Is this rough Ford Fiesta XR2 ripe for restoration?

by Antony Ingram
4 March 2021 3 min read
Is this rough Ford Fiesta XR2 ripe for restoration?
1987 Ford Fiesta XR2 Photos: Morris Leslie Auctions

Could a clapped-out Ford Fiesta XR2i be ripe for restoration? That’s the question that will flash through the minds of Ford fans, after a 1987 XR2 has been put up for auction – needing a shed load of attention and, dare we say it, a bucket load of cash.

With the best XR2s achieving £14,000, and this sorry looking example offered with a reserve of £1500 to £2500, there could be the opportunity to save a much-loved Ford and, for those so minded, turn a tidy profit.

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Popular wisdom will tell you that Peugeot’s 205 GTI was the best hot hatchback of the 1980s. Or, if you preferred your hot hatch excitement in a slightly more mature package, the Golf GTI – either mk1 or mk2 depending on which end of the decade you’re observing.

And sure enough the values for each of these iconic models backs up their reputation. The Hagerty Price Guide, which actively tracks the market sale prices of popular and significant cars, puts a 1987 condition 3 Golf GTI (good condition, but not without flaws) at £9200 and a similar condition 205 GTI 1.6 from the same year at £12,600.

But don’t forget about the fast Fords. Despite critics not rating them as highly in period as the VW and Peugeot GTIs they enjoy a loyal following in the UK. Popular in period – often outselling their more fondly-remembered rivals – we’ve watched the prices of XR2s and XR3s creep up over the last decade, tracing their more celebrated rear-wheel drive predecessors.

1987 Ford Fiesta XR2

From that same year, 1987, a condition 3 Escort XR3i will cost you £4300 and the Fiesta XR2 actually a little more at £6300. The best concours examples of the Fiesta are trading just shy of £14,000.

That makes a car like this 1987 Fiesta XR2 for sale through Morris Leslie Auctions with a £1500 to £2500 estimate a tempting purchase.

As you’d imagine, it’s a long way from concours. We’d put a condition 4 example – that’s a daily driver, with visible flaws – at £3900. In fact, the auction car is a non-runner, offered for total restoration, having been off the road for many years. The paint looks rough, the photos show rust in several areas, and the interior would need a deep clean.

1987 Ford Fiesta XR2

Importantly though it also looks almost completely original (the seller notes a four-branch manifold) and all the important bits seem to be present and correct. So given that potential – and the strong value of cars in concours condition – could this be an ideal restoration candidate?

You’d have to do your sums, particularly if you were planning to outsource labour-intensive jobs like bodywork or paintwork, or any engine work the car might require beyond a thorough service.

But cars from this era – and particularly popular ones like fast, affordable Fords – are becoming genuinely worthy of comprehensive restorations, in the same way you might now expend upon an MGB or an Austin 7. Perhaps best of all, these new restoration candidates are from an era where you could consider using it as far more than just a weekend car.

Ford Fiesta XR2 values

Values of the XR2 have generally been on an upward trend over the last few years, writes John Mayhead. In 2016, the Hagerty Price Guide valued them between £4100 (fair) and £14,100 (concours). By May 2019, that had risen to £4700 and £16,400. Last spring their values dipped, as many other cars did thanks to the first lockdown, with our top price listed as £14,100.

They’re back on the up, though: a great example used for TV filming sold at the Historics Ascot sale in December 2020 for £16,280, and the next Hagerty Price Guide release will see them rising back to their 2019 levels. Early cars always outperform later ‘Mk II’ examples; three of the latter sold at the public auctions Hagerty tracked last year and all were under £7,200.

Read more

These 10 affordable Fords will be fun to drive while you wait for them to attain classic status

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