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Our Second 1988 Popular Plus Zetec conversion

James Ross

Author: James Ross | Photographer: James Ross

This project re-shells our first attempt that was sadly written off.

Another Mk2 Popular Plus

I cant help buying these things, this one is in perfect condition, no rust or dents anywhere! Its been modified a bit by the last owner but I want to remove most of whats been changed. First of all here's some pictures on the day i drove it home. excuse the horrible wheels, I came to an agreement with the seller that he could keep the pepperpots so I used these rusty Mk4 steels to get it home.

Mk2 Popular Plus Interior with Recaro's Mk2 Fiesta Popular Plus Sidelights Mk2 Fiesta bonnet

Whenever I get a new car I get quite curious to see if its as solid as it looks in the places that you cant see so on the first day of owning it, I stripped out all the interior for a better look. This one is as good as it was when it rolled off the production line, just a little bit dustier.

Immaculate Fiesta floorpan Fiesta Mk2 floor pan Under rear seat Inner wheel tub

Whilst the interior was removed I added a couple of sound deadening to each of the rear wheel tubs to reduce road noise.

wheel padding

..and the Ford sound absorbing mat to the underside of the bonnet

Fiesta under bonnet sound deadening pad

The next important thing I wanted to sort out was the handling, it crashed its way along over every small bump. After removing the suspension I found it was running standard, low spec, oil filled shocks with cut springs. I have a spare set of G-Max shocks and springs so I've fitted them to improve things a bit.

Suspension upgrade Fiesta rear g-max shocks

I've also added a Mk2 XR2 rear anti-roll bar to reduce the 'wandering' feel.

XR2 rear anti roll bar

Bumper Refurb

I had a recent incident where someone in a VW Golf ran into the back of me on the motorway, I'd done a quick repair of the rear panel to keep the rust off but the cracked XR2 back bumper was letting things down. The fashion used to be always fit these cars with bumpers from the XR2 models but now that they are becoming a classic, the standard metal bumpers are a nice feature. I prefer the earlier versions which didnt have the rub strips fitted to them but I already have some of the later items. Rather than waste the ones I had (which are a bit damaged) I thought I'd remove the strips, weld up the holes and straighten and repair them as I went. I try not to waste any parts now because there's hardly any in the scrapyards anymore and parts are rising in cost.

A sharp screwdriver helped remove the rub strips and the plastic bumper ends leaving the metal carcass. I used a wire twister knot wheel on the grinder to strip it of all paint and the majority of the rust.

Bare metal front bumper

Then the Mig welder came out to get rid of the rub strip holes.

Welding Mk2 Fiesta bumper rear of bumper Mk2 Fiesta inside rear bumper

The welds were ground down using a flap disc followed up by a 3M flat sanding disc. Some small imperfections were given a thin skim of filler (bondo for anu U.S readers) and then it was primered and painted. Theres a lack of photos here, sometimes i get carried away with what I'm doing and forget to record it.

Painted metal fiesta bumper

Ive given the inside a coating of brushable seam sealant over any welded areas and then used black stonechip spray to protect it from future corrosion.

Stonechip inside bumper rear bumper mounting point

The end caps were given a light sand and re-blacked before being reassembled with clean reflectors fitted.

Rear bumper complete

Ive now got the front bumper to do so that they match, a previous impact had broken the mounting bracketso i drilled a hole through the bumper and used the Mig to create a spot weld and join it back together

Bumper bracket repair

Thats all I had time to do today so the fitting will have to wait.

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Page Last Updated: Monday 18th of June 2018