Hot Car - Feature: 1840cc Fiesta
"Law Dodger. A rather butch Fiesta from over the pond"
August 1978



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Feature: 1840cc Fiesta

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Law Dodger

A rather butch Fiesta from over the pond

America's engine emission laws are choking the fun out of driving. Motors I are becoming low on power, quick to drop off tune, and guzzle too much fuel for their low speed.

An inevitable backlash is the amount of "redeveloped" engines in new cars. Removing emission controls and fitting power parts is becoming the accepted practice. Take the MG B for instance; this once put out nearly 100 bhp that gave a satisfactory performance. New Californian versions now have one small carb and only 64 bhp. Owners do the obvious.

With small four cylinder European and Japanese cars taking a firmer hold in the States many companies are beginning to specialise in the booming trade of engine redeveloping. They sell all the necessary parts to enable a new motor to run without the polution restric-tors and give more power. The law only says that such firms are not allowed to actually fit such goodies, marketing the components is a loophole.

When Ford released their Fiesta last year, it not only enjoyed excellent sales, but the car also came under immediate scrutiny in many workshops.

In the American style, only a large engine version became available, and since it was the ten year old 1600 cross-flow, most tuners already had the knowledge of extracting more power.

One company, Automotive Developments of Orange, California, decided to help their sales by building a show car on race-image lines. They modelled it on the works turbocharged BMWs that are successful both sides of the Atlantic.

Although Ford sell a range of goodies for their new baby in Europe, such as wide wheels, flares, spoilers, sway bars and various other little modifications, they will not be available in America for another year. In the meantime, firms like Automotive Developments will supply what is in demand. Their image car will help publicise their panels, suspension parts and engine components.

As the photographs show, the lines of the front airdam, front wing extensions, rear wing extensions and top spoiler directly relate to the all-conquering German racer. The air outlets at the rear of the front wings are as cosmetic as the air intakes on the front of the rear wings. To fit the latter entails modifying the doors in order to achieve the correct overall shape. The panels arefibreglassand the wing is sheet aluminium. An attractive paint job, alloy wheels and suitable tyres finish the overall looks.

In standard trim the 1600 engine has only 60 bhp (flywheel) which puts the car through the standing quarter in 18 seconds. The obvious budget parts to fit are those which came with the Mk 2 GT Cortina a decade ago, but they only raise the output to just over 80 bhp. Automotive Developments are doing great business selling their "stage two" kit which they claim is the highest recommended for street. The use of 10:1 pistons, a Holley carb on an alloy intake manifold, polished and ported head, 39mm inlet and 34mm exhaust valves, better single coil valve springs, 280 deg. and 0.360" lift camshaft, competition distributor, multibranch exhaust and engine rebalance gives 125 bhp (flywheel). This guarantees in excess of 110 mph and yet gentle use is rewarded by 25 mpg on the freeway.

The showcar has had the engine taken to the limit for even a raror It has been sleeved and bored to 1840cc with 12.5:1 pistons, a stage III camshaft, two huge 40 DCOE Webers to the 42mm inlet valves, dual valve springs with alloy retaining caps, light tubular pushrods, mechanical fuel pump, dry sump lubrication with cooling radiator, and a 2.5 inch bore tail pipe. It has shown close to 1 50 bhp on the flywheel dyno.

In still air conditions this freaky road going Fiesta has run the standing quarter in the low twelves and closed-in on 130 mph.

Further development is limited by the transmission. Although reasonably strong in standard trim it cannot be expected to take over twice the original power without protest. Automotive Developments are making a stronger drivetrain and close ratio gears. When these have been proven they will install the turbo-charged 200 bhp motor they have also been building and four wheel twin caliper discs.

When finished, what was once a compact family hatchback will be a fire breathing road racer that should hit 150 mph. Quite some thing for the Highway Patrol to chase along the freeway.

Captions -

Top-Right - An 1840cc bored mill pushes out 15Obhp via twin DCOE carbs
Bottom-Right - It looks like it goes - rather loud and ruddy fast

Derek Pickard


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