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Thursday, May 23, 2024


THE last Benson & Hedges Ford Sierra RS500 built and raced by Tony Longhurst’s Queensland-based team in Group A touring car racing in the early 1990s is up for grabs here as part of the latest Collecting Cars online auction.

The last of five Sierras campaigned by the team during the period, the car was built entirely in Australia as a left-hand drive RS500 Cosworth and was raced at Bathurst in 1990 by Longhurst after being debuted in the final round of that year’s AMSCAR Series at Amaroo Park.

The car was the fastest qualifier at Bathurst in that year, below, clocking a sizzling 2m13.84 second lap time though retired from the race after 53 laps due to engine problems.

It was on-sold to privateer Brian Bolwell and appeared in selected rounds of the Australian Touring Car Championship as well as the 1991 Tooheys 1000 at Bathurst.

The Sierra was acquired by the Bowden family in 1994 and was sold in recent years to current owner Carey McMahon, who campaigned it in Heritage Touring Cars historic racing in Australia before shipping the car to England in 2019.

It competed at Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Silverstone before travelling to Spa in Belgium to compete. In November 2019 it raced at Algarve but was involved in a crash that saw both flanks collide with two other cars in the field.

McMahon had the damaged car shipped back to renowned RS500 Group A specialist Paul Linfoot Racing in North Yorkshire where the decision was made to completely restore the car. 

As it had been so original and pristine prior to the accident, McMahon wanted it to be put back to the same superb condition without cutting corners.

Rather than attempt to repair the damaged panels, Linfoot was able to source genuine original Ford body parts to replace both front wings, the doors, and the left rear quarter. 

The car was completely stripped down to the shell, taken back to the bare metal, and the new panels were fastidiously spot-welded to the original factory build specifications. It was then fully repainted inside and out using the correct colour-matched Benson & Hedges yellow and the livery re-applied.

Far from being just a cosmetic rejuvenation, all of the mechanical components were also thoroughly inspected, and rebuilt or refurbished as needed. The two-litre turbocharged Cosworth engine was sent to Harvey Gibbs to be stripped and checked over while a brand-new engine loom was commissioned from G&G Motorsport.

The car, which is currently located in England, is accompanied by original period documentation, up to date log books plus an extra set of wheels and running spares.

Bidding closes in the online auction on the Collecting Cars website on Tuesday February 2.

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