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Exterior Styling

The White 2i
Martin's XR2i with tinted lights, Mondeo spoiler and alloy fuel cap.

De-locking and De-handling

De-locking is accomplished by removing the door and / or boot locks and welding a plate over the hole from the inside. This then leaves a slight recess that needs to be filled and smoothed. An alarm with remote central locking is required to lock and unlock the doors. Some owners choose to leave the boot lock on and do the doors, others remove the boot lock and leave the door locks. This way, entry to the car is still possible in the event of alarm failure or a flat battery. 

De-handling carries de-locking one step further by removing the door handles and using a solenoid operated by the alarm key fob, or a hidden switch, to pop the doors open. This works in the same way as the remote boot release on XR and RS models. 
Most pre 1992 Fiestas have a moulded rubber bump strip that runs along the side of the car continuing the bumper stripe. This is simply stuck on and can be removed by peeling it back carefully. Removing it clears up the lines of the car. The same goes for the black plastic on the door pillar by the door and quarter windows. This is designed to create the illusion of frameless windows, and if removed slowly, leaves no sticky residue. 
Filling pressed in swage lines is a common method of making the car look smoother. The line on the bonnet and the two on the tailgate are often done, and in some cases the gaps where the side skirts meet the arch trims and bumpers. Using standard P38 filler is sometimes sufficiant, but it can easily crack especially on cars with stiff suspension or when used in tailgates and bonnets which often get slammed shut. Lead filling is more time consuming than filler but won't crack or fall out, another method is to use aircraft grade filler which is used for sealing aeroplane wings, and as a result is very durable. 

As the performance Mk3 Fiestas came with side skirts, arch trims, deeper bumpers and a rear spoiler, very few companies produce complete bodykits for the car, more often replacement bumpers and add-ons such as splitters and vents. 


There are a number of splitters or front spoilers on the market, designed to visually lower the front of the car, and bring the bumper closer to the ground. MCRallying do a chin spoiler that needs to be moulded into the standard XR / RS bumper with filler, this makes the front bumper about an inch deeper. A similar splitter is the Escort Cosworth style, this again fits on to the existing bumper, but bolts straight on rather than requiring moulding in.

One of the problems associated with low splitters and bumpers is that it is easy to catch them on kerbs, garage lifts, speed bumps and so on. Also, a chin spoiler may make a Fiesta on 15 inch rims sit low, but the same spoiler on a car with 17s will sit an inch or so higher off the ground. Flexible rubber splitters like the ones fitted to the Renault Laguna and Espace, can be trimmed and shaped to fit most bumpers, and have the added bonus of flexing rather than cracking when impacted. The Laguna splitter is about 2 inches deep and fits cars with squared fronts, like the MCRallyin chin splitter, whereas the Espace splitter is around 3 inches deep and is more suited to rounder bumpers like the Cosworth ones mentioned below. Even deeper is the Seat Ibiza, Cordoba or Toledo splitter and they are cheaper than the Renault ones.

Fitting is usually a case of lining up the splitter to the bumper and working out where it needs to be cut. It's a lot easier to do if the bumper is removed from the car and placed upside down. Sometimes it is necessary to cut a section out of the centre, depending on the curve of the bumper. The best method of attaching them is to hold the splitter in place then using a small (2-4mm) drill bit, drill through the splitter and into the bumper. Then use small self tapping screws to hold it in place. Use eight to twelve so there are no gaps between the bumper and splitter, and also use as the smallest possible, this way if the splitter gets caught on anything and pulls them out, you can screw it back on again with slightly larger ones, rather than having to redrill all the holes again.

Martin's XR2i with Escort Cosworth style splitter and Twin headlamps.
Ian's RST with Escort Cosworth bumper and Espace splitter.


Of all the aftermarket bumpers available, the most popular is the Cosworth style front bumper. This is based on the Escort and 3 door Sierra item, and is available with or without the driving lamp and indicator pockets. The bumper accepts the original Ford lights, as well as aftermarket clear indicators. As a note Sierra XR4i lights are identical to the Cosworth ones and likely to be cheaper if they can be located. Most of the Cosworth bumpers have an integral grille with a place to mount the Ford oval. Some owners remove the badge off the bonnet and relocate it to the bumper. There is a hole behind the badge that will need to be filled. Another solution is to remove the grille from the bumper prior to painting. Almost all the companies that produce fibreglass kits make a Cosworth style bumper to fit the Fiesta, and a few such as MCRallying now offer an Escort WRC item and also an Si based bumper with extra spotlights and a rounded front lip. Fitting is quite time consuming as they are fibreglass and trimming is usually required. Remember to budget for painting. Adapting a bumper off another car is possible though time consuming and expensive. Andy Booth's Subaru fronted RST and Paul Roberts' Lotus Carlton bumpered RST both demonstrate this.

Paul's RST with Lotus Carlton bumper and blue indicators.
Andy's RST with Subaru Impreza bumper and 'Bad Boy' bonnet.

For the rear, the standard XR / RS bumper can be modified in several ways. The swage lines at each corner can be filled in, as can the recesses for the coloured stripe and tow hook, although this will require the tow hook itself to be ground off. Filling the stripe recess helps the bumper to match an aftermarket unit. A number of Fiestas have sported twin or centre exit exhausts, one each side of the car, this involves cutting out the exhaust notch from a donor bumper and blending it in to the other side. Also possible is extending the cutout to fit a twin pipe or oval back box. Frenching the numberplate into the bumper isn't easy which is why most owners that have flush tailgates fit the Mk4 Si item. This already has a slot in for the number plate, but this bumper is shorter than the XR/RS and Si bumpers which makes the car look higher. This can be corrected with a diffuser from Fibresports, LS Design or by fitting a Seat Cordoba item. Other replacement bumpers include the Cosworth version, a replica of the Escort's, The Mk3 Si, which is smooth and rounded, and the rare Ford RS accessory bumper which looks very similar to the Cosworth one. This is plastic rather than the fibreglass usually used and is a perfect fit. The Ford FINIS code for the bumper is 5052029.

Dave's XR2i with Mk3 Si rear bumper and delocked tailgate.
Gavin's Turbo with Ford RS Accessory rear bumper and Fiesta Mk4 wiper arm.


The Fiesta tailgate has a number of items that can be modified or removed. Mk4 wiper arms fit straight on and are smoother and more up to date than the standard one. Ka arms also fit and are smaller but give less coverage, they also sit at a different angle and touch the rubber window seal when parked. A clean look can be achieved by removing the wiper and / or bootlock and having a bodyshop weld a plate over the inside of the hole, then fill and smooth it. Most Fiestas have a pressed in swage line either side of the number plate slot, although these are absent on later models. "Flush" tailgates are another mod that first appeared on European cars. The number plate is relocated to the bumper and the recess is filled and smoothed over. Good bodyshops will be able to weld a plate onto the tailgate and fill the joins - it is important not to just use filler, as over time this will crack and may even fall out. For tailgate spoilers see spoilers.


The colour-coded boot-top spoiler as fitted to the RST and RS1800 is better looking than the standard black item on Si's and XR's. The black ones are covered in textured rubber, so it is not possible to paint them. the most popular spoiler is the Mondeo estate item. This is available as an RS accessory from Ford or as a GRP replica from MCR / Fibresports etc. The Ford version comes with or without a third brake light and needs to be modified to fit. It's also worth noting that there is a different version for the 1996 facelift Mondeos. This spoiler has to be attached to the standard item some way, either bolted or bonded on. It can then be blended in with filler for a smooth look, although this can crack when the boot is slammed. Similarly looking, although slightly smaller is the MK6 Escort Estate RS wing, only available through Ford Dealers. Also available from some companies, but not from Ford, is a larger Mondeo item mated to the standard RS spoiler. It requires no filler and simply attaches to the original mountings.


The easiest option for Si and XR owners is to fit the RST's vented bonnet, genuine ones are rare and quite hard to find. Fitting vents to an existing bonnet is possible, and there are a wide range available from the usual bodykit suppliers. Scoops such as the Impreza and Celica GT4 ones can be cut in and filled round but the filler is quite likely to crack with the bonnet being open and shut repeatedly. More cars are appearing with the "bad boy" style bonnets. These originated in Europe and give the car an evil look by extending the bonnet to partially cover the headlights. It is achieved by welding plates onto the bonnet and then smoothing the welds and repainting. RGM "Fox Look" eyebrows give a similar effect using plastic trims.


One of the cheapest and first modifications to any car is to fit clear indicators and clear square or better looking oval side-repeaters. Oval ones can be the Mondeo / MK4 or larger Punto types and usually require slight modification to fit. One of the best ways to fit hold them in place is to hacksaw the plastic clips of each repeater and fit hose clips on the other side of the wing. This will enable you to remove them more easily than sticking them on. Orange oval repeaters, as fitted to late Mk3's such as the Fiesta "Classic", are available from Ford Dealers.

Morette or Prima Racing twin headlamp conversions are expensive, but contain high quality Cibbie or Hella lenses that are brighter than the standard Ford lamps. They come in kit form and require the plastic shells painting prior to assembly and fitting. The outer lenses are the sidelights and dipped beam and the inners are activated with full beam. There are a range of brighter headlamp bulbs on the market from many companies, including the Xenon types that give off a blue tinted light like the HID (High Intensity Discharge) lights fitted in executive cars. Demon Tweeks carry a good range. It's vital to check the bulb isn't too high a wattage as this can cause the car to fail an MOT or sometimes cause heat damage to the headlamps.

Not impossible, but very difficult to do is to fit headlights off another car. This involves major reshaping of the wings, bumpers and bonnet, not to mention the task of wiring them up to the Fiesta's electrics. So far only Mondeo and Peugeot 306 lights have appeared on a Mk3, and Golf Mk4 on a recent magazine featured mk2.

Aftermarket rear clusters are available in smoked, red, blue and clear. They all contain coloured sections inside so the bulb still light up in the same colour as the standard lights. Not all sets are road legal so check before purchasing. The best quality clear clusters are made by MHW in Germany and are TUV approved. The reason some sets are illegal is they contain no red reflectors, required by law.

The MHW clusters get round this by supplying the reflectors separate for you to stick to the car in some other place, like the old rear bumper reflectors on the XR2. This way the lights are legal but unless you stick the reflector on, which can spoil the looks of the car, it won't pass an MOT. The solution is to either stick the reflectors on temporarily or keep the original clusters to swap back.

As they are designed for foreign cars the foglamp and reversing lights are on the opposite sides to a UK car. There are a few ways round this. 

Paint the foglamp bulb red

This will make the foglight shine red, but the reversing light is now red as well. Not illegal but can be a problem if someone doesn't notice you are in reverse.

Reverse the connections between the foglamp and reversing light

Both lights illuminate the correct colour, foglamp red, reversing light white / clear, but on the wrong sides of the car. Probably won't pass an MOT.

Fuel Caps

Dimma produce the most popular stick on fuel cap trims in alloy and RGM do plastic ones for about half the price. Both of these use adhesive pads to fix to the bodywork and existing filler cap. Proper flush fitting aircraft type fillers such as the Mocal and ATL ones are about three times the cost of the Dimma ones. Mk3 Fiestas need a 2" cap without an integral funnel. It is possible to fit them without body mods by trimming 2mm from the edge of the cap and using a captive nut ring inside the filler neck hose. Fitting a larger 3" cap or relocating it to another part of the car will usually mean having a bodyshop do the work. Incorrect fitting can lead to the car no longer accepting a petrol pump neck properly, which can lead to lengthy spells at garages squeezing the pump gently to fill up without spillage.

An extreme solution to the rust around the filler problem that affects Fiestas is relocating the filler neck to the offside quarter window. This will either require a large hole cutting in the floor pan of the car, a hose running into the tank and the original hose blocking off, or the use of an aftermarket fuel tank or cell such as the ATL units available from Demon Tweeks. Using an aftermarket tank will necessitate re running fuel lines and either adapting the fuel pump to fit or or fitting an alternative pump.

Windows And Mirrors

Single wiper conversion kits enhance the smooth look of the car and can be set to park in the centre of the screen or to the passenger side. It is possible to pass an MOT with the wiper in the centre, as it's not classed as an obstruction in the driver's field of vision. Windscreen sunstrips can be custom cut at most graphics shops and add a touch of BTCC style. As a rough guide to how low they can be, flip the sun visor down in the car and measure how far down the screen it goes. Get the sunstrip to cover the same part of the screen and you shouldn't run into problems with MOT's or the Police.

When it comes to mirrors the standard ones on earlier cars are all black textured rubber that needs to be smoothed before colour coding. Later cars have painted mirrors but the mountings are still textured. DTM cup style mirrors tend look best on cars with "smooth" mods whereas the M3 type, are better suited to cars with larger wings. There are a lot of companies with M3 mirrors on the market, and they have come down in price in the last year. It is possible to adapt a set for a Mk3 Golf, and Euro Car Parts produce a very cheap pair for this car. Electric ones can be fitted, but you will need to fit and adapt the electrics from a high spec Mk4 Fiesta. 
Window tinting is very much a thing of personal preference. It can look good on the right car and is useful for hiding ICE installs, but It can get you into trouble. Don't go for a anything darker than 22% transmission you should be OK. Demon Tweeks sell a range of Power Up pre cut tint kits. 

Number Plates

The law regarding sizing and spacing is very specific. Details can be found in the Police FAQ at 22b.com here. There is only one fully legal font, anything else will probably get you into trouble, as will smaller size number plates. Illegal as it is, a half size plate on the front has the benefit of restricting the airflow through the bumper less. Carbon plates are better than brittle plastic but cost about twice as much. GT Grafix produce custom number plates with shadowing, background images, borders and much more. They can also produce non standard sizes such as half size front plates, for an additional cost.

 [resources] relevant links >>
GT Grafix http://www.gtgrafix.co.uk
Dimma http://www.dimma.com
MCRallying http://www.mcrallying.net
Prima Racing http://www.prima-racing.co.uk
Demon Tweeks http://www.demon-tweeks.co.uk
Foliatec http://www.foliatec.com
Mocal http://www.mocal.co.uk