Rebirth Of Type-R

Paul B's 2.0 Zetec Fiesta

The most famous Fiesta on the planet? Quite Possibly. For 9 years this car belonged to Fiesta Frenzy Head Honcho and general Zetec Turbo god Ian Howell. Kicking out astronomical power figures as a test bed for his engine development antics, the car clocked more magazine appearances than Victoria Beckham. In mid 2001 Ian decided to move on to bigger and equally-as-good things by purchasing a Focus to unleash his magic on. The engine from his Fiesta was kept, the rest of the parts were split from the shell and went to noble causes such as providing bumpers for Paul J’s 300bhp 2.1 and the brakes and intercooler set up on Adrian’s 18” Recaro Fiesta.

The shell itself was sold to Paul B, and was rolled into his garage in July 2001, where it would sit while parts were accumulated to enable its re-emergence onto the scene. First up was the engine, a 2.0 16v series 3 Zetec-R from a Focus, which Paul had already obtained courtesy of Mark Stewart from This engine had already undergone trial fitment in an slightly worse-for-wear XR2i 16v that Paul had acquired as a donor car for the project. This was duly swapped into the Type-R shell and a natty little bonus was the Type-R / Zetec-R namesake connection. A full Magnex system from the XR2i expels the waste gasses, with the cheeky addition of one of SCC’s oh-so-naughty flamer kits, ideal for showing off and flambéd Vectra bumpers when Mr Sales Rep gets a little close…

The entire loom was swapped over from the XR2i, along with its aftermarket suspension setup and black interior. The original XR2i winged seats were sold, and in place a pair of Sparco Evo buckets sit, along with 3” Willans harnesses. Final compliments are the Momo gear knob and steering wheel, gifts from Paul’s loving mother and understanding other half respectively.

Bodywork wise, Paul’s connections soon sorted him out with a flush tailgate already sprayed the correct Radiant Red, a pair of clear clusters, and a Zetec-S rear bumper to accommodate the number plate. Initially the plan was to go for the same smooth Cosworth style front that was on the car during Ian’s ownership, however Paul decided he preferred the look of the standard RST bumper with the MCRallying splitter smoothed in. A Laguna splitter adds another 2” depth with the added flexibility of being um… flexible. Great for those splitter / kerb interaction moments.

Continuing the trend of “hand me down” parts, the first set of wheels were a set of 17” Smiths Infinity from Adrian’s Recaro Turbo, now surplus to requirements due to his 18”s. These were on the car for a while but it soon became apparent that no wheel suited the car better than the TSW Evo-Rs it used to wear. It also became apparent that no wheel was quite as oval as these… A set was bought new and fitted, along with Falken rubber and the optional “TSW Racing” nut covers. Another inch was sliced off the ride height with 65mm springs closing the gap to arch clearance perfection.

One aim from the outset in building this car was handling, something overlooked on a lot of Fiestas. First up was the OMP strut brace, followed by a set of Ian Howell’s rose jointed and camber adjustable lower arms, proven to reduce torque steer and dramatically improve high speed stability. The camber was then laser aligned and precisely dialled in. With the front much improved it was time to turn to the back. Despite having an anti-roll bar the FRST rear beam is as flexible as a Railtrack timetable. Fortunately this was something Ford improved with the mk4 and Puma, and got it perfect with the mk5 Zetec-S, a car widely acclaimed for its handling. If you can’t learn from multi million pound Ford development programs, where can you learn from? With this in mind a Zetec-S beam was sourced and fitted and the difference was unreal. Roundabouts seemed to gain an invisible layer of glue and hammering down B roads enabled corner taking at speeds that would have Shuey himself reaching for the paper bag.

It’s no use being able to go round corners fast if you can’t stop when required. Escort Cosworth callipers clamp sizeable 315mm Hi-Spec discs on the front, and the rear disc setup from a 2.0 Focus mounts on the back. The setup is perfectly balanced and is very capable indeed, as slowing from 130mph on a recent track day proved. A replacement master cylinder and servo is due to be fitted soon to improve the pedal feel lost after fitting discs all round.

With the chassis now fully sorted the car is more than ready to take some serious power. At this moment in time the near standard lump is putting out a respectable 145bhp, but plans are afoot to at least double that with some considerable forced induction fettling. Back to how it used to be? Oh yes, and the rest. Watch this space, as they say…

Car Spec. Rebirth Of Type-R
Engine 2.0 16v Series 3 Zetec-R, Green induction kit, bespoke fabricated engine mounts, XR2i 16v radiator and driveshafts, Mondeo 2.0 ECU.
Transmission Escort RS Turbo S2 box with factory LSD.
Exhaust Full Magnex system with de-cat pipe and 3" tailpipe.
Wheels 7x17" TSW Evo-R with TSW Racing nut covers.
Tyres 205/40 ZR17 Falken
Suspension Fiesta Frenzy fully rose jointed and camber adjustable lower arms, Zetec-S rear beam conversion. Koni shocks, 65mm lowering springs all round. Front OMP strut brace.
Brakes Hi-Spec 315mm cross drilled discs on alloy bells, Escort Cosworth calipers. Focus 2.0 rear disc conversion.
Exterior Flush tailgate with wiper and boot lock removed, clear rear clusters, clear indicators, clear oval side repeaters, Mk3.5 mirrors, de-locked doors, rubbing strips removed. Extensively modified arches, wings and bodykit, MCRallying front splitter smoothed into bumper. Laguna lower front splitter. Mk5 Fiesta Zetec-S rear bumper, Vented bonnet replaced with standard item, bonnet catch removed and help shut with pins, Sunstrip with logo, single wiper, graphics on quarter windows and rear screen. Late spec Ford oval on bonnet, Type-R logos on rear quarters.
Interior Sparco Evo 2 fixed back race seats, 3" FIA approved Willans harnesses with aircraft style quick release buckles, XR2i 16v black dashboard, centre console, door cards and carpet, rear seats and trim removed, heater matrix and fan removed Momo gear knob, Momo Race steering wheel.
ICE Pioneer head unit, Infinity speakers in front door pockets and upper door card panels.
Thanks Ian Howell, Claire, Adrian, Mark Stewart, Martin.


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

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