2002 Quantum 2+2 2.0 liter Zetec from UK and Ireland
Practical in winter, nice cruiser in summer, but not for enthusiastic drivers
Temperature gauge stopped working. Rev counter only worked about 60% of the time.
Slight leak on passenger door seal and one tail light unit.
Rear brake slave cylinder started weeping 3 years after being replaced.
This is a kit car, so your enjoyment of it will largely be dependent on the care with which it was put together. I was very lucky with mine - the original builder spent between 1998 and 2002 carefully grafting the bits from a 1985 XR2 into the shell, and 6 years later someone else did a proper job of fitting a 2 liter Mondeo engine.
All of the stuff provided by Quantum is 1st class. The fibreglass is thick, ripple free, and though the shut lines are inevitably larger than those of production cars, the strength is such that it would probably crash better than something of the same weight in steel. The doors, bonnet and bootlid open & shut without catching on anything, and nothing on the body rattles. Special mention should be made of the hood; it is simple to operate, reasonably elegant and absolutely waterproof - none of which applies to the Smart Roadster I also own. There is a large and easily accessible boot and lots of space in the interior. Engine access is superb. Mine had Quantum rated springs fitted to account for the reduced weight compared to the donor, as well as Recaro seats, so comfort was very good. Not as good as a modern car, but a 12 hour drive would pose no problems.
Handling is better than the Fiesta original - less weight, lower C of G, slightly longer wheelbase, more slippery body - so it should and does most things better than the donor. The steering is heavy compared to a modern car, but fit the right size steering wheel & you soon acclimatise.
After reading all of the praise above you must be wondering why I got rid of it after only 3 years? That can be summed up in one 4 letter word - Ford.
Those of you who have driven Fiestas made in the late 90s or early 2000s just cannot appreciate how awful the earlier models were to drive. The engineering content of Fords at that time was dictated by accountants.
Very rarely this actually worked - if you look at the rear suspension it is a dead beam located by forward links and a Panhard rod. It looks crude but worked pretty well.
Usually the results ranged from barely acceptable to dire. Take the brakes - the pedal is too high to heel and toe, there is an ungodly amount of slop in the linkage (no, it was not wear, it was built in!) and when you pushed the pedal hard the master cylinder mounting bracket flexed. The Quantum made bulkhead stayed put, but the Ford made bracket bent. My car had new brake seals or cylinders and braided hoses, so all of the slop was down to Ford design.
The gear linkage had so much slop built in I still crunched gears on 1 journey in 3. To be fair this could have been wear of the selector mechanism in the gearbox.
The worst thing by far was the front suspension. The track arms are a flimsy pressing, the tie rods are different lengths because when the 5 speed gearbox was introduced, it fouled the one on the left so Ford made it longer and put a kink in it, and there is a farcical amount of bump steer. This means that every time you go over a bump or lean into a corner, the front wheels start pointing in different directions. This is fine if you are operating a shopping trolley in Sainsbury's car park, but not ideal if you are trying to thread yourself along a hilly road. After optimising the suspension geometry, tightening or replacing the bushes and replacing the front tyres, I still ended up with wheel spin and what could best be described as axle tramp when accelerating from 35mph in 3rd gear!
There are other things to detract from driver enjoyment. Notchy switchgear (I threw the indicator return mechanism away), a nice 16 valve engine throttled by a restrictive exhaust manifold, rattling from the instrument cluster leading to bits of it only working part time, and a stupidly loud exhaust (this is the one thing which was not Ford's fault).
To sum up:
1. It is a kit car so check the build quality.
2. Can easily be made to last forever because of readily available mechanicals & excellent Quantum design.
3. Find one with a Zetec engine fitted if possible - much better than a CVH.
4. Practical and comfortable enough to use every day and (if it has been maintained) much more reliable than any modern more than 10 years old, because there are no electronics to go wrong.
5. Great cruiser, but if you want a driver's car look elsewhere.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 16th July, 2018