The first fast Ford Fiesta was built from 1976 to 1983 and was based on the Fiesta Mk1. The XR2 was designed to be fast but at a reasonable price.
The design for the new XR2 was to be simple, and no major changes to the transmission or chassis were allowed, but it had to be capable of reaching more than 100mph.
The engine was allowed to be changed however, as the XR2 had a 1600cc Kent engine which was already in use in America. This engine produced 84bhp and could do a sub 10 second 0-60 time. It also achieved what it set out to do, producing a top speed of 105 mph. Costing £5500, Ford sold 20,000 Mk1 XR2s.
Mechanically speaking, the car also featured ventilated front discs and uprated suspension. The suspension also made a difference to the look of the car, as it lowered the ride height. Wheels and tyres were also changed and the new XR2 featured pepper pot alloys matched to 185x60 tyres.
Square headlights and indicators were added as well as the addition of spot lights and a set of over riders for the bumpers. These changes helped differentiate the XR2 from regular Fiesta.
The Mk2 was introduced in 1983 and was billed to be an even faster Ford. It still had a 1600cc engine but it was a different unit from the original XR2. This engine was sourced from the XR3 Escort, produced 96bhp and ran to a top speed of 112mph.
Oddly for a hot hatch, alloy wheels were not standard on this model. The same pepper pot alloys from the Mk1 were available as an option. To separate itself from a regular Fiesta, it included a comprehensive bodykit, featuring a rear-mounted spoiler that went around the rear window.