This 1.6L EcoBoost-Swapped Ford Festiva Is Like an ’80s Fiesta ST

It now makes almost four times as much power as the original.
Engine Swap Depot

Ford never made a performance version of the Festiva in the ’80s but if it did, it’d probably look a little something like this. Over at EngineSwapDepot, you’ll find a 1988 Ford Festiva that had its original engine swapped with a 1.6-liter EcoBoost from a modern-day Ford Fiesta ST. Thankfully, its owner Stephen didn’t stop there and made a proper hot-hatch out of one of the ’80s most forgettable econoboxes.

The original first-generation Festiva only came with one engine option in the United States market, a 1.3-liter four-cylinder Mazda engine, which made just 58 horsepower. Not only is this ’88 Festiva’s new EcoBoost engine more powerful from the get-go, it’s also been modified. Thanks to a Turbo Technics S280 turbocharger, Turbosmart wastegate and blow-off valve, a TunePlus ECU tune, a Mishimoto radiator, and Whoosh Motorsports intercooler, the Festiva’s EcoBoost engine makes 300 horsepower. While 300 horsepower might not sound like a lot anymore, this Festiva only weighs around 1,500 pounds.

To make sure it can handle its newfound performance, the bite-sized Ford now has adjustable coilovers, a widened wheel track, new camber plates, and Fiesta wheel hubs.

Aside from its widened wheel track, LED headlights, and visible intercooler underneath its front bumper—which I hope doesn’t get damaged—it looks like a stock Festiva. No one is going to expect the sort of performance it’s capable of. Inside, it’s still a work in progress, as Stephen claims to still be fine-tuning the build, but its spaceship-themed door inserts are great. The digital speedometer where the stereo used to be is also a funny touch, even if it doesn’t seem to be entirely accurate in some of Stephen’s videos.

Ford Festivas were never sexy or thrilling. They were cheap, reliable, and fuel-efficient econoboxes. However, thanks to their incredibly low entry cost, ultra-low curb weight, and mechanical simplicity, they seem to make surprisingly good project cars.

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