September 26, 2022

By exorcising the demon purple rot from his flying modified Ford Fiesta XR2, Lee Jiggins turned his nightmare into an automotive dream. 

Characteristic from Quick Ford journal. Phrases & Photographs: Dan Sherwood.

Everybody loves a horror movie, don’t they? Certainly even those that proclaim their hatred for the gore-soaked style can admit they get somewhat little bit of a kick from a well-timed soar scare or the nail-biting suspense of supernatural thriller.

However whether or not it’s the sight of blood splattering throughout the display or the considered a knife-fingered madman mendacity in wait underneath your mattress that makes you cower behind your popcorn, there’s all the time a bit of us that enjoys peeking into someplace we realistically know we shouldn’t.

It’s an age-old horror-flick tactic. We’re all screaming on the character on the display to not go down into the basement, however they only should do it anyway, usually leading to them assembly a fairly sticky, if apparent, finish.

This type of curiosity within the face of potential catastrophe occurs within the automobile world too. We are likely to do issues we all know we actually shouldn’t, however we simply can’t assist ourselves. It may be giving our already burdened engine only one extra psi of enhance, and even giving that 20-year-old bolt an additional ugga-dugga with the influence gun; we all know in our hearts that we’re tempting destiny, however we do it anyway. And it is a feeling that 31-year-old Ford fan Lee Jiggins is aware of solely too nicely…

He says, “I don’t know what possessed me to take away the bodykit and take a look behind the arches, however it was at this level that I realised my outwardly tidy Fiesta was a whole rot field. I used to be gutted.”

Previous to this revelation, Lee thought he’d picked up a good machine when he purchased the Zetec-powered modified Ford Fiesta XR2 for simply £2000 a number of weeks beforehand. However his nightmarish discovery meant some main automotive surgical procedure was so as if he was to resurrect his motor from the brink of loss of life.

Modified Ford Fiesta XR2 interior shot

Lee remembers, “It was horrific. I had purchased the modified Ford Fiesta XR2 again in 2015 as an inexpensive weekend toy to mess around with, however it turned out that the hidden rust was much more intensive than I first thought. In the long run I needed to strip the automobile to a rolling shell and drop it off on the bodyshop to type it out.”

Brewsters Motors in Essex was charged with ridding the Fiesta of the parasitic illness that was riddled by way of its physique; a activity that required taking the shell again to reveal metallic earlier than changing nearly all of the panels, – together with the rear quarter panels, the internal and outer sills, each entrance wings and the entrance panel – with model new gadgets.

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Modified Ford Fiesta XR2 engine shot

“With the physique now trying much less just like the sufferer of a very vicious acid assault, it was given a recent coat of manufacturing facility Ford Diamond White,” says Lee. “After I received it again it regarded so good that I couldn’t deliver myself to drill holes within the excellent panels to refit the equipment, because the equipment itself was trying somewhat worse for put on and would’ve ruined the clear look of the paint job.”

But it surely wasn’t simply the plastic bodykit that was exhibiting indicators of getting older, as Lee observed that the wiring loom within the engine bay was additionally well past its finest, so thought it prudent to treatment the state of affairs by putting in a set of motorcycle carburettors and eliminating the messy wiring.

Lee explains, “Whereas I used to be doing the carb improve, I additionally acquired a set of Cobra Monaco Professional bucket seats, harnesses and a rear roll cage, as my imaginative and prescient for the construct was a clear monitor automobile that may be used as a present automobile. To finish this show-and-circuit hybrid, I additionally wanted to decrease the trip top, so I modified a set of Mk1 VW Golf coilovers for the entrance and fitted 50mm decreasing springs with adjustable arms on the rear.”

Modified Ford Fiesta XR2 seats

The now racy-looking machine might need regarded the half, however Lee was by no means proud of how the modified Ford Fiesta XR2 ran on the bike carbs and simply couldn’t get the tune fairly proper. This niggling doubt ate away at his sensibilities, and he hit a crossroad with the construct and even thought of chucking within the towel and promoting it.

“It was contact and go for some time, however ultimately, I bit the bullet and purchased an Omex particular person throttle physique equipment and ECU,” Lee says. “It was a considerable funding, however it was price each penny.”

In addition to the flamboyant induction, Lee additionally put in an Ashley exhaust manifold and a bespoke cat-back system from Stuart at IWS Developments in Colchester, earlier than a mapping session that resulted in a cool 160bhp and 140lb.ft readout on the dyno.

He used and abused his monitor toy for the subsequent two years on this guise, the one upgrades being a full six-point Security Units roll cage that gave him an additional degree of safety ought to the worst occur whereas on circuit.

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Lee says, “It was February 2021 after I determined to take the modified Ford Fiesta XR2 off the street once more, and I took it into work to provide it a little bit of a refresh. However as so usually occurs with these items, I received carried away and I ended up rebuilding and restoring the entire automobile.”

The snowball began when Lee eliminated the engine, stripped it down and despatched it off for vapour blasting so it might be reassembled as clear as doable. That was quickly adopted by the suspension parts receiving the identical therapy earlier than being repainted in satin black. A brand new race pedal field was put in and the now servo-less engine bay was smoothed and repainted.

Lee remembers, “Whereas the engine was in bits, I made a decision I would as nicely stick some lairy cams in there to get a bit extra energy and upgraded the ITBs with a straight Omex inlet manifold and a few 60mm trumpets. The remainder of the motor then received rebuilt with new bearings, seals, rings and mounts, and painted all fairly.”

With the underside of the automobile trying pretty much as good because the bodywork, Lee felt his modified Golf coilovers have been probably not befitting the construct, so swapped them for a set of shiny new Gaz GHA gadgets with Powerflex bushes, earlier than transferring on to refresh the brakes with new discs, pads and rebuilt callipers. An RS Turbo’s limited-slip differential and customized alloy radiator additionally discovered their approach onto the exceedingly superior modified Ford Fiesta XR2.

Lee laughs, “I principally simply went at all the things. I had the mindset that if I’m going to do that, I solely need to do it as soon as and need it to be excellent.”

A full 4 months of graft later, accomplished after work and at weekends, and the XR2 was again collectively and able to hit the dyno once more. Mapped by tuning wizard Steve Pitcher at Observe’n’Street in Rainham, the flying Ford Fiesta XR2 was now making a raucous 190bhp and 160lb.ft, and Lee was over the moon.

“The automobile felt completely mega,” he beams. “I actually loved utilizing and abusing it once more, as that’s precisely what it’s been constructed for.”

The ending touches to the construct have been lavished on the Fiesta’s innards, with Lee putting in a trick AIM MXG digital sprint that he purchased off a mate, and having the dashboard and inside plastics flocked for an genuine rally look. He additionally changed a duplicate steering wheel for a real 280mm OMP Trecento merchandise, a transfer that not solely glad his internal model whore, but additionally ensured the next degree of security by utilizing a tested-and-approved real half.

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Modified Ford Fiesta XR2 rear shot

Lee says, “The Fiesta XR2 lastly feels completed now, however I’ll seemingly find yourself having the exhaust system changed with one thing a bit quieter. Not solely does the quick gearing imply it’s deafening on the motorway, it’s additionally a bit touch-and-go as as to if it might meet the noise laws of most circuits. And as I plan on getting in some extra monitor time this yr, that would throw a large spanner within the works.”

And after all of the blood, sweat and grazed knuckles which have gone into his immaculate construct, turning up on the monitor and being denied the chance to provide it the right ragging that it deserves could be the last word nightmare state of affairs that may have even Freddy Krueger hiding underneath the mattress.

Tech Spec: Modified Ford Fiesta XR2


1989cc silver-top Zetec, Newman PH3 cams (270 diploma), 1.3mm MLS head gasket, Turbosport vernier pulleys, Turbosport alloy backside pulley, Omex 45mm throttle our bodies on Omex straight inlet manifold and 60mm trumpets, Omex 600 ECU, 330cc injectors, Ashley 4-2-1 exhaust manifold, IWS Developments manifold-back exhaust, Vibratechnics engine and gearbox mounts, customized radiator, Spal fan, silicone higher and decrease radiator hoses, block breather and catch can, each half vapour-blasted, block repainted matt black, and rocker cowl repainted in the identical blue as Ford GT rocker covers


190bhp and 160lb.ft torque


Unique five-speed BC gearbox with RS Turbo limited-slip differential, customary 220mm clutch and flywheel


Gaz GHA coilovers, Powerflex Black Collection tie bar and decrease arm bushes, Outlaw adjustable rear trailing arms and Panhard arm, entrance suspension blasted and repainted in satin black


Entrance: XR2 callipers with grooved discs and Ferodo DS2500 pads; rear: rebuilt XR2 drums; floor-mounted pedal field, twin grasp cylinders, stable traces contained in the automobile, Goodridge braided traces

Wheels & Tyres:

6x16in XR2 pepperpot alloy wheels with 165/50×13 Nankang NS2R tyres


Unique Mk2 Fiesta XR2 shell, naked metallic exterior restoration, each rear quarter panels changed, each internal and outer sills changed, each entrance wings changed, entrance panel changed, repainted in manufacturing facility Ford Diamond White, XR2 bodykit eliminated, Mk1 VW Caddy entrance splitter, Aerocatches in bonnet, XR2 bumpers and rear spoiler


Security Units six-point bolt-in roll cage, Cobra Monaco Professional bucket seats, 6TWO1 four-point harnesses, all plastics have been flocked, 280mm OMP Trecento suede steering wheel, AIM MXG dashboard