It’s getting there at last. Well I think it is, anyway.

Work has finally resumed on the Sierra, after a much-too-long break. I could blame the delay on laying a new concrete floor in the barn where it’s kept, and I could make excuses about waiting for the help of my mate Richard, who’s a professional painter and full-time vehicle restorer. But in reality, the Cossie has been put to one side, and I’ve been too busy enjoying my young and vibrant ST250 to notice the old girl sobbing in the corner.

Of course, I could’ve just given the front wings a quick blow-over in Diamond White to get the car back on the road. And I could’ve masked around everything rather than removing any last trace of rust or dodgy paint. But none of that seems right when you’re dealing with a three-door; much as I might protest about it being just an old Sierra, an original RS Cosworth is that little bit too special to be bodged or rushed.

So, after attaching a new front wing and repairing the factory-fitted nearside panel, Richard spent several hours prepping and priming to rid even the slightest ripple that you’d need a microscope to see. He then topped it off in a guide coat, which, above the greeny primer, gives an enticing camo-effect that a younger me would think ‘Sod it, let’s do the whole car’. 

Next week, he assures me, we’ll get it all painted properly.

We also decided to restore the bonnet slam panel that, although still wearing its factory paint, had had crossed the line beyond patina to tatty. One effective touch Richard recommended was drilling out the body colour plate and letting it soak in thinners to remove the paint. All too often, repainted cars have layers of two-pack that make the digits difficult to read, whereas spraying on only one coat will avoid an (over-) restored appearance.

Removing the chrome bonnet prop has also given me the motivation to de-bling the engine bay. Shiny tanks and covers looked great in the ‘90s but the OE-plus theme is more fitting today. Yes, I’m tempted to put the Cossie back to standard, but then I remember it’s designed to be driven, and anything less than 300bhp is an insult to the wild wings.

As such, the RS500-size intercooler is staying put but I’ve now sprayed it satin black to sit discreetly behind the front bumper. A quick etch-prime down the ends and a dusting with black aerosol means it shouldn’t chip or flake instantly, and hopefully won’t affect the performance. Still, it is only an old Sierra, after all.