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…


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…

17:42, 4th December 2021 Twitter Web App

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