The Mk2 Fiesta is an more and more uncommon sight, however Scott Matthews’s concours, modified road-racer proves there’s massive potential in Ford’s Nineteen Eighties’ child.
Function from Quick Ford. Phrases: Daniel Bevis. Photographs: Dan Sherwood.
The comedy double-take is a masterfully cinematic trope of recent life, and this Fiesta is jam-packed with them. Certainly, we reckon it could take the typical Ford fan an excellent few glances to understand simply what number of adjustments have been made to this once-humble Fiesta.
We all know these automobiles inside out, so once we spot particulars just like the customized Carbon Delight bumpers and the shortened rear quantity plate recess, the eyes can’t assist however flick again for a re-examination. And anybody who’s twirled spanners beneath a Mk2 Fiesta bonnet will know they’re often hinged from the entrance, not the again…
For a technology of modifiers, the Mk2 Fiesta was the archetypal hatchback of their formative automotive experiences, whether or not practising for his or her driving check in mum’s 1.1L or gazing with envious eyes at flame-spitting RST-swapped XR2s haring down the seafront.
However the Mk2 Fiesta was about greater than street-racing XRs; it was an inexpensive and reliable shopper.
When you had a Fiesta Standard, everybody knew you’d purchased the entry-level, bargain-basement mannequin. The following rung up the ladder was the Standard Plus, then the L, Ghia, S, and eventually XR2. These have been the six core choices; naturally there have been particular editions to confuse and confound (Bonus, Pageant, Firefly, Sprint, Vacation, Fresco, you get the image) however these major six have been the anchors that stored it logical for the shopping for public.
But the automotive we’ve earlier than the lens right now transcends all of the logical ordering to turn out to be one thing else completely. One thing distinctive, a real one-off, painstakingly crafted over a number of years to turn out to be arguably the last word Mk2 Fiesta.
It’s the brainchild of Scott Matthews, a person who is aware of a factor or two about retro Fords and has the sticking energy to see a undertaking via, it doesn’t matter what the funds or timescale.
Certainly, Scott’s now owned this Fiesta for a powerful 17 years, and again when he acquired the automotive it was, making no bones about it, a bit garbage.
Scott remembers, “I solely paid £175 for it. It wasn’t lengthy earlier than I stripped all of it the way in which down and set about working all of it the way in which again up once more.”
The rationale for getting it within the first place was merely that he’d at all times admired the Mk2 XR2, however they have been somewhat past his means, so he acquired the following smartest thing.
It quickly acquired to the stage whereby even when he was within the place to purchase a correct XR2, he turned the chance down as a result of he was so emotionally invested on this automotive. Which, we are able to in all probability all agree, is an excellent factor, as a result of it’s been reworked into one thing spectacular.
Now, at this juncture it’s in all probability essential to deviate down a side-track to jog your reminiscence about Carrera Bodyworks. The title will probably be acquainted to many readers, and regulars ought to keep in mind Carl Taylor’s Rubystone Crimson (er, pink, that’s) Gamers RS Turbo from earlier within the yr: it was masterminded by the craftsman on the helm of Carrera, Jez Bonner, and it’s this inventive character who has helped to mould and form the glowing entity that Scott’s Fiesta has developed into.
Scott says, “A variety of the work carried out over time has been completed at the side of Jez and Carrera Bodyworks.”
And the extra we pore over the physique, the extra one-off particulars reveal themselves. The subtly flared metallic arches are a scrumptious customized job, and different treats embody the shortie plate recess and carbon bumpers, the absence of locks, aspect repeaters or a second wiper, it’s all very… nicely, easy is the proper phrase.
Particularly now that it’s been slathered in Carrera’s distinctive and top-secret mixture of paint, bespoke to this automotive and this automotive alone. It’s directly creamy and chocolatey, and someway icy and frosty, and we’re undecided precisely how that was achieved nevertheless it’s one thing we’re very a lot on board with.
Shod with a recent set of Autostar Minus 15 wheels, whose zero-lip vibes fuse badass stance with motorsport aptitude, the underpinnings of the Fiesta are severe too.
An adjustable Panhard rod has been customized engineered for the automotive, an ingenious resolution that permits house owners of lowered previous Fiestas to regulate and re-centre their rear beam (because the reducing course of tends to pressure the entire beam over to the passenger aspect). The whole lot’s been poly-bushed underneath there as nicely; this isn’t nearly present, there’s a outstanding dedication to the go, as evidenced by the spotless contents of the eat-your-dinner-off-it engine bay.
Ford followers will recognise the motor as a silver high Zetec, nevertheless it’s value noting that that is no abnormal Zetec. Notice the Dunnell plaque on the colour-coded cam cowl.
Dunnell Engines is a extremely revered builder of Zetec and Duratec twin-cam motors for street and race purposes. With 55 years of expertise in drivetrain improvement, bespoke elements are designed in-house and machined on website; each engine is hand-built, run for 5 hours on a dyno, then power-tested and fine-tuned to the client’s specs.
Scott’s engine is a silver-top 1796cc Zetec (the early kind, as present in post-1991 Escorts, Mk3 Fiestas and Mondeos), and it’s been inbuilt a 165bhp state of tune.
Key to its raucous character is the conversion to Weber carbs: the Dunnell package deal features a bespoke inlet manifold, mounting package for the DCOEs, wiring loom, and house owners can specify 3D ignition administration too, though that’s not one thing presently on Scott’s engine. “To be trustworthy, it was constructed that way back I can’t actually keep in mind the complete spec checklist for the engine construct,” shrugs Scott.
Not that it issues one bit. All that issues is the truth that 165bhp is a riotous quantity in a automotive that weighs about as a lot as a contemporary Fiesta’s entrance seats, and he’s paired it with a Mk6 Escort GTi gearbox – which has been artfully colour-coded to the customized paint. Present and go in equal measure, and exquisitely detailed all through.
Maybe essentially the most stunning aspect of the automotive is what’s occurred to the cabin. These of us who clearly remembering smoking about in bargain-basement Mk2s will probably be nicely versed within the situation of saggy seats with threadbare fabric, rattly trim, and scratchy plastics.
However there’s none of that funds distress in right here. The truth is, Scott’s reimagined the cockpit as a sumptuously high-end interpretation of a motorsport package deal. There’s a full Security Units roll cage, which was as soon as painted orange however has now been colour-coded in wonderful gold to match the various golden particulars within the engine bay and all through the chassis. The inventory seats have been ousted in favour of light-weight Corbeau Revolution buckets mated to Luke four-point harnesses, and the carbon fibre door playing cards provide yet one more aspect of synthesis, matching the carbon theme throughout the construct.
What will probably be most gobsmacking to Mk2 followers is the dashboard: the unique setup, an austere jumble of rectangles, has made manner for a new-wave symphony of swooping curves. Scott’s fitted your complete sprint and centre console from a Mk5 Fiesta Zetec S, which is one thing we haven’t seen on some other traditional Fiesta, and it simply works so nicely.
This element, amongst so many others right here, supplies limitless comedy potential at reveals for onlookers to drag these double takes. The Nineteen Eighties’ Fiesta is a well-recognized silhouette, however there’s a lot right here that’s unfamiliar, surprising, and strange.
The last word modified Mk2 Fiesta? It very nicely may be.
Tech Spec: Modified Mk2 Fiesta
1796cc Zetec-E (silver-top) Dunnell Engines twin-Weber 40 DCOE carb conversion package (based mostly on 130PS-spec Zetec 1.8-litre), customized inlet manifold, absolutely mappable electrical ignition system, alloy radiator, customized hoses, wrapped exhaust manifold, color coded
165bhp (proprietor’s estimate)
Ford IB5 five-speed gearbox from Mk6 Escort GTi
Gaz coilovers, Powerflex bushes all through, adjustable Panhard rod
Entrance: Black Diamond discs and pads; rear: EBC drums, braided strains, uprated pedal field
Wheels & tyres:
7.5x15in ET25 Autostar Minus 15 wheels, 165/45×15 tyres
Carrera Bodyworks customized paint, Carbon Delight carbon fibre bumpers, entrance grille and petrol cap, deleted aspect repeaters, clear entrance indicators, customized metallic arches all spherical, shortened quantity plate recess, de-locked, single wiper conversion, shortened aerial, reverse-opening bonnet with fuel struts
Security Units six-point roll cage, Corbeau Revolution seats, Luke four-point harnesses, customized rear strut brace, Momo gearknob and steering wheel, Mk5 Fiesta Zetec S dashboard conversion and centre console, snap-off steering wheel boss, carbon door playing cards, battery relocated as well