Of all the rapturous delights featured here, this was the one that caused the most raised eyebrows. Yes, it’s 24 years old. And yes, it’s slow and feels to be made of tin foil and cheesecloth.
But the Fiesta XR2 is a forgotten high in hot hatch history, and a day spent pedalling this Mk2 car over the finest Welsh B-roads proves that we were right to bring it with us. Oh, so right.
The XR2 delivers a sense of involvement from the moment you get behind the art-deco steering wheel. With no assisted steering, ABS or ESP, it has a direct line to your fingertips and your tweed-ensconced behind, and that makes it rewarding in a car park, never mind on the open road.
Today’s safety standards are a modern miracle, but an enthusiast can’t experience cars like the XR2 without yearning just a little for the days when motoring was unencumbered by safety aids and additional weight. It wasn’t even remotely frustrating to watch the rest of our convoy disappear into the distance every time we set off. Speed is secondary to fun when it comes to narrow, muddy and damp roads.