Retro Cars

A Fiesta From The Mean Streets


A Fiesta from the mean streets


Ben Barnett is South London born and bred, he has serious retro car pedigree.


Ben grew up around old school fords thanks to his Dad, with Escorts, Cortinas and Capris influencing his early years, graduating to V8 hot rods and show cars.

It would be fair to say Ben has old school petrol running through his veins.

He loves just kicking back and having a laugh with his mate and sights American Graffiti as his favourite film. He’s a seriously cool guy.


The car I’m drooling over is a decadent little 1978 MK1 1100L fiesta.

This cosseted fiesta car came in to Bens care when he was 16 and immediately began a process of evolution.


Externally this ill mannered fiesta is right up my street. Standard bodywork with original chrome bumpers, complimented perfectly with polished RS 4 spokes and Yokohama tyres sat on koni gas shocks with a 4” drop, South London style.


The bodywork is straight and rust free having been zeibarted from new and the chrome trim and details remain just as they were when it came out of the factory.


It didn’t take long for the standard 1100 Kent engine to receive Bens attention. It breathes through a Webber carb and the gasses escape through a full, loud, custom exhaust system built by pipe craft in Essex.

The revy Kent engine has been treated to a high lift cam and a ported and polished head with stiffer valve springs. That’s old school tuning, just as it’s been done for years. Not a sensor or ECU in sight. Beautiful.


The interior is perfect. It retains the standard dash with some cool original accessories like a rare black centre console and coin holder.

The standard instruments remain with the addition of a modern TIM rev counter mounted on the A pillar.

The original, period black interior is tastefully customised with the addition of a Grant chrome and leather steering wheel and there’s a pair of dark grey MK1 Astra GTE front seats on custom made runners.


I love my old school cars. Maybe it’s my age but today’s retro cars tend to be the cars I grew up around so are familiar to me. That’s not unusual when you get to my age but you may be pleasantly surprised to hear Ben is only 19. How many 19 year olds do you know that smoke a period tuned MK1 fiesta?


All the work on this fiesta has been carried out by Ben with the help of his friends on driveways, at the side of the road or in his mate Stevens’s garage.


On the subject of mates, that’s what this is all about. Community, family, brotherhood.

It started with a son and father sharing a love of cars and has developed in to a different kind of family. A family of brothers joined not by blood but by a shared passion.

Ben’s family of friends, comrades, call them what you like, share a love of cars. Between them they have an eclectic collection of cars including another couple of fiestas and a variety of old fords amongst others.

Many an evening is spent working on cars, hanging out with mates or at local meets.

That sounds pretty ideal to me.


Currently the Fiesta is off the road while the evolution continues.

Ben and his friends are building a 2.0L black top Zetec Turbo to drop in. When the engine’s build it should be around 280+bhp which will be nuts in a car that weighs about the same as one of my shoes.

The plan is to treat the Fiesta to a full re-spray and restore any tired trim which will make this a real eye popping weapon.


Special mention goes to Ben’s girlfriend Lauren for putting up with his obsession.


Ben Barnetts depraved, scandalous little Fiesta is perfect. A balance of performance, great handling and electrifying looks. I hope when my kids pass their driving test there are still cars as cool as this on the road.

Ben and his mates have a great facebook group called Domestic Disturbance. Check them out.


‘You don’t make up for your sins in church. You do it in the streets. You do it at home. The rest is bullshit and you know it’. 

Leave a Reply