By Daniel Farmer’s own admission, his project has a long way to go before it’s done. But this K20-powered turbo, wide-body Mk7 Fiesta ST is such an eye-opener, we just had to get you up to speed…

There are many, many approaches to building a project car. More often than not, it ends up being a long, drawn-out process of refinement, engineering and re-engineering, testing, fiddling, swearing, all in the dogged pursuit of getting the damn thing right. These builds evolve over time and seldom end up resembling the initial vision that their donor cars conjure up, but there’s still generally an overarching aesthetic and mechanical goal that pushes the project on.

Sometimes, however, the genesis of the concept is as simple as looking at the car one night and thinking: I wonder what would happen if I try this? And that’s precisely how Daniel Farmer came up with the idea of dropping a Honda engine under the bonnet of his Mk7 Fiesta. He never planned for it all to turn out this way, although it’s very entertaining that this is how it’s panned out.

driving shot of tuned mk7 fiesta st

A History Of Car Modifying

It was kind of inevitable that something like this would happen at some point though, as modifying cars in a can’t-stop-fiddling-with-it style has always been in the Farmer family DNA, and this plucky Fiesta has been with Daniel through thick and thin for a number of years now.

“I’ve owned a few modified cars, it definitely runs in the family and has been passed down from my mum and dad,” he says. “From my first Fiesta which was a Mk6 1.4, moving onto a Mk5 Zetec S and, then to this Mk7 ST – modifying them all, and taking the Mk7 the furthest.”

Lightweight wheels on Mk7 Fiesta ST

This car was purchased five years ago from the Ford dealership where Daniel works; it was two years old at the time, an ST-3 in Molten Orange. “It’s been through the wars with me,” he laughs, “from hammering it on the road, to track days, to driving it round the Nürburgring. This Mk7 started as an MP215 kit from Ford which was rapidly modified to Stage 3 through OC Motorsport, who has helped me many times over the years, repping his BB04 turbo and at the time having it wrapped in Miami Blue – which I would like to proudly say was one of the most known Mk7 Fiestas in the Ford scene.”

Centre exit exhaust on k20-powered Mk7 Fiesta ST

Original 1.6-litre Engine Blow

Good swiftly turned to not-so-good when Daniel blew the engine up, and he was even contemplating abandoning the whole idea and selling the car… but he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. They’d been through too much together to call time over something as trivial as a blown motor. So he did the most therapeutic thing he could think of, fully stripping the car, leaving it in the workshop for a few months to think about what it had done, buying himself an F80 BMW M3 and driving around really fast for a bit. Which seemed to do the trick.

The hot jets of performance lust were shooting off in unexpected directions, Daniel surprisingly finding himself buying an EM1 Honda Civic that had a K20 engine swapped into it; it was misfiring and in need of love, so he decided to fix it up and, hell, wang a turbo on it for good measure. And then came that fateful night of realisation.

K20 engine in Mk7 Fiesta ST

K20-swapping the Mk7 Fiesta ST

“I stupidly made the mistake of putting the Civic and the Fiesta nose-to-nose, and had the brilliant idea of seeing if the Honda engine would fit in the Ford,” Daniel recalls with a grin. “Both the engines were out of the cars the same night and test-fitted in, and it did look like it would be relatively easy to fit. From there it all spiralled really; less than a year later the Civic setup was fully running and driving in the Fiesta.”

You see, it all keeps coming back to that Ford affinity. He may dabble with other brands, and sometimes to quite an in-depth extent, but Daniel just can’t quit this K20-powered Mk7 Fiesta ST. And there’s a very attractive quality that keeps pulling him back: the ability to wring its neck and drive it to the fullest on road and track. The M3 might be an astonishing performance machine, but the crux of it is that you expect it to be really fast, and so does everybody else; the power delivery is so effortless that you don’t feel wholly rewarded for your input, and there’s so much power on tap that you spend more time on the brakes than the throttle. The Fiesta, on the other hand… you can keep that pedal pinned and enjoy maximum reward from maximum input.

interior of k20-powered Mk7 Fiesta ST

DIY Approach

“The majority of the work on this Fiesta was carried out by me and my brother, built in our garage at home over countless late nights and early mornings,” Daniel continues. “The car has had a lot of work done all over, starting with the engine (of course) which thankfully hasn’t required any chassis mods or modification to the structure of the engine bay.

The K20 was stripped back and cleaned down, all ancillaries were put back on and test-fitted into the car to check for clearances and so on, which we were all in the green even with a sidewinder and screamer made for an EP3. We had to get custom engine mounts measured and made for the car, as well as driveshafts, and these turned out to be the biggest hurdle in the whole process unfortunately, due to a company letting us down massively with broken promises. We had to do pretty much everything from scratch, as there’s only one other car that’s had this done before and there was nothing on the market to make our lives easier. It took plenty of testing and trying to make certain things work!”

Stripped interior with bucket seats in Ford

K20-powered Mk7 Fiesta ST Performance

It was damn sure worth the effort though, as that Precision-boosted K20 is now boasting a frankly ludicrous 444bhp, plenty to give those Michelin Pilot Sport 5s something to think about – and when Daniel swaps on the R888Rs and heads for the track, the Mk7 has his back, with its monster 8-pot K-Sport brakes and BC coilovers helping to make the most of that epic performance. And naturally, as you’ve no doubt spotted by now, this isn’t just about the ‘go’ – there’s a decent slug of ‘show’ here too. Because while he’s keen to point out that the car is currently half-finished, it doesn’t half look pretty on the ’Gram, and that stellar exterior vibe is just as eye-popping in real life as it looks on your little screen.

Daniel’s fitted Airtec Motorsport’s impressive wide-body kit along with a carbon wing, plus splitter and diffuser from MGC Racing, and the effect is dramatic – not least for the fabulous addition of the Bumblebee Yellow metallic vinyl wrap. And as we love a centre-exit exhaust, it’s particularly pleasing to find a downturned pie-cut tail poking out the middle of that imposing set of verticals at the rear end.

“Yeah, it is still a work in progress,” Daniel muses. “There’s a long way to go till it’s done, but it does turn heads wherever it goes.” And that sort of attention is only set to increase. After all, what he’s achieved with this phoenix-like K20-powered Mk7 Fiesta ST is little short of remarkable, and it’s going to be very interesting to see what happens next.

rear 3/4 shot of k20-powered Mk7 Fiesta ST

Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Jason Dodd.

Looking to see cars like this in the flesh? Be sure to check out our Ford Fair event at Silverstone.