Ford Mk1 RWD Fiesta With Individual Throttle Bodies Twists The Dyno!

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.

To those of us here in the States, seeing a longitudinal 4-cylinder engine seems odd, but Robert assures us many hot-rodders in the UK take this path.

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 torque curve of this Mk1 Fiesta suggests that it will be a blast to drive with nearly all of the torque available through 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?

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About the author

Jason Reiss

Jason draws on over 15 years of experience in the automotive publishing industry, and collaborates with many of the industry's movers and shakers to create compelling technical articles and high-quality race coverage.
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