2002 Quantum 2+2 2.0 liter Zetec from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Practical in winter, nice cruiser in summer, but not for enthusiastic drivers

Faults:

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.

General Comments:

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

2000 Quantum 2+2 1.4 CVH from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Loads of fun

Faults:

Headlamp covers needed rewiring.

Earth fault on tail light clusters.

Electric windows didn't work.. Ford problem not Quantum.

Holed sump.

General Comments:

The reviews written about the Quantum show one thing, the quality of the kit has to be tempered by the experience/enthusiasm/ability of the guy who builds the kit.

My Quantum has the 1.4 CVH engine; with this the performance is nippy but not ridiculous (think 70mph speed limits and the traffic talibans objection to tyre smoke away from the traffic lights). The benefits this brings are pretty good. Try insuring your MX5 for under £200 a year fully comprehensive and unlimited mileage. Add to that a fuel return of around 50mpg and easy parts availability in a car that turns heads, and you are on to a winner.

The faults I have listed show a common problem with kit cars, they are often built by people who are enthusiastic about getting every body panel lined up perfectly with a reasonable to good level of engineering and mechanical ability, the electrics are shocking (pun intended)! This is largely because of the requirement to cut into the donor car wiring loom. It also doesn't have to look pretty to work. Unfortunately this often means that the gremlins have plenty of opportunities to invade and sooner or later they will. This is the third kit car I have owned and they have all had electrical issues.

The handling is reasonably benign, although the low centre of gravity helps it corner really well, understeer is noticeable at speed, but predictable enough to be a non issue. Having so little weight at the back makes oversteer a possibility, but even that is gentle enough to not cause problems. The low ground clearance causes some issues with speed humps (don't try fitting undercar lighting!!) and pot holes.

All in all this is a great car, if something of a timewaster. Don't buy one unless you are happy to spend hours chatting to the guy in the pub/car park/petrol station about it. They are sufficiently unusual to attract attention, easy and reasonable to maintain, and generally carry Ford reliability.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st August, 2008

1998 Quantum 2+2 2 + 2 1.6 CVH from UK and Ireland

Summary:

An MX5 it is not!

Faults:

Constant battle with leaks from the poorly fitting hood.

Overheating - finally cured by fitting custom built uprated radiator.

Very heavy steering for parking etc.

Bad transmission snatch particularly when driving slowly in traffic.

Hard, choppy ride quality.

General Comments:

A beautiful looking and practical sports car let down by poor build quality (mostly Ford, not Quantum) and the donor car on which it is based (Fiesta XR2).

Heavy steering and under-steer spoils driver enjoyment.

Easy and cheap to maintain with standard Ford mechanics.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 31st August, 2003

11th May 2005, 04:45

The Quantum 2+2 is a kit car so the quality of the car is down to the builder.

I have owned a Quantum 2+2 for a few years now and have not had any of the problems stated in this review. (other than a minor roof leak)

It's all down to if you rush the build or build it with sub standard/faulty parts you will end up with problems.

If you take your time with the build and recondition all the parts it will be as reliable as any other production car.

24th Oct 2005, 14:34

I think this chap has unrealistic expectations from a homebuilt car built from a knackered old model Fiesta.

The overheating sounds like the head gasket to me (unusual on these engines).

1995 Quantum 2+2 Kit based on XR2 1.6 petrol from Ford XR2 from UK and Ireland

Faults:

Lots of bits to increase the trim level.

Need to change the rear springs to something softer; the original XR2 ones are a little hard.

General Comments:

Good little hand built British sports car (I built it). Along similar lines as MX5, MG-F etc, but much cheaper to buy, run, insure. Wonderful to drive in summer and the hood works in winter.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th December, 1997