Ford Fiesta XR2

Ford Fiesta XR2 (1981–1989)

The Ford Fiesta was Ford’s practical hatchback and was simple and economical, but Ford saw more in the Fiesta.

In 1981 they launched the first XR model to the range with the Ford Fiesta XR2, showing how good it was with it’s sporty looks, and a plan to deliver a 3 door hatchback that can travel at 100 mph+.

Fords special vehicle engineering plant in Essex came up with the Ford Fiesta XR2 using the 1600cc Kent engine with 32/34 Weber DFT carburettor to make sure they would commit to the request. With an up-rated gear box and lower stance, the nippy little Fiesta wasn’t just fast in a straight line, it also inspired confidence around the bends.

Today, the Fiesta XR2 has given us all great joy in the past as an agile hatchback, with practicality and performance. As an appreciating classic, values are rising so perhaps now is the time to take a trip down memory lane.

Buyers Guide

If you’re thinking of buying a bit of Ford heritage then the XR2 is a great example of the past.

We are talking about a car that is over thirty years old and already has classic status,  so expect some ageing problems unless you’re paying for an excellent example.

Rust is one of the major concerns, so here is a list of areas to check for the rot: bonnet edges and hinges, inner and outer sills, battery tray, boot lid, filler cap and floor pan.

We’re not saying they will all be rotten; in fact, on a decent car they won’t be, however it doesn’t hurt to check.

Listen out for engine noises; juddering or a squeal from the clutch on pull away means a worn clutch.

If it wanders, then the suspension bushes could be worn, and if the brake pedal is a bit spongy you could have a leak or air in the system.

Any knocking from the bottom end of the engine spells big end trouble, and is most likely bearings.

On the CVH engine, if you discover any top end rattle, this could be a worn cam shaft or a possible loose cam belt on the OHV engine. If you’re listening for rattles they will be a little lower.

Make sure you get good documented history (regular oil changes are important as is a full service history).

Ford Fiesta XR2

Ford Fiesta XR2 MK1 – 1981 – 1983

Years Produced 1981-1983
Performance0-60 mph 9.4 sec / Top Speed 106 mph
Power & Torque 85 bhp / 91 Ib ft
Engine 1598 cc four cylinder 8 valves
Drive-train Front engine FWD
TransmissionFour speed manual
Weight 840 kg

Ford Fiesta XR2 MK2 – 1984 – 1989

Years Produced 1984-1989
Performance 0-60 mph 9.2 sec / Top Speed 116 mph
Power & Torque 96 bhp / 98 Ib ft
Engine 1598 cc four cylinder 8 valves
Drive-train Front engine FWD
TransmissionFour speed manual eight
Weight850 kg

Interesting Fact

In the last 40 years one in every 20 cars sold has been a Ford Fiesta. This means that 5% of all cars sold in the UK are Ford Fiestas.

Mark Wilkinson, Managing Director Says:

“The Ford Fiesta XR2 is a classic Ford. Still reasonably cheap to buy and basic enough to work on in your own garage at home, the perfect classic car”

mark says

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