Keith Desmond did lockdown projects right; turning a £350 Fiesta into this stunning show car. But he may have created something even bigger…
A 17-year-old Millsy would often browse the ads in the back of Max Power making lists of the parts needed for his perfect Mk1 Fiesta. He’d go to bed dreaming about Panique kits and Peco Powermaster exhausts. It was an obsession, but one that his pockets and skills couldn’t quite cater for at the time. His Mk1 Fiesta ended up wearing half a Mk2 XR2 bodykit, a coat of Toyota Grace Maroon paint (‘expertly’ painted in his garage at home) and was sold when a genuine Mk2 XR2 came up for grabs.
The Mk1 was a £300 shed. Most of the funds went on sorting out rust for MOTs and getting the engine rebuilt. It never ended up being the show-worthy car he dreamt of. But just imagine what he could do with that Mk1 Fiesta now!
Living out similar youthful fantasies is essentially what Keith has done with the Fiesta you see in these pictures. He was there when Max Power was getting in full swing and had his fair share of modified Fords… but he never built THE one. So, when – as a proper grown-up – you’ve turned a £350 shitbox Fiesta into a gleaming red RS Turbo replica but then spot a PSG widearch kit for a Mk3 on Facebook Marketplace for £250… well, you’ve got a decision to make.
Fortunately, he chose the right one, and soon enough he was getting stuck into the perfect ‘living out your boyhood dreams’ lockdown project.
“I wasn’t going to go with the Cosworth spoiler. It’s a genuine Sierra Cosworth one, but I wasn’t sure how it would stay in place,” admits the Bedfordshire man. “I’m glad I did though.”
Another correct choice, especially as it was only an extra £120. Clearly Keith can sniff out a bargain more keenly than Dan sniffs out beers at a car show (#carshowbeers – Dan), but he’s a little more coy about revealing the cost of those twin headlights or 17in Escort Cosworth-inspired wheels. If his missus is reading this, let’s just say that was another £300.
The biggest expense was that gorgeous Focus RS Ultimate Green paintjob, expertly applied by Supreme Paintworks in Shefford, Bedfordshire. It’s hard to imagine any other colour that would have suited this car quite so well, while also bringing some more modern performance Ford vibes to the old school project. If you’d pulled this car out in 1997 you’d have been a visionary. Doing it now is just legendary.
While there are other mods like the ‘Jungle Massive’ sunstrip, Kenwood-based install with obligatory two 12in subs, RS1800i wingback seats and green underbody LEDs, the real news is the overall impact those arches, spoiler, rims and paint make. When we first saw pictures of it the initial response was “wow!”. That was followed shortly by the thought; “why hasn’t this been done before?”.
Then when we saw it in the metal/fibreglass at The Reunion Show sitting proudly next to the likes of Project Slam, it all just made sense. Much like Tommy’s Meguiars Renault 5 that came out wearing old school bodykit with modern Liquid Yellow paint, Keith’s Fiesta is a modern and high-quality version of the cars we lusted after back in the 90s.
And this is why Keith may have created more than just an awesome modified car. In the minds of hundreds – maybe even thousands – who have seen it, the 17-year-old within them is wondering what the car they lusted after back then would look like now. Afterall, they may have the money and the experience now that could finally make those cruise dreams a reality. Ebay, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace; they’re probably all getting trawled through as you read this by Maxers looking for old shitboxes to hit with the Maxing stick. As for those who weren’t about first time around, well, the beautiful fuckyouery of this Fiesta can’t help to be inspiring.
And with that, I’m off to search for Mk1 Fiestas while wondering how the Mk4 Escort van that Keith is building could possibly top this shed to show car.
For more, check out the video below:
NAME: Keith Desmond
AGE: 40 something
JOB: Double glazing guru
So, what’s happening with the Escort van then?
I had a Rattlesnake kit for it, but I’m not sure
Classic kit. Why not?
Well, I’m planning a big install and worried it might vibrate the kit off!
Jesus, you really don’t do things by halves do you!
ENGINE: Best not to mention
TRANSMISSION: See above
SUSPENSION: eBay coilovers
WHEELS & TYRES: 7x17in Autostar Legend One alloys • 235/35/17 tyres
EXTERIOR: Full PSG widearch bodykit • resprayed in Focus RS Ultimate Green • green underbody LEDs • 3-door Cosworth spoiler • twin headlights
INTERIOR: Fiesta RS1800i zebra wingback seats and doorcards
ICE: Kenwood Mask headunit • Alpine MRV1005 amp • Kenwood amp for Kenwood mids • 2x 12in Kenwood subs
THANKS & FREE PLUG: Supreme Paintworks in Shefford for the paintwork