Hot Car - Feature: Project Fiesta
"Part 1...showing how we went about transforming a stock 1300cc Fiesta..."
December 1980



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Feature: Project Fiesta

Thank you to Frank Dauber (aka fiestaseriex) for supplying this article.

Hot Car - Feature: Project Fiesta - Front Cover

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Copy of Article Text Below

.....particularly impressed at the way Steve was going about it, tasteful yet simple body mods, a t'riffic one colour green paint job and contrasting interior. Now if you could capture this high blend of refinement wrapped round a highly tuned suspension and engine, then in essence you would be creating the ultimate tailor made vehicle.

This is exactly the sort of treatment we had in mind when we approached Ford about doing a joint project with us in early 1980 based on a Ford Fiesta. As you may have guessed, they agreed but why a Fiesta, you may well ask? Of all the hatchbacks currently on sale this must rank as one of the best shapes, it's also a big seller throughout Europe and is a car most people are familiar with, or can associate with but it manages to retain that certain amount of individuality thanks mainly to the side body swage and clean cut lines.

So far we've established that the Fiesta is good looker amongst the small car ranks, but as is often said, looks alone are not enough and obviously we weren't to be swayed by this single fact. A glance at the latest offerings in the Rallye Sport catalogue more or less sealed the matter though as far as I was concerned. Here was a whole stack of Fiesta bits developed for road use ranging from complete high performance replacement engines to brake pads.

No one to our knowledge had actually tapped this range of components at the time to produce an impressive road car, so this too was a deciding factor.


Ford presented us with a Fiesta 1300GL base vehicle in April and after getting to know the car over a short period, noting performance figures and the handling in general, it was driven into the confines of the workshop for major surgery.

At around this time we had already decided on the style of body mods intended for the car; it was simply a matter of putting the ideas down on paper. After sketching out a few roughs these were posted off Steve Kirk, who had agreed to handle the styliing of the project right from the outset.

The brief was to draw up both front and rear three quarter views of a Fiesta fitted with box style wheel arches, a deep front air dam and rear spoiler, designed in a style similar to the group 5 type or the American IMSA look. Our original ideas, were interpreted as we had hoped and certainly transform the car into something really visually exciting. Needless to say we were very pleased, the arches are stylish, suitably different, yet remarkably subtle when toned down with a simple paint job. The front spoiler - a deep wrap around item - gives the appearance of the car being lowered, while the neat flick up rear spoiler finishes off the look an absolute treat.

The real question though was would we be able to transform these sketches into a reality? Would the flares really need to be that wide? How would we get round the problem of fitting the rear spoiler so that it didn't interfere with the boot lock and rear wiper? Just a few of the many questions we needed to consider.

All will be revealed in a later issue when we show you how Fibresport in Basildon, Essex (0268 27331) went about piecing the puzzle together using fibreglass panels.

Meanwhile back at HQ, as already stated our little Fiesta found its way indoors to be greeted by Messrs Auger and Keys armed with spanners and much enthusiasm (in joke) who were ready and waiting to begin the mechanical mods to both the engine, suspension, and braking system. The replacement components for the car came straight from the shelfs of Rallye Sport headquarters and are specifically designed to be used on the Fiesta range. There's so much in the way of high performance gear available that a separate parts catalogue has been compiled. This too is available from your Rallye Sport stockist and is free of charge. Just send a large SAE.


Heart of the proposed mods consisted of fitting a 1600cc Federal mill equipped with Escort Sport pistons, distributor and topped with the Sport head. This is equipped with a Weber 34 DATR carb and free flow exhaust manifold. The stock 1300cc Fiesta clutch and transmission is deemed adequate to handle the increase in horsepower from the larger powerplant, so this has been retained. The stock driveshafts are also adequate, the fact that they can transmit up to 130bhp seems to justify retaining them, especially when you consider that our particular car when complete will be pumping out 90bhp through the stock carb, although a further 15% increase can be had by fitting twin Weber 441DF carbs, which again are available through Rallye Sport together with the manifold.

Okay so we've sorted out the powerplant, clutch, transmission and.....

Captions -

Top-Left - New front crossmember, roll bar. stronger tie bars. Bilstein gas dampers and front struts constitute the majority of the duty suspension package.
Top-Right - Front strut assembly in position
Bottom-Left - 1600cc cross flow unit (A) puts out 90bhp and uses Federal black Escort Sport pistons, head and distributor. Increase diameter disc kit (B) uses standard pads but needs relocating with (C) caliper extension kit. Small black bracket (D) is in fact a servo brake. Front rally springs (E) should help the handling somewhat. Those smart looking RS 7x13" diameter wheels IF I will be fitted on all four corners. A neat front silencer takes the two manifold down pipes (G) but utilises the rest of the exhaust system.
Bottom-Right - Four branch manifold comes in two parts