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A resource site for owners of the Mk1 & 2 Fiesta

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The History of The Mk2 Ford Fiesta 1983-1989

Ollie Andrews

Author: Ollie Andrews | Photographer: James Ross

The New Fiesta

Ford Fiesta Popular Plus Project Bobcat

Although not strictly a new design the new Fiesta was still given the tag of Mk2. It was in fact, more a face-lifted Mk1, still having the same basic shape as it's predecessor, albeit more rounded, and was still only available in 3 door format. The new car was given new headlights with wraparound indicators and new rear light clusters, this time incorporating reversing lights, instead of the single low mounted light on the Mk1. A rear fog light was fitted as standard, although this was due to changes in the law more than the design. Although the earlier Mk2 did not feature rear seat belts a further change in law during the production years saw later models being fitted with them as standard.

Other design alterations included larger wing mirrors (although base models still only had one) and new bumpers. The all metal bumpers of the Mk1 were replaced with metal new bumpers featuring a metal centre and plastic wrap round end caps. The higher models now featuring all plastic bumpers with incorporated over-riders. The front end of the car was lowered slightly to deduce drag and a new design of tail gate was used. This time mirroring the swage lines from the sides of the car. The Popular and Popular Plus models now had cloth trim instead of the vinyl used in the Mk1 interiors, and they also featured reclineable seats.

With the introduction of the Mk2, the old Mk1 engines were discarded in favour of the newly designed "Valencia" engine and once again the range began with only a 950 and 1100 cc engine. It was not long before a 1300 engine appeared and in May 1984 the L and Ghia models were given the 1300 CVH (Compound Valve Hemi-head). This engine was the first in a Fiesta to feature an overhead camshaft instead of the usual overhead valve format. Also appearing with this engine was a 5 speed gearbox, which was then used on all 1300, 1400 and 1600 engine cars.

A pair of Ford Fiesta Mark 2s

April 1984 saw the introduction of the first diesel Fiesta, in the form of a 1600cc Diesel engine available on the Popular Plus and L models. May 1984 also saw the XR2 (see below) reappear this time in face-lifted form and with a 1600 CVH engine but that is given more attention below.

January 1986 saw the 1300 CVH engine replaced with the new "lean-burn" 1400 CVH. This new engine was available on the L and Ghia models and then in April 1984 it was used in a new model, the 1.4s (see below). The only other real development in the Mk2 range was the introduction of the CTX automatic gearbox in May 1987. The CTX gearbox used a constantly variable "steel belt" drive and was only available on the 1100 L and 1100 Ghia models.

Enter the 1.4S

Introduced in 1986 the 1.4S used the "lean-burn" 1400 CVH engine. The S was based on a package called the S-pack which consisted of optional extras you could have added to your car before receiving it. The extras included were, sun roof, spot lights, sports steering wheel, special trim, white wheel trims, a black surround for the rear window, red bumper and side stripes and a Fiesta 1.4S sticker. The original idea was that the S-pack was only to be available as an option on the 1.4 L model but when it was unleashed onto the market it was released in the form of a new model, the 1.4S.

The New XR2

Mk1 Ford Fiesta XR2s at Squires Cafe Fordmeet 2017

Not content with the Mk1 XR2, Ford had already set about building a better replacement and work on the Mk2 XR2 started in 1982, before the Mk2 was even released!

The new XR2 featured the 1600 CVH engine from the Escort XR3 and like the Escort still used the same carburettor as the Mk1 XR2. A new "fuller" bodykit was designed for the Mk2, with larger front and rear valences and wheel arch extensions. Side skirts were also included as part of the new kit, and a spoiler that went right round the rear window was designed for the back. The car was given lower and uprated suspension and steering components. One surprising difference over the Mk1 was that the new XR2 didn't feature alloy wheels as standard but instead had 6 inch wide steel rims with wheel trims, the "pepperpot" alloys could but added as an optional extra, which most people did.

Another surprising bit of the design of the Mk2 XR2 was that the SVE department were not allowed to use the 1600 injected engine as Ford were afraid that the little Fiesta would upstage the Escort XR3i! But no-matter the new XR still had 96bhp an upgrade of 12bhp on its predecessor, and although it was capable of a top speed of 112mph, because of its increase in weight was only 0.2 seconds faster to 60 than the Mk1, managing a 0 to 60 time of 9.3 seconds.

Special Editions

In addition to the standard production models, many special editions were also released during the production of the Mk2 Fiesta Unlike with the Mk1 these special editions were produced on a time limit basis as opposed only producing a certain number of cars as with the Mk1, also a couple of these were released twice. The range of special editions available were:

Release DateName
June 1985Dash
February 1986Finesse II
June 1986Holiday
June 1986Firefly (A very rare Firefly with a 1.1 CVH engine was also produced)
February 1987Festival
July 1987Bonus
February 1988Festival II
February 1988Firefly
July 1988Bonus
January 1989Bonus II
January 1989Olympus Sport

A Note On The Engines of The Mk2.

During the production years of the Mk2 Fiesta, new studies showed up the harmful gasses that were given off when 4 star leaded petrol is burned, as a result of these studies new legislation was introduced regarding the use of lead in fuel. After this legislation was introduced Ford predicted the decline of 4 star petrol and so in 1986 started to produce CVH engines with hardened valve seats that could use the new Unleaded fuel. Although still favouring 4 star the new engines featured harden exhaust valve seats so all that was required to run them on unleaded was to retard the timing by a few degrees. All normally aspirated (not turbo) CVH engines produced after 1986 can run quite happily on Unleaded, without causing damage to the head.

The End Of An Era?

Although maintaining a steady 2nd and 3rd place throughout it's production time the Mk2 Fiesta's days were numbered. Not being a company to sit around waiting for it's designs to go out of date, Ford had set about designing a new Fiesta. Production of the Mk2 ceased in April 1989 to make way for the new improved Mk3. The new car was to be redesigned as opposed to just face-lifted. This was to be the first time the design of the Fiesta was to break away from it's firm roots in project "Bobcat".

Page Last Updated: Monday 9th of November 2020