For those who enjoy driving, the Ford Mondeo offers little in the way of merit. For some, the saloon of 1993 instigated a turning point where our beloved blue oval was choked by calculator-wielding bookkeepers. Soul and character were lost to cost-cutting and flimsy plastic. In the eyes of the beholder, Ford UK was dead.
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For enthusiasts cosseting their Granadas and Cortina MkIIIs, the Mondeo sounded a death knell for satisfaction behind the wheel of affordability. However, delve into the Mondeo’s history and a largely forgotten beast lurks within.
Meet the Ford Mondeo ST200; a V6 powered lunatic with a whisker over 200bhp – near as makes no difference the same output as the original Sierra Cosworth. That’s where the comparisons end however, for this is no Cosworth. It’s much, much better – and far cheaper, too.
Whereas either a Sierra or Escort Cosworth will require mega bucks to acquire, this 2001 Ford Mondeo ST200 retains an asking price of only £2500\. At the risk of ruffling a few feathers, the ST200 handles its power with more dignity than any age-old Cosworth, thanks largely to a more developed chassis.
Not to say that the Mondeo’s force oozes the same shock value that the Sierra Cosworth offered during the late 1980s, nor does it churn out the same eye-watering grunt low down in the rev band, but it’s still a force to be reckoned with even by contemporary standards.
Sling the Mondeo ST200 into a tight undulation and the drivetrain not only whisks you back to a time before hefty driving aids, but swoops around with the steely determination of an LSD-fed Pronghorn Antelope. The propensity to burn tyres and keep the accelerator plunged is high enough to rival the smile factor of a Nissan Skyline.
Yet, underneath aggressive bodywork and beyond that moreish exhaust note, this is still a Mondeo. All that technical innovation can often be let down by build quality that doesn’t face Father Time with any resilience. Gear changes can become notchy whereas the achievements in performance are undermined by electricals that gleefully take on a life of their own.
Not this one though. While rare enough to justify a curiosity binge – with only 300 ST200s rolling out the factory – what we’ve got here is potentially the greatest fast Ford. Ever.
Number 161 of 300, this Performance Blue Mondeo boasts leather seats with blue inserts unique to this limited-edition range. There’s 12 months MOT on the ticket and only 85,660 miles upon the odometer. The current vendor purchased the car in 2013 and has barely driven it since, due to a developing knee condition.
Included in the sale is a spare bootlid, driver’s seat (listed in ‘as new’ condition) and a pair of new boxed headlamps – components that would command a weighty premium as standalone items.
So, it’s cheaper than a Cosworth, as quick as a Cosworth and easier to live with, too. While it may carry the stigma of Ford’s Mondeo lineage and remain destined for obscurity within the shadows of its predecessors, the ST200 holds an ace card. You wouldn’t be afraid to use it.
Most Cosworths end up locked away and rarely turn a wheel. When the time comes for the reaper to claim you upon your death bed, instead of saying you owned the Ford dream, you can instead claim to have lived it. Get a closer look at this 2001 Ford Mondeo ST200 here.