Take a stroll through 60 years of Cosworth history

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There’s more to the engine pioneers than just Sierras, you know. But also Sierras

Last week, Cosworth celebrated its 60th anniversary. You know Cosworth. It’s the Northampton-based engineering outfit made famous for its winning racing engines and, probably more recognisably, the Ford Sierra RS.

The brand created its first engine for Formula Junior back in 1959, working on the design to build the DFV engine in ‘67, which remains the most successful engine of all time in Formula 1, powering the likes of James Hunt and Jackie Stewart to wins. Cosworth worked with a total of 55 teams during its time in Formula 1.

Indy500 cars and American touring cars followed, with the infamous Ford Sierra RS Cosworth coming in 1984.

Today, the brand is making headlines for its pairing with Aston Martin to create the +1000bhp Valkyrie hypercar – which sounds incredible – plus its expansion to a North American factory in June this year. There’s also ample safety software, autonomy and hybrid technology to ensure the brand will reinvent the market for the next 60 years to come.

Take a look though our gallery to see the work of Cosworth new and old, including the legendary Lotus 49 parked up next to the Valkyrie at Cosworth’s midlands headquarters, alongside founder Mike Costin, Director Kevin Kalkhoven and CEO Hal Reisiger.

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Where it all started - Cosworth’s original studios in Northampton. An acre of land was bought for £6,000. A year after launch, Cosworth builds its first engine for Formula Junior.

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Cosworth engineering at its finest - Bill Brown (Design and Development), Keith Duckworth (Engine Designer), Mike Costin (Team Cosworth) and Ben Rood (Ford DFV F1 Engine) stood next to their acclaimed DFV F1 engine.

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The 1963 Ford Cortina Lotus had Keith Duckworth’s tuning expertise on its 1,557cc straight-four engine.


In 1967, the DFV is launched officially in Formula 1. It remains the most successful F1 engine of all time, powering the likes of Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart and James Hunt to wins. It was used by more than 55 teams including Lotus, McLaren, Tyrrell and Williams.


In 1975, Cosworth launched the DFX – a turbocharged version of the DFV – in the US. It goes on to win the Indy 500 race for ten consecutive years.


The brand’s iconic Ford Sierra RS Cosworth made its appearance in 1985, making headlines with its 2.0-litre turbocharged 4cyl engine. Over 30 years later, we’re still celebrating it here at TG, with the Cossie making it into our ultimate Eighties heroes earlier this year.


You can smell the velour from here – but with electric windows, a leather steering wheel and electronic door-ajar notifications, it was surprisingly ahead of its time.

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The Benetton B194 – powered by a Ford Zetec-R V8 engine (produced by Cosworth but funded by and badged as a Ford) – led Michael Schumacher to win his first F1 World Championship in 1994.

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Cosworth engines still leading the way in the 2013 Indy500 race.

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Cosworth’s advanced Performance Data Recorder (PDR) made its debut on the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette. The system records high-definition video and combines with telemetry of your lap to analyse every corner and braking error.

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Believe it or not, the Honda NSX gets engine blocks and heads imported straight from Northampton, which are assembled into twin-turbo powerhouses at Honda’s engine plant in Anna, Ohio.

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Photos from the 60th birthday celebrations capture the Cosworth back catalogue in all its glory. The Lotus 45 perhaps getting the most attention…

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Here, Alan Jones’ Williams-Ford FW07B from 1980 takes centre stage.

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The Lotus 49B.

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The Aston Martin Valkyrie sneaked into the celebrations too.

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The Ford Sierra Cosworth R500 touring car was first introduced in 1987.

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The future tech of the company promises to keep the brand going for another 60 years.

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An engine, last week.

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And here’s the Sierra RS Cossie rolling with its Eighties brethren – part of TG mag’s Retro celebration a little while back…

STORY Becky Wells

Author: TopGear
Top Gear is a British television series about motor vehicles, primarily cars, and is the most widely watched factual television programme in the world.