Mr Carisma

Dave W's Fiesta Turbo

There are some of us that like to make the odd change or two to our cars. A set of 15s, lower it a bit and maybe some ICE. There. That’ll do. Quite content in driving round in a car that’s better than when we first got it. Dave is not that sort of person though, rather than make key improvements to a car he chose to start a basic mk3 and transform it beyond all recognition. Believe it or not the vision of Montreal Blue perfection you see before you started it’s life as a gold 1.1LX with 13” white wheel trims and a less than tasteful beige interior.

The story begins with a 19 year old Dave and a £3.5k insurance payout in his back pocket for a motor he had recently been relieved of. After careful deliberation as to what vehicle would benefit from this windfall he decided to buy his Gran’s car. Doesn’t sound like the perfect cruise machine but there was method in his madness - the car had only done 13k and was in excellent condition. A sound base for a Fiesta project. Money changed hands and with £3k still to his name, work began. First up was to remove the interior and install it into it’s new home - a skip. A full XR2i interior replaced this, complete with late spec black dash and to prevent a repeat incident, some top notch security and removal of all the locks.

Next up on the list was a full RS option kit, as seen on the XRV and the less-than-easy choice of a colour to spray the car. After looking at some distinctly poor work done by a few bodyshops “you could do better yourself with a supersoaker!” Dave was pointed in the direction of REO Motors in Leicester, and the car was booked in. Eventually deciding on BMW Montreal Blue after seeing a Z3 one evening, Dave collected the car after two weeks and fitted went shopping for some stereo. A couple of Phoenix Gold amps, Infinity components, Alpine head unit and a pair of JL 12” subs along with a few other bits and bobs were purchased and fitted along with 15” League 037s and a set of Boge springs a few months later. The car was definitely starting to take shape.

At the end of 1998 Dave, like most of us, had to pick his jaw up off the floor after seeing Jamie Shaw’s blue & yellow Carisma Renault 5. After planning how he was going to afford such an interior for his car, Dave rang Carisma and booked his car in for June then began to save like mad, cash in shares and sell members of his family (allegedly). He dropped the car off at Carisma along with a Cossie front bumper and some larger door builds to fit in the new sculptured pods. These were no ordinary speakers though, CEL in Leicester suggested a set of Kef Uni-Q 8’s out of a home hi-fi setup. These were outrageously expensive but the quality was literally second to none. Returning from holiday, Dave collected the car and drove home with a huge grin on his face, totally satisfied with the quality of work.The huge grin was maintained after an invite to Max Power Live 99 and a feature in the mag to go with it, including the ‘Totty Trumps’ shoot a couple of months later with the lovely Olivia gracing the trimmed rear bench.

It was only a matter of time before Dave began to feel insufficient beneath the arches and some ‘rotational enhancement’ was due. A set of 17” League 067 were purchased, along with Avo coilovers and the car was taken for archwork at well known performance and styling emporium. After scraping and scuffing his way back to reading Dave decided that arch work is a job best done yourself “Take my advice, do it yourself, no one cares as much about your car as you do!”. Several hours of angle grinding had the arches sorted and along with the new RS2000 skirts, RST arches and XR2i brakes the car was ready for Max Live 2000.

A month after Max Live, Dave had graduated from university and started full time work and it looked like the turbo lump was finally on the cards. Rather than source the engine and other components Dave took the unusual step of buying a complete Fiesta Turbo and swapping the parts over. One Saturday in September 2000 the conversion work began. It took until the end of March 2001 before the procedure was complete. Dave explains: “It is a complete nightmare and I would never do this again on two completely different cars. You need to swap all four axles, both engines and boxes, the shifts (as I had a TD quickshift), two entire looms, two fuel tanks and all the lines etc that go with it!” Swapping the looms over proved to be the hardest task. The turbo loom had a top-of -the-range alarm which Dave had to cut 40 wires to get out, then re-solder it back into the blue car - around 60 hours work in total.

With turbo power under the hood, 17”s, sounds and totally sorted bodywork most people would consider the car finished. Not Dave however. The next step and was to get the XR2i fronts replaced by Recaros trimmed in the same material as the rest of the interior. Once these returned from Carisma, work began on the pièce de résistance - the dash. Starting with a basic dash, Dave reshaped and moulded the dash to incorporate two guages, the PlayStation 2 and the huge 12” TV screen. The standard plastic switches were replaced with chrome toggles and the orange LEDs, swapped for chrome bezel blue. On completion it was trimmed up, again by Carisma and installed. This is the final touch that sets the car on the next level, and there is more to come. Bigger brakes, a monster engine and yet more interior work are planned, so keep your eyes on ft for the latest. So there we have it - creative, classy and above all - Carismatic…

Car Spec. Mr Carisma
Engine 1.6 EFI CVH Turbo, Stage 3 Power Engineering cylinder head with uprated cam, K&N panel filter in standard airbox, 165 Chip, Bailey header tank, Bailey oil breather, Magnecor ignition leads, stainless steel strut brace, blue Samco boost hoses, stainless steel braiding on other hoses, extensive stainless steel and chrome parts with colour coded ancillaries.
Transmission Rebuilt Escort RST gearbox with uprated bearings and LSD, uprated clutch, Torque Developments quick shift kit.
Exhaust Magnex full stainless system with 3" tailpipe.
Wheels 7x17" League 067
Tyres 205/40 ZR17 Falken ZE05
Suspension Avo fully adjustable 2.25" coilovers.
Brakes Drilled and grooved front discs. Colour coded RS Turbo front calipers and rear drums.
Exterior Cosworth front bumper with lights, unique fibreglass moulded RS2000/RS arches and skirts, unique rear bumper consisting of smoothed bumper and RS add-on bumper, delocked tailgate with custom sized number plate recess, Mk4 wiper arm, highly modified Mondeo SI spoiler moulded onto tailgate. Clear rear clusters, clear oval repeaters and clear front indicators, smoothed bonnet, colour coded roof strips, de-locked doors, complete re-spray in BMW Montreal Blue.
Interior Carisma trimmed interior consisting of: blue alcantara and synthetic white leather Recaros and rear bench with Ford Motorsport motifs, front door panels with Ford Motorsport motifs and integral 8" speakers builds, rear quarter panels, synthetic leather headlining with blue alcantara sun visors, synthetic leather A, B & C pillars, trimmed interior mirror covers and gear gaitor, Richbrook aluminium gear knob, Autostyle mats, RS Turbo steering wheel, home built and Carisma trimmed blue/white modified dashboard with TV, colour coded ACT gauge, PS2 in modified glove compartment with distribution and ground blocks, Auto Meter backlit voltmeter and boost gauge, custom centre console, modified instrument cluster with chrome toggle switches replacing Ford OE items and high brightness blue LEDs in chrome bezels, Chrome dimmer for Volkswagen blue dash backlighting, extensive wiring modifications.
ICE Alpine 7876RB CD Head Unit With V-Link for multimedia, Pioneer WD-8000 widescreen TV, Sony Playstation 2, Piccolo power inverter, Phoenix Gold QX 2350 2 channel amp, Phoenix Gold QX 4150 4 channel amp, Phoenix Gold Bass Cube, Kef Uni-Q 8" concentric speakers in front door panels, Infinity 50.1 CS component set in rear, 2x JL 12WO subs in custom made carpeted box in boot, neon in boot, Phoenix Gold wiring and blocks, fully Dynamatted.
Thanks to Ade West: for all his help in getting me started....and those Half pints of Vodka! Paul Howland (Beeker): Top man from Car Electronics, Leicester...the man to go to if you need stereo. I'd be a lot poorer if it wasn't for his help and advice. Jamie, Greg and Stuart: The boys at Carisma...nuff said! Martin Howell: For all his help on the glad I am neither of us smoked that night! Ian Howell: For the things to come. Reg Vardy, Reading: For treating my car like royalty. REO Motors, Leicester: For the original, and the best yet, re-spray. Ben @ Motorworld: For helping me get out of MP Live 1999! Olivia: For gracing my rear seats. Toyo: For my new tyres (hopefully). Everyone @ with special thanks to Adrian and Al (Project) for their help with wheels and wiring! But most of all to Suzanne: My other half, who still puts up with me and for that miserable w/e soldering!


The second 20th Anniversary article, a dive into the history of how the site came about is available here:

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To celebrate being 20 years old this year, I've written a series of articles detailing the…

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