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Buyers Guide to:

Ford Fiesta XR2

Useful Info


1981 to 1983

Fuel Type


Engine Size


Engine Type


Drive Configurations


Ford Owners Club

Fiesta Owners Club


Just Kampers

01256 862288,


Fast Fords have a cult following amongst enthusiasts, and in 1981 they were treated to the Ford Fiesta XR2. The small hatchback upon which it was based had been launched five years earlier, and was already extremely popular, but for the sporty model Ford shoehorned a larger 1600cc ‘Kent’ engine under the bonnet. Just 96bhp sounds tame today, but it was joined by uprated suspension and brakes and proved a very capable package. But it was the looks that really grabbed people’s attention, the XR2 getting a subtle body kit, stripes, and front spotlights. And, of course, those distinctive ‘pepper pot’ alloy wheels. Rare and rising in value today, it was replaced by the larger Mk 2 model in 1983.

  1. Front valance and rear valance
  2. Bonnet edges
  3. Front wings and wheel arches
  4. Sills
  5. Door bottoms
  6. Rear wheel arches
  7. Tailgate

The Checklist

  • Every inch of the bodywork as the shell is susceptible to rotting away. Finding replacement panels isn’t easy, so think hard before taking on a restoration
  • The inner wings, both front and rear, and pay particular attention to the front suspension turrets. Repairs to the latter are common, but no problem if done well
  • The underneath as corrosion affects the floor of the cabin and boot, and the front cross-member. And look for signs of accident damage, previous welding beneath, and any hint of filler in the panels
  • For a badly worn engine, looking for excessive smoke that indicates worn cylinder bores, piston rings, or valve guides. Parts are available, though, and it’s an easy engine to overhaul on a DIY basis
  • That the engine isn’t suffering from oil leaks or signs of overheating. It’s cheap and straightforward to service, so there’s no excuse for a neglected motor
  • That the car runs smoothly, with no hesitation or flat spots. A tired ignition system or a carburettor in need of an overhaul are the likely culprits, and both are easy to sort
  • The gearbox as it can suffer from worn synchromesh and a baggy gearshift
  • A slipping clutch and whining from worn differential bearings are other issues to watch for, although neither are deal-breakers if the car is otherwise sound
  • For wear or signs of neglect in the suspension or brakes. Both are simple and inexpensive to overhaul, though
  • That the steering doesn’t exhibit excessive play, which points to wear in the rack or joints. Those ‘pepper pot’ alloys are almost impossible to find now, so ensure they are all present and correct; scruffy ones can be refurbished at a reasonable cost
  • The interior for scruf ness and damage to the seat trim, dashboard, and door cards. Replacement parts are very scarce, so anything that’s missing or beyond repair will be a problem and will mean a hunt for second-hand bits or new/old stock
  • That the car you’re looking hasn’t been modified; rising values mean originality is best

Everything Check Out?

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