THE SPORTIER VERSIONS obviously handle better than the base models – for starters, the XR2 is 25 mm lower, but the good thing is, the shell’s not that much different so bringing it up to spec’s simple while improvement is easy via specialist bolt-on kits. A lot of what you do though is dictated by engine choice — we’ve already reported on Orbital Motorsport kits for Matt Barton’s Zetec project car, and some parts are suitable for standard-engined cars.
Fiestas handle well using dead easy, straightforward traditional means — as with most MacPherson strut cars, there are two ways — simple lowering springs, or swap to fully adjustable coil-overs — that way it’s dead easy to set up ride height and damping. But don’t lower it too much otherwise excessive negative camber sets in and you’ll need adjustable TCAs and camber bolts.
Start with the important bit: decent tyres — but fitted to larger wheels, as the base model uses 12 inch rims. Just bringing it up to decent basic spec to begin with, plus the normal set of poly bushes, improves things no end. It’s reported though that a rear anti-roll bar transforms the car into a rollerskate — but watch that lift-off oversteer!
“IT’S STRAIGHTFORWARD TO MAKE A MK1 OR MK2 FIESTA HANDLE WELL USING TRADITIONAL PARTS AND TECHNIQUES”
XR2 front kit (left) is an easy first step, though adjustable platform coil-overs (right), give the most control.