Puna-engined Ford Fiesta Mk4 meets kitted Fiesta Mk5

Puna-engined Ford Fiesta Mk4 meets kitted Fiesta Mk5

On the one hand, a turn-of-the-millennium tuner build; on the other, a Puma-swapped toy. Mike Julien’s taking a diverse approach to doing what Ford never did with the Mk4/Mk5 Fiesta platform.




One has a 1.7 Puma swap, the other’s a period early-2000s cruise build.

The Mk4 Fiesta has, for a lot of Ford fans, always sat in a bit of a weird hinterland. This model, along with its New Edge facelift that we generally know as the Mk5, was in danger of becoming a footnote in Fast Ford history, owing to the fact that there was never really a sporty one from the factory. Whereas the Mk1 had the SuperSport followed by the XR2, the Mk2 built on the XR2 concept, and the Mk3 brought us the XR2i, the RS Turbo and the RS1800, the spiciest Mk4/5 we ever got was the Zetec-S. The fortunes of this generation of Fiesta, however, are shifting. It’s long been established that swapping in the Yamaha-developed 1.7-litre engine from the Puma is the way to create the hot Mk4 that Ford never did, and there’s an extra dimension to consider: because the Mk4 and Mk5 have never been as sought-after as other eras of Fiesta, they’re the most affordable ones. And that’s precisely what sent Mike Julien down the rabbit-hole that’s resulted in the unique pair you see here.

Puna-engined Ford Fiesta Mk4 meets kitted Fiesta Mk5

“I wanted something retro, but nothing was available for the kind of prices I was used to paying apart from the Mk4 Fiesta,” he reasons. “Nobody was very interested in them at the time so they were cheap; I decided I wanted a base spec Encore – you know the one, with the black textured bumpers – as it was the last of the ‘poverty spec’ Fords in my opinion, and would be well within budget.” It’s an interesting position to fuse with the starting point of Mike’s automotive affections; he’s always been a Ford guy, and a lot of it was influenced by the style popularised back in the day by a certain tuning mag that sort of rhymes with Jack Bauer. “I’ve always been around cars, Fords in particular, as my dad had plenty of them over the years,” he explains. “In the early 2000s my brother had a Mk2 Orion painted in Cadbury’s purple with the full Illusion bodykit, 17” 5 spokes, Morette headlights and so on – I was smitten and had dreams of owning it one day, but unfortunately it was sold before I’d even passed my test. When I did get my licence, I made sure to modify basically every car I ever got and make it my own, whether it was a set of alloys or a full-on bodykit. If I’m honest, I used to get bored really easily with my cars and once I got them to a certain standard I’d get rid as I wanted to find something new to do it all over again.”

Puna-engined Ford Fiesta Mk4 meets kitted Fiesta Mk5

The path to acquiring the two Fiestas you see here was born of a misguided attempt to change his ways and start being sensible, something that modders know in their hearts is a futile endeavour. Mike had sold his collection of Fords with the intention of getting something modern and sensible each for him and his wife, Toni, although it quickly became apparent that denying such inherent urges was never going to work – and it’s at this point that Mike reached his conclusion about base-spec Mk4 Fiestas.

Puna-engined Ford Fiesta Mk4 meets kitted Fiesta Mk5

“It took me about six months to find exactly what I wanted, and I ended up buying this 1999 Mk4 over the phone and having it delivered to my mother-in-law’s, just going off a description as it was 250 miles away,” he recalls. “Thankfully it turned out to be a pleasant surprise when I went to collect it, having never been welded and with only 53k on the clock – not bad for something that had been sent in for scrap! Once I got it home, I started to do little bits to it and then my wife decided she wouldn’t mind one as a daily driver for the school run…”

Puna-engined Ford Fiesta Mk4

In an act of serendipity, the 2001 Mk5 was then posted up for sale on the Fiesta Mk4 & Mk5 Owners Group on Facebook. The seller had bought it as his first car when it was only a couple of years old, back in the ostentatious turn-of-the-century tuning era, and had sunk untold thousands into building it up into a proper little cruise-mobile.

Puna-engined Ford Fiesta Mk4 meets kitted Fiesta Mk5

“It gave off similar vibes to my brother’s old Orion, and I knew there and then that I wanted it,” Mike grins. “I messaged him and had a chat; he said it was a non-runner and had sat in his wife’s granddad’s garage since 2008, having come off the road due to the cruise scene dying out. I decided to travel the 150 miles up to Coventry to view the car to see if it was as good as the photos, and ended up having a deal with him and turning up with a recovery truck a week later to collect it. To my surprise, all it needed was a fuel pump, so my son Tyler and I dropped the tank and fitted a new one and it fired straight back into life.”

Puna-engined Ford Fiesta Mk4 meets kitted Fiesta Mk5

In terms of the build, what you’re seeing here with the Mk5 is all genuine early-2000s modding, the aesthetic owing to the vision of its former keeper. Mike’s rescue mission has brought it back onto the road and into the 2020s, as a style of build that you just don’t see very often these days. And the Mk4? Well, he got a bit carried away with that one…

Ford Fiesta Mk5

“It’s my creation, but my wife’s car,” Mike explains. “When I started to find the rare parts like the bumper splitters and seats, I just decided to go all-out with it. I also did lots of little things that people probably wouldn’t notice unless you’re into your Fiestas or I point them out, but I know they’re there – like the pink LED switches and the LED speedo conversion. I wanted to create something that would stand out at any show my wife and I went to, especially Ford ones as you never see any modded Mk4s, so I fitted everything I had at the time then had it all painted. We were happy with the look, but it was still a bit slow being a 1.4… and that’s when we decided it needed to be Puma-powered.”

Ford Fiesta Mk5

Yep, Mike and Toni opted to follow the logical path to instantly amp up the performance creds of the Fiesta by swapping in the high-spec Zetec-SE that was developed specifically for the Fiesta-based Puma; this engine had an amusingly serpentine inception, with Ford shipping rough-machined cylinder blocks from the Valencia plant in Spain over to Yamaha in Japan, to be Nikasil-coated and built up before sending them to the Cologne plant in Germany where the Puma was assembled.

Ford Fiesta Mk5 - engine

“There’s a guy on the Fiesta Mk4 and Mk5 Owners Group who offers same-day drive-in- drive-out Puma engine conversions,” Mike continues, “and at the prices he was charging to supply and fit, you wouldn’t even find a scrap car! So a deposit was left and a date was set to have it done, and the rest is history. The Puma conversion was the icing on the cake for me, I never thought it would make such a difference but in something as light as a Fiesta, the difference in performance is like night and day.”

Ford Fiesta Mk5

As is the nature of addiction, you’ll be unsurprised to learn that these aren’t the only Fiestas in Mike and Toni’s collection today, but you’ll be reassured to hear that each one is getting properly used. The Mk5 was Mike’s daily driver for quite some time before he took it off the road for a suspension overhaul with this now completed, it’s set to be back on regular duty once more. “It’s definitely a ‘love it or hate it’ kind of car,” he laughs. “I think if you grew up in the late-1990s/early-2000s modding era, then you’re probably gonna love it.” And the Mk4, having always been intended as a daily driver, has been retired from the school run as the build became more in-depth and is now more of a B-road toy, built for driving pleasure. “I’ve never heard a bad word said about it,” Mike beams. “I guess like everything it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but people often comment on how clean it is, which is nice – it’s always a good feeling when people recognise what time, money and effort has gone into it.”

It’s heart-warming to see these childhood dreams realised with arguably the least-loved generation of Fiesta. By channelling his enthusiasm for turn-of-the-millennium modding, and harnessing the tried-and-tested Puma swap to join his own quest for rare parts-hunting, Mike’s put together a pair of cars that powerfully represent the potential of the Mk4/Mk5 platform.

Remember the days when we were all scouring scrapyards for Mondeo Si rims as a cheap alternative to Cossie wheels...? As with a lot of kitted early-2000s builds, the motor is essentially stock. But hey, if it ain’t broke…

Cabin treatment is very much of its time… but fashions do tend to come around, don’t they?

“The Mk5 was a non-runner, sat in a garage since 2008, having come off the road due to the cruise scene dying out. To my surprise, all it needed was a fuel pump and it fired straight back into life”


  • ENGINE 1.6-litre Zetec-SE, Pipercross induction, custom cat-back twin-exit stainless exhaust system
  • TRANSMISSION IB5 5-speed manual
  • SUSPENSION KYB shocks, -60mm GMax lowering springs
  • BRAKES Stock
  • WHEELS & TYRES 16” Mondeo Si alloy wheels, 195/45 tyres
  • EXTERIOR 12-Bore front bumper, stock Zetec-S rear bumper with Citroën Saxo R&A rear diffuser smoothed in, Mk1 Punto Abarth sideskirts and Saxo arches smoothed into body, smoothed boot, fixed rear window conversion, angel-eye headlights, custom rear lights, side repeaters removed and smoothed, de-locked all round, smoothed passenger door, DTM wing mirrors with base plates smoothed in and indicators fitted, red underglow neons
  • INTERIOR Dash and doorcards painted white with blue pearl and red inserts, red and white LED switches and clock, Fiesta Mk5 Black Edition leather seats, Momo Apache steering wheel and boss


  • ENGINE Puma 1.7-litre VCT, custom stainless steel cat-back exhaust system with 4” outwardrolled tail TRANSMISSION Puma IB5 5-speed manual
  • SUSPENSION 60mm lowering springs
  • BRAKES Puma brake conversion
  • WHEELS & TYRES 8x16” Escort RS Cosworth alloy wheels, 195/45 tyres
  • EXTERIOR MS Design front and rear splitters, Zetec-S sideskirts, smoked headlights, smoked taillights, LED smoked side repeaters, pop-out window conversion, de-wipered, de-badged
  • INTERIOR Racing Puma seats, dash and pillars trimmed to match, switches and speedo converted to pink LEDs

EsCos alloys basically suit everything, don’t they?

Yamaha-developed 1.7- litre Puma engine has transformed the Mk4

“I wanted something retro, but nothing was available for the kind of prices I was used to paying — apart from the Mk4 Fiesta. Nobody was very interested in them, so they were cheap”


  • AGE 33
  • JOB Delivery driver
  • FIRST FORD Fiesta XR2i
  • EVENT? Classic Ford Show
  • TRACK DAY OR SHOW & SHINE? Show-and-shine


THIS PROJECT? Make sure you’ve always got spare change for the next mod, because a project is never finished…

WHAT’S NEXT ST150 front brakes on the Mk4; find another Mk4 Fiesta to fit the spare MS Design kit I managed to find and aim for concours

THANKS My wife, Toni, for putting up with my car obsession – I’ve no idea how she does it. The Fiesta Mk4 & Mk5 Owners Group for the wealth of knowledge and passion on there. Kurt Simms for supplying and fitting the Puma conversion on the Mk4. And last of all DB Details and Valeting in Bridgwater, Somerset for getting the paint as fresh as can be on my cars

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