Ford Healey Fiesta | Spotted

A humble old Fiesta to most, the Healey is actually one of the rarest fast Fords of them all

By Matt Bird / Monday, January 11, 2021 / Loading comments

We all like to think we have a good amount of fast Ford knowledge, don't we? It's part and parcel of being a car enthusiast in the UK. So, we know about big turbo and little turbo Escort Cosworths, about the doomed RS1700T, about how a Mondeo Ghia was used for the 1994 BTCC so its standard-fit foglights could be removed for brake cooling… you know, run-of-the-mill stuff.

But you might not know about this little tyke, the Ford Healey Fiesta. The one and only Ford Healey Fiesta, too, this car being the solitary product of an Anglo-American alliance that really should have gone on to bigger and better things. Because it looks like an absolute gem.

Back in the late 1970s, the original Fiesta wasn't doing all that well in the United States. Which is perhaps no great surprise, in hindsight, though that didn't stop the top brass attempting to jazz up its image in the best way they knew how – by making it faster. Except Detroit did nothing more than draw up some designs – the actual hard work was done in Britain, by a couple of blokes called Donald and Geoff Healey. Yes, of Austin-Healey fame, no less. Not only is this a unique fast Ford, then, it's also the very last vehicle to be made bearing the Healey name – so it's pretty significant.

The Healeys went to town on the little US domestic market Fiesta, upping the compression ratio with new pistons, fitting the head from an Escort Mexico, uprating the cam and the carb and ditching the stifling emissions equipment that was required in America at the time. By the time the Healeys were done, it was reckoned that the humble 1.6 had been liberated from its wheezy 65hp output, and reached the heady heights of 105hp or so.

There was much more to the Fiesta than merely power, though. In fact, barely anything was left untouched, with bigger brakes, larger wheels and tyres, lower suspension, the front spoiler the half cage and the bucket seats. A proper Fiesta hot hatch before the XR2, basically, with the Healey kudos as well. And painted British Racing Green, of course.

But it wasn't to be, and the Healey remained a one-off. It was tested by the magazines, however, and shown at motor shows, meaning it became pretty well known. Ford sold it into private ownership at the end of 1980s; it remained in America before finding its way to a Healey collector in the Netherlands, then in 2014 was sold by Bonhams with just 7,000 miles recorded.

And here it is once more, the Healey Fiesta available for another lucky owner. Now showing 8,000 miles it's pretty hard to fault, the car clearly cared for by a line of doting owners – it's 42 years old now, remember. And yet the yellow pinstriping is perfect, the lovely little Minilites without blemish and the bumpers look like they've never been meddled with. Which, given how naff they look, is some achievement.

So although it's a shame that the Ford-Healey collaboration never went any further than this prototype, it does present an incredible opportunity for a fan of either brand. It's currently listed with Classicmobilia at POA; obviously valuing one-offs is difficult, but it's probably worth knowing that Bonhams auction estimate was £10- £15k and the much better known (but much more common) XR2 can be anything up to £20,000 . Oh yes, and a Frog Eye Sprite is about £15k. What to do with it after you've bought it is another question, because some might see it as now too precious to use. Let's hope it can get out every now and then, though, because there really is nothing like the Healey Fiesta. And this time around that statement is accurate.


Engine: 1.6-litre, four-cylinder
Transmission: 4-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],200rpm
Torque (lb ft): N/A
CO2: N/A
First registered: 1978
Recorded mileage: 8,000
Price new: Prototype only
Yours for: £POA

See the original advert here.

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