engine, sometimes shit just works.
The 4×4 sedans are generally Cosworths – although Ford UK did sell a very small number of non-Cossie sedans in the early 90s.
Unfortunately parts are nigh on impossible to get via Ford NZ. They renumbered all parts for the NZ market, to dissuade anyone from importing parts in competition. There’s no list available cross-referencing the unique NZ part numbers with the rest-of-world numbers, so it’s a hit and miss affair. To compound matters, Ford NZ scrapped all Sierra parts 10-12 years ago and no longer carry anything. Thankfully eBay has proven a highly effective source for me (made easier by my wagon being ex-UK so having the UK VIN and plates for easy referencing).
I like the looks of this Wagon .
Also glad to see another Nutter who’s too stupid to give up on a lost cause , once it’s done you’ll be very happy with it I am sure .
I’m not a nutter, I’m…uh…um…errr…yeah okay, nutter it is 😉
Nice project Scott. Here’s your engine degreaser.
You call that engine degreaser? Where I am originally from we call it “Nuttendiesel”. I am sure Paul will help with an appropriate translation into English. He’s been in the US a little longer than me.
You use Water from Cologne to clean an Engine from Cologne. 🙂
I would’ve guessed it was an oil additive that you pour into the crankcase. 🙂
Aha – cologne for cologne!
Why don’t Germans complain about the French & British misspelling Köln? Since the Latin-1 character set has been standardized by ISO (and as a subset of Unicode), there’s no excuse for omitting the umlaut.
And it’s München, not Munich. Do Germans change the spelling of British cities when it suits them? I don’t get this double-standard.
Lots of cities (and countries, for that matter) have different names in different languages — this is hardly unique to English. If anything, it’s probably actually less prevalent in English, where it tends to be limited to no more than a handful of well-known cities in any given country, than in many other European languages. French, for example, has unique spellings/names for dozens of towns and cities in the Dutch-, German-, Italian- and Spanish-speaking countries that border France. See the link below:
“Cologne” is also used in French, which I’m sure is where it originated (many names of this sort used in English are the same or similar to their French counterparts). It’s “Colonia” in Spanish and Italian, “Colônia” in Portugese, “Keulen” in Dutch, “Kolonia” in Polish, and “Kolín” in Czech (sometimes “Kolín nad Rýnem” to distinguish it from another city named “Kolín” in the Czech Republic).
“Munich” is also used in French, and “Múnich” in Spanish. It’s “Monaco” in Italian (sometimes “Monaco di Baviera” to distinguish it from the principality of Monaco), “Munique” in Portuguese, “Monachium” in Polish, and “Mnichov” in Czech. The Dutch use the same name as German.
“London” is spelled the same in German as it is in English, but it’s “Londres” in French, Spanish, and Portuguese, “Londra” in Italian, and “Londen” in Dutch.
The Germans change the spelling as well. You forget, every country knows what is best for their inhabitants. 🙂
Moscow is Moskau for example which at least works phonetically as opposed to Munich and Cologne.
Canterybury in the UK is Kanterberg in German.
Nice in France is Nizza in German. (Pronounced Nee-Tsa so not phonetic at all)
“Nizza” is also the Italian name, and the pronunciation you gave sounds similar to how I would expect this word to be pronounced in Italian. I’m guessing that this name originated in Italian and somehow found its way into German as well, similar to the way Cologne looks like it originated in French and found its way into English. There are a lot of names for places in non-French-speaking areas where the English comes from French, however; I don’t think it’s typical for German names for places in non-Italian-speaking areas to come from Italian.
A possible explanation: Nice is located in an area that historically was a border region between France and Italy, and changed hands several times between French- and Italian-based states prior to the 19th century. At times in the past, Italian may have been the predominant/official local language.
This used to make navigating the EU before sat-nav at times very frustrating excercise. Liege for example has three different names depending on which Belgian minority is referring to it. And they all used to appear on Belgian road signs. You can guess the rest…
And consider the various names given to the country of…
Deutschland – German
Tyskland – Danish
Allemagne – French
Germany – English
As said, it’s an all occurring phenomena between all the European powers. And it goes back hundreds and hundreds of years. By rule of thumb, the longer a specific area has had contact (and trade) with another area, the more likely it is for both those places to develop names for each other in their own specific language. It all goes back to trade and trade routes. So, basically, every European country has named at least a handful of other places in every other country. It’s not a double standard, on the contrary, It could be seen as a way to honor those places that you visit often and has much business and contacts with. They are in fact so important to you that you have to talk about them and their places in your own language.
And as we’re speaking english here, by convenience, the speakers use the names of places in that language, regardless of peoples origin. If an Englishman and a German were speaking english, they would most likely use the german names as they are spoken in english. If they weren’t talking about real local places with no internationality to it. And likewise and to the opposite, if an Englishman and a German was talking german, they would probably use the names as they were spoken in german. As that would be the most convenient language-wise. Most Europeans are aware of most of the other different names to the same places-problem,s or at least they have a hunch, so it really isn’t a problem.
You remember the English comedian Benny Hill ? He had his own interpretation of the German language. Some of them I remember by heart, I don’t know if the spelling is entirely correct though:
-Joinen der Armee.
-Achtung auf Pickpocketten.
-Wissen Sie was der Kölnel kann tun wis sein Groß-Baton ? Er kann sticken it in seiner Jumper ! (Jumper with a German pronunciation)
Yes, I remember him, though I never thought he was particularely funny. But yes, there are names and places that in some languages sound inherently funny. There’s just no way to take anybody seriously that comes from that Welsh village with the longest name, Llanfairpwllgwyn and so on. And every European country has some sort of jokes about their nearest neighbors, in England they joke about scots. In Sweden, we joke about Norwegians. And so on.
And though they may sound racist or prejudiced, there’s a lot of love and affection in it. We always hate the ones we love the most, and the fact that we joke about our neighbors just hides the fact that those are the ones we are in most contact with. And no, nobody would be so disrespectful as to tell those jokes straight up to their face.
My experience is that when people meet, they make an effort to make themselves understood. It’s a mutal give and take to meet on common ground. And some languages are nearer than others. It’s completely possible, and it happens quite often, that when a Swede and a Dane and a Norwegian meet, they all speak to each other in their own native tongue. So, there could be a debate between three people of three different languages, and all three would have no problem to understand any of the others. Of course, those three would simplify their pronunciation to make it easier for the others, but anyway.
In Sweden, even the names of American places are pronunciated according to Swedish customs. In regular speech, California is named Kalifornien, North and South Dakota is named Nord and Syd Dakota, and so on. In Sweden, the name of the state Arkansas are pronuciated something like Arr-Cun-Ses. In American English, Arr-Ken-Saw.
There was much debate in the Clinton-era on Arkansas, as it sounded so completely alien for the news cast to start reading it in English after having had a Swedish name for it for a hundred years or so. Naming traditions are seldom very rational, but deeply rooted in individual cultures. And they are often very very conservative, as it sounds so inherently alien to suddenly change them all…
The series with perhaps the most jokes about other cultures must have been ‘Allo ‘Allo, about some english spies hiding in the French countryside during the German occupation of France. English, Germans, and French. And a lot of jokes about silly names, silly ways to speak silly languages, silly jokes about large breasted women, and silly ways to do silly things with very large sausages.
Peter Seller’s Inspector Clouseau was another expert.
Clouseau: “Tell me do you have a reum? “
Hotel Clerk: “I do not know what a ‘reum’ is.”
Clouseau: [looks up the word ‘room’ in his German dictionary] “Zimmer.”
Hotel Clerk: “Ah, a ‘room’. “
Clouseau: “That is what I have been saying, you idiot. Reum. Zimmer.”
One has to take it in stride, there’s just no point in getting upset. I have a lot of American friends, and there’s a girl I know that giggles every time I write something in Swedish, as it looks to her exactly like the Swedish Chef from the Muppets. I don’t see it at all, but whatever. Some things just looks or sounds inherently funny seen from another perspective, that’s just the way it is living in a world of different cultures. And sometimes, you just have to acknowledge that fact without taking umbrage. I can give her that, if my way of writing makes her giggle, the world is so much better for it…
I feel your pain.
However, once you start it up and go for that first reliable drive, all the angst of money spent will evaporate. You will swoon over how smart you were to purchase the car, the sun will shine brighter, and the sky will be more blue. And you will never be blue again as your pride will be close by for a jaunt whenever you want. Grand, ain’t it?
Got it in one Jason! I can’t wait until I can wind the sunroof back and go for a spirited drive on a winding back road, listening to the (modified) exhaust note bouncing off walls/cliffs etc 😀
Somehow I missed your first article on stumbling upon your dream car. My car-buying experiences at private used car dealers have led to much after-sale frustration as well. Hopefully the restoration of your Sierra isn’t too taxing on your funds, and ends with you smiling from the drivers seat.
Oh the after-sales frustration is immense here, and has resulted in ongoing action from me. If I report the garage that issued the WOF, they’ll lose their rights to issue WOFs, which will be devastating to their income. Hence I suspect they may instead like to contribute to my costs in making it legally roadworthy. The former owner admitted being responsible for some of the terrible and illegal rust repairs and committed to contributing 30% of the repair cost. He’s since renegged, so I’ll have to take him to court to honour our verbal contract. I expect to spend around NZ$4,000 on the car, slightly more than I paid for it. But for one of so few left, and that’s incredibly good fun to drive, it’s worth it!
The WOF system was only introduced as an income stream for RMTA members and its largely a joke as standards are not uniform VTNZ passed my 406 Peugeot 4 times with badly worn control arm bushings simple because their inspection methods are geared to Japanese suspension designs, Rust repairs can be effected by any method available including glued on newsprint unless its a WOF inspection fail then it must be a welded certified repair.
Only if a car is sold without a less than 28 day old WOF can the vendor be held responsible for subsequent failures, That law has been around for 40 years that I know of.
In this case the vendor admitted responsibility for the illegal rust repairs and volunteered to contribute towards rectifying them. He entered a verbal contract with me which is binding by law, hence I’m able to take him to court to enforce our contract.
You, Sir, are a man to be admired. Your vision in seeing what virtually no one else can, your long term pursuit of a personal goal, and your refusal to obey conventional financial edicts. Insure carefully so the first minor bump does not make the vehicle a total economic loss. I wish you and the wagon a long and happy association.
Here’s the EBF (Elderly British Ford) I used to own. Mine didn’t have a problem with incontinence, but well do I remember the cries of “Obsolete”, “That’s the last one of that part in the state”, and “How long are you gonna keep that thing for, anyway?”
Nothing special, but she was my first car. Eventually I parked her in the shed, with 450,000km on the clock, and passed her on to my son’s friend about six years ago.
Thank you jim and Old Pete, your kind words in the face of my obvious madness are greatly appreciated! 😉 PS Cortinas always looked fab in that colour (Roman Bronze?) Old Pete!
Copper Bronze here, a very popular colour often seen on Falcons. Still have a can of touch-up paint in the shed.
Keep at it and good luck.Thanks for another great read.
Are you going to have the clutch replaced along with turning the fly wheel for maximum clutch life? The leaking rear main seal could not be good for the clutch and since it is out of the car anyway, might as well just replace it
Yes indeed – it’s worn down to the rivets, so both clutch and pressure plate both being replaced.
Nice one Scott. It’s a dirty rotten job but someone’s gotta do it.
Were it not for dedicated car nuts like you, me and, well, probably everyone else here on this website; the world would be a poorer place.
Every car I’ve ever owned has been a money pit and I’ve generally thrown ten times its purchase price during my ownership. My present machine is coming up to its 21st birthday and not giving me too much drama at present; it’s not called ‘Mercy Mercedes’ for nothing you know. Still, my mechanic friend rolls his eyes in delight and surprise on my yearly visit for the dreaded MOT inspection; surprised mostly that its’ still running.
Good luck with the restoration. A worthy cause I’m sure. I remember well the wise words written by a motoring journalist from the uk many years ago, in reflection of his own classic’s repair bills.
“If money really can talk; all its’ ever said to me is goodbye”
I must confess that although my first car, a 1971 MkI Escort, turned into a money pit 20 years ago, most of my cars since have cost me very little in unexpected repairs. So all the money I didn’t have to spend on my previous cars can now be sucked up by the Sierra!
Saucy Sierra says hi to Mercy Mercedes! 😉
Funny that Scott, my first car was a 1972 Mk I escort 8cwt panel van. My neighbours helped me buy it at an auction for £240 and then proceeded to replace the front cross member when we discovered that it had been driven across a ploughed field for a couple of hundred kilometres.
I had just given up smoking to save money to buy the damn thing and promptly took it up again in anguish at my friends’ dismantling the engine compartment, et all, to repair it.
I do have very fond memories of the 5’X6′ load area in the back though; as do a number of girlfriends!
This Escort’s pet name? Buggerit!
Scott, I really admire you for your tenacity in fulfilling your dream.
And, please, don’t dangle any of these cheap air freshener thingies from the rear view mirror. Only Eau de Cologne will suffice in this beauty! It happens to be my mom’s favorite perfume.
My bank manager and mechanic admire me for that tenacity too! I’m in the midst of renovating my house, and all the Sierra repairs mean one less thing I can do on the house though… It’s been bye-bye deck so far, and I suspect bye-bye replacement windows is imminent…
I promise never to hang anything frm the rear view mirror except for the microphone for the Parrot mobile phone car-kit!
Perfect time to do the strut inserts,ball joints, tie rod ends,bushings, CV boots, trans main shaft and output shaft seals. And water pump unless it’s been recently replaced. Everything out in the open like it is should save you a ton in labor costs. Good call resealing engine while it’s out. It really does suck when the rear main fails. Hope it’s treats you well after it’s sorted out.
Oh, good call on the water pump; hadn’t considered that. Suspension’s all good – the previous owner had the steering rack reconditioned at vast cost and most of the suspension was sorted then. I’ll add the trans seals to my mechanic’s list though as I sure don’t want the engine out again in a hurry!
The sirens sing the same deadly song to any man restoring a car-
“While you’re in there….it’s only a few dollars more….you’ll save money in the long run…. Just do it….
/slave to an Italian Mistress named Guiletta – Alfa Romeo Guiletta
This is why I’m rather frightened to do anything to my 780. One repair…leads to another…leads to another…
Which I’m quite certain will lead to the wife who was surprisingly receptive to my buying the car quickly turning hostile to further cash outlay!
Speaking of money pits, what happened to the Jaguar XJ-6 project being done by another CC reader? Is it continuing or did that poor soul throw in the towel? That series was very enjoyable.
I remember an article or two about the XJ6…and also had pointed some comments to it. One of the rhd XJ’s (exactly an XJ40) is still sitting in the garage in absolutely drivable condition while a W-Body GM resurrection project is on its tracks and prefers advantage versus the old XJ. But there were few other CC readers of course who has been involved in XJs.
Wasn’t Keith involved with a new radio station that was taking up all his time?
I remember when the Sierra had been introduced it had a kind of spaceship appearance after the Taunus/Cortina. After approx. 30 years it might be on good track to become CC.
Or it is. When some Merkurs has been privately imported then from the North-Americas to Europe, that was just a cherry on the whipped cream… On of my former team mates has bought a well maintained Sierra Cosworth about 3 years ago 🙂
Laughter is pretty much universal .
A good thing IMO .
(missing Mr. Sellers and Hill greatly)
Looks like it will be a great car once finished Scott, and best of all you know that everything has been done so you should get years of enjoyment from it. Good luck!
I really like wagons. I had my 57 (chev) gone through very thoroughly but made one mistake. I kept the powerglide and 283. Translated, that means I kept 13-14 mpg. Have started on it again as it has set outside for five years. Long process and I think there is a fuel injected 4.3 in it’s future from an ill fated olds bravada. We will see.