|James' "Neil's Auto Interiors" retrimmed Turbo. Mk4 dash and door cards, leather and alcantara Recaro SR seats. See James' site at http://www.fiestas.mcmail.com for more information.|
Fitting white dials is a common modification and an idea first shown by Ford themselves on the 1992 Escort Cosworth. Most kits will require the needles removing, which if not done carefully can lead to incorrect readings, but recently Lockwood introduced a kit with large holes in the centre of the dials, which allows them to be fitted by sliding them over the top. As the dials are now white, the needles require painting a contrasting colour, usually red or orange.
Push Button Starter
An increasing trend on sports cars such as the Lotus Elise and Honda S2000 is the use of an aluminum button to start the engine, rather than the usual turning of the key. Push button starter kits are available that fit any 12v negative earth vehicle and contain all the switchgear required. A 22mm button is fitted into the dashboard which activates a relay to fire the starter motor. The car can still be started using the key as normal.
Colour coding trim parts can brighten up the interior well, the centre console and vents are the most popular. Stick to parts that aren't handled regularly to avoid the paint peeling off. Foliatec make a range of paint and primer products designed specifically for interior trim. You can even go as far as painting the whole dash or door cards, although it's a little irreversible if it didn't turn out as planned. The most common items to colour code are the air vent surrounds, the door pull surrounds, the panel by the window and boot switches on 89-92 cars, and the plastic trim around the head unit, ashtray and heater controls.
Useful on most modified Fiestas, vital on some. Boost pressure is the most often seen guage, with a black or white face to match white dials. TIM and SW produce a range of good budget gauges, with companies like Auto Meter catering for the top end of the market. Aftermarket gauges will give a more accurate reading than the standard Ford ones, allowing better monitoring of engine status such as water temperature and oil pressure.
There are several places to mount gauges in the Fiesta. A single gauge can be fitted in place of the driver side air vent, or where the clock usually is. Nomad Racing produce a range of carbon covers, including a 2 or 3 hole cover that fits in place of the centre vents and clock.
Steering Wheels and Gear Knobs
Companies such as Momo and Sparco offer a good line in replacement gear knobs and steering wheels. The original items are often far to large and very plastic. Momo wheels are probably the most popular aftermarket items, and Sparco do a good range of race style wheels. You will need a boss to fit the wheel, so remember to check when buying. A popular security device is the Snap-Off wheel. This enables the steering wheel to be quickly detached and taken with you or attached to a welded or bolted down boss in the boot. Even if a thief find the wheel, they will need a key to release it. The Snap-Off system works with Power Up steering wheels and Momo / Sparco with an adaptor boss. Most gear knobs are universal fitment and are available in a wide range of designs from round to anatomic in aluminium, carbon and leather finishes. The alloy item from the Puma is the same threaded fitment as the Fiesta and is etched with the gear numbers on it.
Carpets and Mats
Fiestas produced prior to May 1992 have grey carpets and trim, later ones are black. It's not difficult to replace the grey with 92 spec black, but it involves removing all the seats, centre console and sill trims. On the revised Mk3 introduced in 1994 Ford relocated the VIN plate to under the drivers floor mat and also changed the seat mountings. This means a black carpet from one of these cars won't fit an earlier car correctly as the seat holes are in the wrong place in the carpet.
There are a few places, noticeably Autostyle, that produce high quality tailored mats. These are cut to the exact floorpan shape of the car and can be embroidered with a choice of logo or name. They also offer the option of a metal heel plate in several styles as well as pre shaped mats made from 2mm thick Aluminium checker plate.
A common modification for the older and lesser spec'd Fiestas, is to fit RST Recaros, these can be picked up from RS breakers and shows, price depends on condition of course, but even a cheap pair can look fantastic when retrimmed. When buying secondhand seats for retrimming, go on the condition of the foam inserts rather than the wear on the material. Recaros from both the Fiesta and Series 2 Escort RS Turbos will fit straight in, the Series 1 Escort and Sierras have different mounting frames. The Zetec XR2i and Si have much better seats than previous models, with side bolsters and shoulder supports.
There are plenty of manufacturers that offer aftermarket seats to fit the Fiesta. Reclining seats that have tilt mechanisms will allow access to the back seats and most have tailored subframes available to fit directly in the Fiesta without needing modification.
Fixed back bucket seats are only really suitable for cars that either have no rear seats or are not used. There are several types of buckets. Budget seats like the Sparco Sprint and Corbeau Forza are tubular steel framed whereas more expensive ones like the Sparco Rev and Corbeau Pro Race have fibreglass shells. The fibreglass seats tend to provide better support and also weigh substantially less than the steel frames. At the top of the range are carbon fibre and kevlar seats. They are extremely light, but have a price tag to match, typically twice the price of the same seat in fibreglass.
Mounting bucket seats is trickier than recliners, as subframes are not produced for most seats. Most steel framed seats are base mounted, fibreglass and carbon ones are side mounted. The makers of the seat will produce the mounting hardware. Side mounts are steel or alloy brackets that attach to the side of the seat and have holes in the bottom to bolt to the floorpan of the car. The problem in the Fiesta is that the floorpan is not flat, and it's not possible to mount the seats direct to the floor.
The easiest way to fit side mount seats into a Fiesta is to obtain a set of sliding runners from any old seats that fit your car, for instance base model seat runners will fit an RST. It is then possible to bolt the side mounts to the runners, using the bolts that held the runners to the old seats. This will allow them to be adjusted backwards and forwards the same as the original seats.
The most radical way to transform your interior is to go for a complete retrim. There are a few specialist companies like Neil's Auto Interiors and Carisma Automotive who specialise in modified cars. Carisma have mainly produced Renault 5 interiors so far, although they have done one Fiesta, and the quality of their work is superb. Door builds and speaker pods can be easily integrated at this time, and most Carisma work demonstrates this in effect. If you have the budget, companies like these will be able to put your ideas into practice. Leather is the most popular choice and alcantara, a suede like material goes well with it and also is not so cold in the winter! Synthetic leather and vinyl costs about half the price of the real thing, and if done properly, can be indistinguishable
Besides just giving a race look to your car, harnesses offer more support than standard belts and stop you sliding around in your seat. An essential match to race seats, they are available in two main types. Clubman harnesses are the same 2” width as standard seatbelts and have the same release mechanism. FIA harnesses have 3” shoulder straps and 2” or 3” waist straps with a quick release mechanism.
They fit into the car using eye bolts that replace the 17mm seatbelt anchor bolts. Most will interfere with rear seat usage as the shoulder straps anchor to the rear belt points, but Sabelt produce a 3 point harness with a QR shoulder strap so the harness can be detached when carrying passengers.
There are two reasons for fitting a roll cage, form or function. The design and material of the cage is different for motorsport cages than it is for show ones.
Motorsport cages only function is to reinforce the shell of the car to stiffen up the handling and protect the occupants in the event of a crash. Looks are not important. The cages are almost always certified for motorsport use and fit very close to the body shell. As they are designed for stripped out racing cars, interior trim usually gets in the way when fitted to a road car. Door card, trim panels and the seatbelt adjustment mechanisms usually need to be modified.
There are several types of motorsport cages available for the Mk3 Fiesta.
6 point bolt in cages attach to each rear arch and four points on the floorpan of the car. These are usually rear triangles with the front sections bolted on. To fit them requires holes drilling in the car, and with some cages, support brackets welding in. Depending on the design of the cage, it may be possible to still have the rear seats usable. The diameter of the tubing is usually 1.5” (37mm) to 2” (50mm) and most bolt in cages are supplied painted black.
Multipoint bolt in cages also bolt to drilled holes in the bodywork, but have more mounting points and some cages have triangulations that attach to the front suspension turrets. Multipoint cages will have more bars, and are designed for cars with no rear seats.
Weld in cages are the ultimate form of cage. As the name suggests these are welded rather than bolted into the car and effectively form part of the structure of the vehicle. Very extreme for a road car and a totally irreversible modification.
Cages just for show are often of a larger diameter than motorsports ones, typically 2” to 3”. As strength is not an issue, most are made from aluminium, which can be polished easily, whereas stainless steel cages will require chroming. They do not need to fit as close to the bodywork, so can be made to clear the seatbelts and require the minimum amount of trim cutting to fit.
At the time of writing there are no companies that produce show cages for the Fiesta, so they will need to be custom made to order. A good place to start is engineering companies that have the facilities to bend and weld alloy tubing.