Don’t be fooled by the small frame or you’ll end up KO’d in a flash… on the drag strip, of course

The first-generation Ford Fiesta was of paramount importance for the Blue Oval. But with all the optimism in the world, nobody at Ford would have imagined that their globally-sold, fuel-efficient subcompact car would live to hide a Subaru engine where its trunk was originally supposed to be or bang mid-nine-second quarter-mile runs. Case in point: Chris Todd’s Mk1 Ford Fiesta.

Ford coined the Fiesta (known as Project Bobcat during the R&D stage) as a “car for the world,” a concept that was all too dear to then-company-chairman Henry Ford II. By 1973, when the fuel crisis was escalating with full gusto, Ford sped up the development, and on May 11, 1976, the first-ever Ford Fiesta rolled off the production line in Saarlouis, Germany. The Fiesta still lives today as one of the most nimble propositions in Europe’s supermini segment, but we’re not here to talk about that, because someone is drag racing a tweaked first-generation Fiesta and we think that’s absolutely beautiful.


When Chris Todd bought his Fiesta back in 1998, he had no intention of turning it into a fully blown drag racer. However, the small hatch has suffered the kind of transformation you normally see in a school-bullied skinny kid who took the avenue of bodybuilding as a way of coping with the pressure. Long story short, this Mk1 Fiesta ended up with a Subaru-sourced engine shoehorned inside its derriere. And wheelie bars. And street radials. And a whole list full of aftermarket bits and bobs.

Now, let’s talk a little bit about what moves this Mk1 Ford Fiesta. In an interview with SpeedHunters, Chris sheds more light on the engine, which is a Subaru EJ20 flat-four turbocharged mill running on both petrol or methanol bolted to Getrag six-speed gearbox transplanted from a Porsche Boxster S. Power output is undisclosed, but the entire build is far, far away from standard spec.

Chris threw in a motorsport-spec oil pump, Cometic 1.3-millimeter head gaskets, a Garret GTX35 turbocharger, an AEM engine management system, as well as a direct-port nitrous kit. The brakes are a mix of Mk2 Fiesta XR2 calipers and drilled discs in the front and VW Golf-sourced calipers sinking into Subaru discs in the rear. The rear and side windows are Lexan, the hood is custom made from carbon fiber, and the interior hides a Webster Race Engineering roll cage, Sparco bucket seats, five-point belts, and a Mountney three-spoke sports steering wheel.


We know, that’s nothing less than impressive, but keep in mind that Chris added stuff to his Fiesta over a period of 21 years, as he aimed to further improve it. But know what? Even more impressive is the fact that the petite drag racer can pull wheelies and casually rip smokey burnouts as well as cover the quarter-mile in 9.4 seconds. Dang, you don’t even have to take our word for it. Just check out the video and see for yourself.

Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert -
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
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