IMSA Tribute: 1978 Ford Fiesta Track Car

I don’t know if I need to say this, but box flares can make pretty much anything look like badass. Take this homely Ford Fiesta and marvel in its heaps of attitude made possible simply with the addition of tack-on fender flares and a huge front air dam. The description is a bit vague as to its history, but the seller mentions that this was a Ford-built track car, presumably for the awesome Camel GT presented by IMSA. These were incredible years in motorsport, back when racing was pure and essentially any production car sitting on a dealer lot could be seen in the paddock, suited up for duty the following week. Find this unusual Fiesta here on Hemmings with an asking price of $8,500.

The Fiesta looks incredible with its huge fender flares and mesh wheels, which apparently aren’t even the dedicated track wheels the seller mentions are included with the sale. These are just for rolling around the yard on, but even these rollers add to the awesomeness that is a track-prepared Fiesta. The Camel GT Championship featured some of the most desirable track cars ever made, replete with the sort of exaggerated aerodynamic enhancements seen here. Flares, spoilers, air dams, fat wheels – all of it wearing the appropriate IMSA logos and Joe Camel stitched onto the driver’s suits. It was a great time to be a racing fan, especially when guys like Bob Sharp got into the mix.

This Fiesta has been upgraded inside and out, with a full roll bar inside. The bulk of the modifications are to the chassis and drivetrain, with the seller noting that the Fiesta was conceived with big brakes, high performance shocks, and upgraded components ranging from the brake master cylinder to the calipers. Now, the odd thing about the description is when the seller says the “…suspension and brakes are dead,” which I can only assume means tired or otherwise past their expiration date. Now, if the suspension was some sort of custom adjustable setup, I could see major component failure rendering it useless, but the brakes would like just be in need of a rebuild to work as intended once again.

That’s the tricky aspect of a car like this, as the one-off equipment Ford installed was rare when new and certainly extinct now. The good news is the engine is basically the same 1600 CC four-cylinder found in any other Fiesta, albeit upgraded with twin DeLlortos carbs. The seller claims it did run in 2014, but it hasn’t been used regularly for quite some time. Check out the period air horns in the engine bay – this Fiesta is loaded with period goodies. The one aspect of its history I can’t quite discern is whether it ever ran at an IMSA event, or was just modeled after the cars that did – that part of the description is particularly confusing. Still, it’s a rare bird and a wonderful artifact of what racing used to be like.

Fast Finds


  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    In the early ‘80’s while out for a ride through Reno with my girlfriend we passed by the Centennial Coliseum and saw a bunch of cones in the parking lot. As we rode by a blue Fiesta S went screaming around the far hairpin. My girlfriend said “Hey isn’t that your brothers car you co-signed for?” I whipped around and into the paddock where my brother was getting out of the car. “What are you doing?” I yelled.
    He calmly said “2nd, working on first place.”
    We stayed to watch as he did just that; my brother and I started as a team the following weekend and met some terrific people (some lifetime friends) there at the Reno SCCA.
    Had a great deal of fun with that car especially on tight courses but more so especially whipping inept Porsche owners who thought they were all that and a bag of chips…😆

    Like 21
    • Derek

      It’s fun being unexpected, isn’t it? My autotest car was a bog stock Skoda 120 saloon.

      Like 1
  2. 8banger Member

    Ya, I had a ’79 Fiesta S with a 4-speed back in the early 90s, and while basically stock, it was a quick and excellent-handling little s**t….

    Like 5
  3. henry

    looks it BMW wheels from the late 80s or ’90s

  4. James West

    Cross flow head…might be a great buy for to right person

    Like 3
  5. angliagt angliagt Member

    While looking at a couple of Cortina GTs ( & a ’93 Fiesta),
    I was shown a Fiesta Sport that was built as a road racer.
    After owning at least a dozen of them,I’m having a hard time
    not thinking about buying it.

    Like 5
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      “We miss 100% of the shots we don’t take.”
      Michael Jordan

      Like 2
      • angliagt angliagt Member

        I really want it,but don’t have any room in the garage,
        & don’t really need a project car right now.

  6. Billy1

    angliagt Like a Chastain Mercury Capri II, there can’t be too many of these still in existence. I would jump on it if I were you. Offer him $7,500.00 if it runs well.

    Like 1
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      It appears to be rust free,but the engine is disassembled.
      On the plus side,there’s lots of extra parts.I was told to make a “fair & honest offer”.I just want to see someone save it,& use it.
      Here’s the other cars that were out front.

      Like 1
  7. Skorzeny

    I had an ’80 Ghia, and even though it only had 66hp, it was a lot of fun. I was very young at the time, and if I had had more knowledge and money, I could have added a few hp. I really miss that car. 1.6L Kent was a really tough motor.

    Like 2
  8. Bunky

    “Incredible” would not be my cosmetic descriptor.

  9. Greg Millard Member

    PURRFECT cost effective FUN

  10. John Walsh

    I have a Dutton Phaeton with the same crossflow engine but 1700 cc, 4 branch headers and big Webber and it flies due to next to no weight. Pity I have to sell it due to lack of use and these are built to be used.

    Like 1
  11. Marko

    Now if someone had a somewhat totaled Ford Taurus SHO laying around, one could do a mid engined transplant in the rear seat, like a Renault R5, and make a fairly lethal road burner outta this Fiesta.

    That would be fun.

    Like 4
  12. Jose

    The Sho-gun wasn’t built using the Fiesta, they used the Festiva, which was Korean built. I remember when the news came out about this car. People couldn’t believe it, they were shocked. One of the magazines did a road test on it and were just in awe. Jay Leno, I think, was one of the first to buy one. If I remember correctly, they weren’t cheap for the time.

    Like 2
  13. Grid Member

    This whole issue hurt me to the core: destitute from a divorce, I swapped my ’57 Bird for a ’78 Fiesta so I could come back home, take over a marina, bring it to profitability then lose the marina on the 3rd recession. The Fiesta lasted 115,000 miles, engine still as strong as original, but the holes in the driver’s floor forced another swap to a 74 Chrysler T&C wagon. Nearly melted my Shell card with that one!

    Like 1

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