The Ford Fiesta has European roots, so we look to the United Kingdom to learn more about Robert Casebrook’s unique Mk1 RWD Fiesta supermini rear-wheel-drive conversion.
Under the hood is an ST170 2.0-liter Zetec-R engine. It uses a Cosworth-modified cylinder head and variable valve timing on the intake side to achieve 170 horsepower in factory trim. The inline 4-cylinder dual-overhead-cam engine is a staple of Ford’s small cars and originally came to market in the early ‘90s, but never appeared in the Mk1 Fiesta. Ford of Europe manufactured the front-wheel-drive Mk1 Fiesta platform from 1976 through 1982 as a 3-door hatchback; the largest engine available from the factory was the 1.6-liter Crossflow inline-four conceived way back in 1959.
As the Fiesta is originally a front-wheel-drive platform, the engine in Casebook’s Mk1 RWD Fiesta is turned longitudinally and backed with an RX8 short-ratio gearbox. An Escort Mk2 cut-down rear axle and quick-ratio steering rack finish off the RWD conversion. The Fiesta has been outfitted with Gaz adjustable coilover dampers, Wilwood four-piston brakes, and several other goodies to help it perform at its best.
“When I bought the car, it was halfway done, and I finished it to completion. These swaps are very popular to do in this country. After I built it, I took it to danST, who tuned it to perfection,” says Casebrook.
His collaboration with danST Performance Engineering in Baildon, Shipley, UK (northwest of Leeds) found a set of danST’s 44mm individual throttle bodies installed on the ST170, while the spent gasses exit through a custom Simpson Racing exhaust manifold and exhaust system. danST tuned the engine using a Motorsport Electronics ME221 plug-and-play engine management system that provides the control necessary to run the ITBs.
Unlike the monster 673-cube Aussie engine we covered recently, the diminutive 2.0-liter Zetec-R doesn’t rip the house down with massive torque or horsepower figures. But it does avow this 1,800-pound speedster with some serious acceleration capabilities. How about 193 rwhp at 6,550 rpm and a flat torque band that doesn’t waver more than 25 lb-ft across the entire rev range?
The power figure is about half that of a Coyote-powered Mustang — with less than half the weight to carry — which means this little pocket rocket will provide Robert with one heck of an exciting driving experience as he tests his hill-climb driving ability. Who says you need eight cylinders to have fun?