David Milloy remembers the MK1 Ford Fiesta XR2

80s cars Ford General Bunk
David Milloy arrives on PetrolBlog as a guest blogger and remembers the brilliant MK1 Ford Fiesta XR2. One of the best hot hatches of the 1980s?

PetrolBlog has another guest blogger, this time in the shape of Mr David Milloy, who shares our love of interesting cars, so for his first post he has chosen to write a few words on the Ford Fiesta XR2. Over to you, David...

I was thinking about cool cars the other day, when my uncle’s Fiesta XR2 came to mind. Now, I know the warmed-up version of Ford’s motorised shopping trolley isn’t everyone’s idea of chilled motoring, but hear me out on this one.

This XR2 was a Mk1 and therefore bereft of the oversized wheel arch extensions and bumpers that corrupted the lines of the more numerous and better known Mk2 version. It also lacked the later car’s solid metal grille that was a magnet for stone chips and rusted heroically. It may have offered a mere 84 bhp, (the more powerful 96 horses CVH engine arrived with the MK2), but it looked a treat in black and sat on lovely ‘pepperpot’ alloys. The red stripe and ‘XR2’ decal on each flank added the finishing touches to what, in the eyes of a spotty 17 year old, was a very desirable little car.

Fiesta XR2: just add cool

1981 Ford Fiesta XR2

It was light (840kg), nimble and practical. It did everything that any other 3-door Fiesta could do, but with added coolness.

We’ll gloss over the fact that it wasn’t particularly quick even by 1982 standards – 106mph and 0-60mph in about 9.3 seconds – and we’ll disregard the engine’s coarseness when extended; we’ll do this because, in 1982, the age of the hot hatch was in its infancy and the XR2, especially in black, stood out from the crowd. In 2011, in a world of increasingly anodyne cars, it still does.

The XR2 may once have patrolled the towns, cities, highways and byways in droves, but think - when was the last time you saw one? According to howmanyleft.co.uk, nearly 100,000 XR2s graced UK roads in 1994. A decade later, the dual ravages of time and boy-racers had reduced that number to below 4,000. And now, in 2011, there are a mere 708 XR2s licensed to use on UK roads. Of that number, I’ll wager that the majority of them are Mk2 models; a quick search on eBay found 14 XR2s available (not counting the later XR2i models or an XR2 drop-top by Crayford), only one of which is a Mk1 car.

Fiesta, forever

Ford Fiesta XR2 Mk1

Here’s the link on eBay. Amazingly it sold for a mere £1,750. A bargain, especially given the prices some Mk2s go for.

Have a good look at it; it may be a while before you see another one.

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