Fiesta Hot Rod – 2.0L XE 

Richard Hawken chose a Vauxhall 2.0 16V XE for his Fiesta Hot Rod he runs on the oval and sprint circuits.
Last update October 2001
The series allows about 4 2.0 16V variations including Ford, Vauxhall, Peugeot and Volkswagen. After some investigation the Vauxhall unit seemed to have the greatest potential for tuning. It was already part of the way there having been originally designed by Cosworth. 
SBD are brilliant in terms of offering advice for your engine build. Having built many race Pinto engines in the past I wanted to do the construction of the engine myself. First thing was to get an engine, sound easy? They’re not that available believe it or not. Fortunately my sponsors supplied me with an engine from a 92 Astra GTE that had been partly destroyed in a motorway pile up. 
First thing was to strip the entire engine, keeping hold of the block, head crank and rods. Block was sent off for reboring and facing, head went to SBD’s engineer for gas flowing, (protruding valve guide) whilst all the reciprocating bits (crank, rods, steel flywheel, triple plate clutch) went off to be balanced. Pistons are supplied ready balanced from SBD who supplied a set of shiny new forged Omegas to the exact compression ratio required. Race spec main and big end bearings are essential for reliability, oh and a set of ARP rod bolts too, keeping it all together at 8000 RPM plus. All off the shelf. 
Once the head came back it was immediately fitted with bronze guides, wasted stem steel valves, titanium spring seats and caps and a set of solid lifters with sims. Once again all a result of  SBD’s finest advice. These were all mated up with a pair of whopper cams profiled by SBD and ground by Kent Cams producing strong torque without compromising BHP.  
The head was reunited with the block and sent off to SBD for the cam timing. To get the timing right is no easy job (even with all the tools), so the few hours labour charge was well worth it. The pistons and valves run alarmingly close together in this state of tune, so one error could be £1000 wasted. At the same time we fitted the blanking plate where the distributor used to be in favour of a full electronically mapped ignition using a Vauxhall Omega coil pack from the Ecotec engine. All connectors plug nicely together with the MBE mapping unit. 
SBD recommends Redline tuning for the Vauxhall unit, and let me tell you they’re not wrong. 240 BHP on carbs!. Due to the car being at best 5cm off the ground we had some difficulty clamping it to the rollers, but after some spring platform adjustment we were able to get a good run. In fact to the point where the needle on the rolling road speedometer exceeded 130MPH and got stuck, off the clock. Raised an eyebrow or 2. 
It’s been a long uphill struggle, but seems to be paying dividends at last.
I would like to thank Steve, Dick and SBD team for their contributions and advice over the last 18 months.
Richard Hawken