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Tiff Needell, the Best To Ever Do It, Reunited With Escort Cosworth Race Car

A secret of automotive journalists: All of us basically want to be Tiff Needell. The English racer is one of the best car reviewers of all time. In his time on the original Top Gear from the 1980s through the early 2000s, and at Fifth Gear afterwards, Needell shot incredible car reviews. His racing background and superhuman car control combined with his excitable delivery in a perfect recipe. Even now, at age 71, Tiff’s still got it.

Jonny Smith of the Late Brake Show on YouTube reunited Needell with a Ford Sierra Cosworth Group A touring car for a recent video. Needell not only raced a couple rounds of the British Touring Car Championship in 1989 in a Labatt’s-liveried Sierra Cosworth, he reviewed the car for Top Gear too. This time he’s in his teammate’s car, a remarkable, unrestored example that’s totally race ready.

Needell doesn’t push quite as hard as he did 35 years ago—the car’s worth around a half million British pounds now—but he still opens it up around England’s Mallory Park. His driving and presenting are as good as ever, as he tells the story of his BTCC win at Donnington Park behind the wheel.

The Sierra is a tricky car to drive, too. Typical of a touring car the steering is quite heavy, and the power from its turbocharged Cosworth four-cylinder is prodigious. The car brakes well, though, and using an h-pattern gearbox and heel-toeing downshifts brings him huge satisfaction. 

My problem with writing this story was resisting the temptation to fall down a Tiff YouTube rabbithole. His reviews of the McLaren F1, E60-generation BMW M5, and Ferrari F430 Spider are all must-watches, and that only begins to scratch the surface. If you’ve never done a deep dive, do yourself a favor.

#Tiff #Needell #Reunited #Escort #Cosworth #Race #Car

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