February 6, 2023

This homebuilt {custom} Mk5 Ford Fiesta was as soon as an outdated woman’s buying automotive, but it surely’s been given new life as an EcoBoosted observe weapon.

Characteristic from Quick Ford journal. Phrases: Simon Holmes. Photographs: Jason Dodd.

It’s unhappy to assume that some vehicles are destined for a easy lifetime of transporting a weekly store, or being pushed at strolling tempo whereas a brand new driver learns for the primary time.

The reality is that any automotive has the potential for extra, and when it got here to this 2001 Fiesta 1.3 Flight, Andy Franks saved it from a lifetime of boredom by stepping in to provide it a brand new cause to reside. Now spending its days primarily on race circuits, Andy has been creating it from an ordinary highway automotive to a succesful observe weapon, full with cutting-edge EcoBoost energy from a Fiesta ST180.

The story begins again in 2016 with Andy shopping for the automotive from an outdated woman who used it for buying. With simply 55,000 miles on the clock, he purchased it for his brother-in-law to be taught to drive in, however the plan by no means got here to fruition. As an alternative, the automotive sat on the driveway for 2 years with out transferring, so Andy reclaimed it in 2018 with a brand new concept in thoughts. Though it had been sat for a few years and the paint had pale, below all of the filth and dirt Andy might see it was nonetheless an excellent shell. So after an excellent clear and a polish it regarded prepared for its new life.

Andy reveals, “The plan was to construct a low-budget observe automotive from it. I had at all times wished to do observe days and thought this may be an ideal starter. I believed I’d put a much bigger engine in, uprate the suspension and brakes, and get it out on observe.”

Custom Mk5 Ford Fiesta cannards

The primary stage of the plan concerned stripping the automotive down, eradicating the unique 1.3-litre engine and changing it with the extra highly effective 1.6-litre engine from a Mk5 Fiesta Zetec S. To go along with it got here Zetec S bumpers and facet skirts, whereas a set of coilovers and greater brakes from a Focus ST170 created an amazing base for an entry-level observe automotive. From there got here a rear roll cage to assist stiffen the shell, in addition to present security, plus higher seats, poly bushes and strut braces.

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The package deal was easy however efficient, and Andy started to place it to good use on observe days, though it was a steep studying curve.

Andy remembers, “The automotive was good once I first went on observe, aside from I used low-cost highway tyres so had horrible grip. However second day out, I upgraded the tyres and it was so significantly better; it dealt with nice and the brakes had been actually good. I simply had no energy on the straights and was overtaken by all the pieces.”

RAMair filter

Though additional modifications and developments adopted with every observe day, reminiscent of full bucket seats and uprated engine mounts, the Covid lockdown meant the automotive was then laid as much as relaxation.

However in December 2021, Andy was again out on observe ultimately and located himself impressed to take the {custom} Mk5 Ford Fiesta up a stage.

He says, “I used to be on the way in which dwelling from a observe day having carried out a number of laps in my brother’s Fiesta ST180. I used to be telling my girlfriend how a lot faster it was than mine and he or she instructed I ought to simply put that engine in my automotive.”

Andy had already been becoming a Focus ST170 engine in an effort to extend energy, however the concept of an EcoBoost caught with him, and after some analysis he realised it may very well be carried out with out an excessive amount of problem.

ST180 ecoboost engine

“For the associated fee concerned, there wasn’t really a lot within the two conversions both. I did loads of analysis earlier than speeding out and trial becoming elements,” he says.

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His coronary heart now set on the concept, by the following weekend he was on the highway to choose up the engine from a broken ST180 he discovered on eBay. Opting to suit the engine the best and least expensive means, Andy retained the IB5 gearbox already within the automotive, subsequently avoiding the necessity for costly {custom} driveshafts.

The clutch package to mate it collectively is an off-the-shelf paddle, and the engine mount was purchased from a specialist in EcoBoost engine conversions. After becoming the entire associated turbo elements, reminiscent of an intercooler and tailored exhaust, it simply left the elements for the ability steering, which had been custom-made, and the small matter of the wiring and ECU.

Custom Mk5 Ford Fiesta drive by shot

Once more, choosing the best answer, Andy discovered a specialist who supplied an tailored wiring loom and an unique ECU coded to work with out the related Mk7 Fiesta looms, modules and sensors. Avoiding the necessity for a massively costly aftermarket ECU able to direct injection, Andy had the conversion completed and fitted in a fantastically easy and cheap means, and the consequence was very efficient.

Though the automotive may be very a lot constructed for observe days, Andy is fast to level out that it’s highway authorized and he does apply it to the highway for native exhibits and occasional mornings. The stripped-out inside makes for a hardcore experience, but it surely in any other case drives properly, he says.

He confirms, “It drives properly at low speeds but it surely’s a handful whenever you put your foot down. It places a smile in your face, as there are not any electronics; no traction management and no ABS. Grip has turn into an issue and it spins the wheels actually simply.

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Custom Mk5 Ford Fiesta interior

“For the time being the engine is totally customary, aside from a de-cat, induction package and a Stage 1 map.”

Out on observe, the added efficiency has made the {custom} Mk5 Ford Fiesta much more enjoyable, as Andy is now not in the back of the pack, however the improved energy highlighted some points.

“It handles like a go-kart, however the first time on observe with the brand new setup, it went by way of a set of pads actually rapidly, as I’m braking more durable because of the increased velocity.”

Andy additionally feels that the coilovers want changing quickly, as he’s observed they really feel a lot softer now that cornering velocity has improved, however there are plans on the horizon, together with a full roll cage and many extra.

Custom Mk5 Ford Fiesta rear 3/4

“You at all times need extra, and a change of turbo to see 300bhp is subsequent, however earlier than that it wants an LSD. I believe it’s going to be a kind of tasks that by no means ends, most likely the identical as everybody else’s.”

Removed from completed it could be, however we’re positive he’s actually entering into the suitable course, contemplating how the automotive might have been residing out its life.

Tech Spec: Customized Mk5 Ford Fiesta


1596cc EcoBoost conversion, {custom} engine mount, induction package, de-cat, Stage 1 map, {custom} intercooler, {custom} exhaust


200bhp (proprietor’s estimate)


IB5 gearbox, Pumaspeed paddle clutch


AP Sport Suspension coilovers


Entrance: Focus ST170 callipers with ST170 300mm discs and EBC Yellowstuff pads; rear: Focus ST170 callipers with ST170 283mm discs and EBC Yellowstuff pads

Wheels & Tyres:

7x16in Ford Mondeo Si wheels, 4×108, ET35 with 195/45/16 Nankang NS2R tyres


Zetec S bodykit and spoiler, TRC entrance splitter, extra Renault Laguna splitter, entrance canards, Fiesta RS Turbo bonnet vents, single-wiper conversion


Sparco Dash bucket seats on weld-in seat rails, TRS six-point harnesses, OMP steering wheel and boss, roll cage, Zetec S clocks