There’s no getting away from a Mk2 Fiesta for Mr Ignition Advantages – the owner of possibly the world’s most-extreme front-wheel-drive Ford drag car.
How did you get into cars?
I guess it all started for me with my Grandad, who was a mechanic and ran his own garage for many years. It must have rubbed off and virtually all of my friends have been into cars.
When I was a teenager we started buying cheap cars and messing about with them, although we were too young to drive them!
It was actually a very early, 1983 Mk2 Fiesta. It looked a little ratty but was solid. I did some bits on it, wheels, suspension and so on and then crashed it. Rather than repair it, I sold it to a friend and just bought another, as they were cheap cars back then.
What happened to it?
The same friend still owns it. He repaired it, as it was still a good car, painted it matt black and then, over the years, turned it into a drag car. I built a basic Zetec turbo engine for it a while back it and it now runs 11.19 seconds at 119 mph at Santa Pod, which is blistering quick for the spec!
How did the bug for drag racing the Mk2 Fiesta come about — were you influenced by a particular car?
I have to say, it was actually my friend and your own Classic Ford contributor, Simon Holmes that started it all for me. He used to own a black Mk2 XR2 with one of the very first Zetec turbo conversions and he was one of the first guys I saw racing a Mk2 at Santa Pod regularly.
What’s your goal for the car this year?
I don’t have a particular time or power figure in mind, I just want to get some good seat time out on the strip, as the car has changed a lot and needs lots of fine adjustment to get the best out of it. As long as it progresses each time, or we learn something on each run, then I’ll be happy.
Do you think there’s much more potential to come from it in terms of power?
Amazingly, yes. We run less boost than we have done before and the engine was making good power, we just ran out of fuel as it maxed out the injectors. It’s crazy really, as if you had told me a few years ago that a Zetec was capable of the 815 bhp I run now, I would have thought you were mental. The E85 fuel makes the biggest difference and I think everyone wants to see 1000 bhp out of a Zetec, so we will see.
If you had to start again, would you still use a Mk2 as a base?
Most definitely. I love a Mk2 Fiesta; I’ve had about 20 of them over the years, mostly base-spec models which is how the drag car started out. Saying that, I would maybe have started with a Mk1 Fiesta, as they are lighter.
Have you thought about taking it over to the US for Hot Rod’s infamous Drag Week?
It has crossed my mind more than once and at one stage I started pricing it up! I’ve been to Drag Week a couple of times and am going again this year; it’s such a good event and is everything I love about the drag racing scene. I would have to convince my wife we don’t need a bigger house first, though!
You’ve got £12K to buy and build a classic Ford for the road. What would you do?
That’s a tough one. I’d most likely do another Mk2 Fiesta, but mid-engined. I’m not sure what engine combo I’d go for, maybe Saab turbo power, but I’ve wanted a Fiesta that could do a wheelie for a while!
I’d actually probably carry on with my current Mk2 drag car; or least build an even more advanced, lighter and more powerful version of it.
Most embarrassing car-related moment you’d care to admit to?
Probably spinning a friend’s 400 bhp Fiesta as I crossed the line at over 100 mph at Santa Pod. It just grazed the wall, so I was absolutely fine and the car was remarkably unscathed, but it was in front of crowds of people, the strip was closed and I was taken off track in an ambulance!
What’s your favourite event, and why?
In the UK, it has to be the Classic Ford Show by far! I go to plenty of events, mainly at Santa Pod but nothing has quite the same feeling for proper Ford lovers. Outside of the UK, it’s Drag Week.
Click here for more Classic Ford features