Of the three Festivas taking up space in the Daily Turismo archives (next to budget Corvettes and a Miata with an insufferable identity crisis), all have had engine swaps. This is because the stock 1.3-liter Mazda-sourced engine was worth only 58 horsepower. That’s torture even Dick Cheney wouldn’t approve of. Once you double that output and add supporting modifications, though, you have our attention. Find this 1991 Ford Festiva with BP 1.8-liter swap in Spokane, WA for $2,000 here on craigslist.
Modern micro cars like the Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, and Mazda 2 are designed with at least some modicum of thought to the fun quotient. Not so much with the Festiva. Lower trim levels had a four-speed manual and took longer than 13 seconds to reach 60. Six seconds later, you reach 70, and finally complete a quarter-mile. Despite a 1,700-pound curb weight, handling was poor due to the torsion beam rear suspension, Matchbox-sized puny wheels, and body roll. Now with at least 120 horsepower and suspension upgrades, this particular Festiva has become an entertaining little snot, although starting with an early Golf or Starlet would have yielded more performance out of the box. Hehe, box.
The swapped engine is another Mazda unit, the DOHC, 4-valve BP, from a Ford Escort GT. All told, it’s a pretty similar creation to the BP-swapped Festiva we featured in July, built by an enterprising high school chap. Except this one has free-flowing exhaust, a Spec Stage 2 clutch, racing seats, and fender flares, all working to convince your senses that your daily commute is a qualifying stage in a snow rally.
Instead of an adequate amount of pictures, we get a detailed and entertaining write-up that reveals just how strange one needs to be to own a car like this (answer: quite). The car comes without rust or major body issues, but includes a set of Enkeis with fresh tires. For just twenty Benjamins, it’s begging to be beat upon all winter long.
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