From ragged farm lane rally hooner to stanced show-and-shine winner, this bagged Mk7 Fiesta ST has been on quite a journey.

How would your family react if you spent Christmas day rebuilding your car’s engine next to the kitchen table? You may well find yourself on the business end of a particularly sharp sprig of holly, but evidently it’s just about possible to get away with it – because that’s precisely what Geraint James and his dad did. The fact that they’re still here to tell the tale suggests that the pursuit of automotive awesomeness can excuse you from all manner of festive sins.

“My dad has always been Ford mad, so it would have been rude for me not to get one,” Geraint grins. “Where do I begin with cars? Well, basically I’ve always grown up with helping my dad work on cars, from a young age to even now. I began with messing around with the typical Corsas before ultimately needing a cheap car to go to work, so I started properly with a Mk7 Fiesta 1.6 TDCi about ten years ago.”

side profile shot of Bagged Mk7 Fiesta ST

Buying the Ford Fiesta ST Mk7

The inherent passion for turning up the coolness wick ensured that this cheap-and-cheerful runabout received a bit of ‘the treatment’ from this fledgling enthusiast; it may have been a budget daily hack, but it ended up on air-ride and kept obsessively clean. Meanwhile, Geraint’s brother had bought himself an ST180 with similar intent, wanting something practical to get to work in every day, and the fact that Fiesta STs are so much fun meant that, more often than not, he was ragging it up the farm lanes like a full-bore rally driver, bouncing it through fields and all sorts. When he found himself needing a truck, Geraint then bought the hard-driven ST and embarked upon a whole new set of Ford hot hatch adventures.

air lift performance controller

Transferring parts to the bagged Mk7 Fiesta ST

“When I bought it, the car was completely standard,” says Geraint. “Within the first week, I had it on air-ride – I swapped over the setup from my TDCi. And from thereon in, the build was basically an experiment… I’ve never gone this far with a project car before, absolutely everything involved was a learning curve. I like to keep myself busy and I’m always thinking about what else I can do. I just went with the flow regarding decisions: try something, see how it goes, and if I don’t like it, change it until it’s right.”

Ford Fair

All of this has been done as a home-build between Geraint and his father, and there have been some really impressive skills developing here. Take all the carbon fibre, for example. This is a material that speaks volumes about the seriousness of a car, its low weight and high tensile strength earning a solid reputation in the pantheon of motorsport and thus trickling down to road cars as a marker of forthrightness; of course, it’s not something that just anyone can make, it’s a fiddly process that requires a Neeson-like special set of skills. But Geraint doesn’t see obstacles in the same way most people do. “I made all the interior carbon myself,” he says.

rear 3/4 shot of Bagged Mk7 Fiesta ST

“The whole theme across the car was a bit of an accident really – I’d found this custom carbon bootlid and then I just went a bit carbon-crazy making everything match it. On the whole, the fact is that I just didn’t want it to be a typical Fiesta, I wanted something different and unique to myself. The seats took five months from order to arrive, and even the carbon diffuser took six months, so I’ve had to have patience on a lot of things.”

exhaust tips on fiesta

Turning up the power

It doesn’t sound as if patience is a particular issue, however. Perhaps life moves a little slower in the windy wilderness around Cardigan, but the painstaking efforts put into perfecting this ST have certainly paid dividends.

With his dad helping out with the paintwork, combined with a thoughtful approach to selecting the right exterior styling without over-embellishing, you can see why this ridiculously clean Fiesta is a hoover for show-and-shine trophies. And with the two fellas working their magic on that yuletide engine rebuild, it’s certainly got the guts to hold its own among its fast-road peers too; treated to bountiful upgrades including Airtec induction kit, an Outlaw intercooler and a Cobra system (complete with old-school outward-rolled 4” tip, like an RS Turbo on Southend seafront in the nineties), its Peron ECU tune has upped the ante to a robust 250bhp.

roll cage in car Bagged Mk7 Fiesta ST interior

Show-and-go, then, is very much the ethos. If you’re going to cut it on the showground, you’ve got to have a magpie eye for desirable shiny things, and the rolling stock is a case in point. These staggered OZ Futura splits are one of only three sets in the UK made in a Ford fitment, finished in a one-off silver with polished Radinox lips. The stretch on the sidewalls mightn’t please all palates, but you can’t deny the theatrical artistry of airing out so that the arches sit precisely between tyre and lip – that’s taken a whole lot of measuring and adjusting to perfect.

portrait 3/4 shot of Bagged Mk7 Fiesta ST

Bagged Mk7 Fiesta ST Conclusion

So the car’s come a long, long way from being a thrashed farm track beater. Indeed, these days it’s pampered like a show poodle. “I admit, it hardly comes out,” Geraint laughs. “I’ll take it out for fun on a nice weekend, although we don’t get a lot of those around here; otherwise, it largely just goes to shows – I’ll road-trip it there, enjoy the show, then drive back and tuck it away in the garage again. But every time it’s out I get looks, and people come and talk about it as well which is really nice, it always gets complimented.” Which is all attributable to the secret sauce stirred into the recipe from the very beginning. No, it’s not normal to be rebuilding an engine in the kitchen on Christmas day – but the evidence is right here before us that the results are finger-lickin’ good.

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Photos: Well Chuffed Media.