80’s icons – the Sierra XR4i and the Space Shuttle


The Space Shuttle and a Ford Sierra XR4i pictured together in the early 1980s.

THIS rare picture from Ford’s archives shows two unlikely vehicles pictured together.
The XR4i has become a modern classic, sought-after by collectors, while the Space Shuttle programme is coming to an end.
During the early 1980s space exploration changed dramatically with the introduction of NASA’s Space Shuttle programme. With design based on functionality rather than style, the Shuttles soon became instantly recognisable.
Around the same time the first operational Shuttle missions were taking place, Ford unveiled the Sierra. With its flowing lines and what was sometimes referred to as ‘jelly-mould’ styling, the Sierra was a world away from its predecessor, the iconic Ford Cortina, and it was not an instant hit with the buying public.
However, like the Shuttles, the form of the Sierra followed its function with many new features. Inside the Sierra additions such as delayed action interior lights, lockable compartments and illuminated vanity mirrors, introduced levels of refinement uncommon at the time.
Today, as both vehicles approach 30 and the Shuttles prepare for retirement, the Ford Sierra has joined the ranks of the classic car.
The styling that made the Sierra so radical is now recognised as ground-breaking and its legacy continues to be seen in Ford’s kinetic design philosopy.