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Top 10: Ford ‘Essex’ V6 classics

When it comes to vee-power for your classic Ford (or specialist sports car), many fans reckon the only way really is ‘Essex’. Yes, we’re talking about the hugely successful ‘Essex’ V6, which was launched by the Blue Oval in the late ’60s and went on to enjoy a long career.

Most ‘Essex’ V6 engines were built at downtown Dagenham, and yet this remarkable powerplant lived on in South Africa right through to the end of the ’90s. So which of the many models to be powered by ‘Essex’ deserve the most recognition now? We pay tribute to ten of the best.    

Paul Guinness, Contributor

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Ford Sierra 3.0

South African buyers have traditionally liked their Fords with bigger engines than the European average, which explains why 3.0-litre V6 versions of the MkIV Cortina were offered there. Surely though, when the good old ’Tina was finally usurped by the Sierra, the ‘Essex’ would give way to the 2.8-litre ‘Cologne’ unit? Actually, no. Ford’s South African division decided to continue with the 3.0-litre ‘Essex’, giving this classic powerplant an extra few years of life, as well as the adoption of fuel-injection by the early ’90s. Regular versions included the Sierra 3.0 GLX, with XR6 and 3.0i RS models adding a sportier twist.

Read our Sierra (UK-spec) review here


Bilboman    on 16 April 2016

(Pedant alert) The Sweeney car was actually a Consul GT, fitted with Granada "XL" trim.

holdfast    on 18 April 2016

I Had one, i was so in love with it i Painted a watercolour of it. the engine was not standard, and the suspension improved - when i crashed into a ditch and a tree i bought a Granada and changed everything over. It became rusty and not having the know how to preserve it- i had it crushed in '86- although the engine was sold and the new owner mated it to a mustang transmission and his car was competitive at santa Pod in street classes.

If only i had it now...

Steven Myatt    on 20 May 2020

They weren't Granadas, Paul; they were Consuls. Steven Myatt

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