Monday, August 23, 2010

1980 Ford Fiesta S - German and Fun, Rare and Unknown

How cool are these cars? Very cool. It's a shame that here in the US they never got the recognition they deserved.

Back in the early 1980s I was working for a music distributor in upstate New York. The general manager of the place was a "car guy". He owned a TR6, a BMW 2002tii and a Ford Fiesta S. His favorite? The Fiesta.

The Fiesta was built in several countries and here in the US we got our Fiesta from Germany. It came with a 1600cc version of Ford's "Kent" engine. It made the car quicker than most people expected it to be. 60 MPH came in around 10.5 seconds, making it almost a full second quicker than a 1980 VW Rabbit. (To put that in perspective against a couple of other 1980 "economy cars", a Toyota Tercel took 14.8 seconds to reach 60 and a Honda Civic took 11.2 seconds.)

The Fiesta sold extremely well in Europe, but was not as successful here. It lasted only 3 years and was replaced in the US lineup by the completely forgettable US built Escort. (Which was successful. Go figure.)

German car fans tended to ignore the Fiesta because of its Ford badge. Most Fiestas were bought by people looking for a cheap, economical car. They'd run them until they died and then send them off to the junkyard. Few of these fun little cars survive today.

This car is a survivor. It needs some minor work, but it wouldn't take much time or money to turn into a very nice driver.

The body has a few minor dings and dents, but no serious rust or damage. The interior is complete, but the seller says the "drivers seat upholstery is dirty and needs cleaning". The engine had a top end rebuild about 5000 miles ago. The emissions equipment is off the car and, depending on where you live, it may have to be reinstalled and is included with the car. There are plenty of spare parts the go along with the car, too. They include a transaxle, cylinder head, intake manifold, carburetor, air cleaner, valve cover, radiator and shroud, pistons and rods, radio, interior parts and rims. A custom tow bar is also included.

The seller adds a scary comment at the end of his ad... "Note: because of the light body, this would be a good donor car for electric conversion." No it wouldn't be! This car deserves to be back on the road in all its fossil fuel sipping (30+ MPG) glory.

Located in Vacaville, CA, click here to see the listing on the seller's personal website.

A big thanks to John for sending me the link to this car.


Richard said...

My grandfather owned one of these, actually it was a 79, green and had the 1.3l but everything else including the interior and rims were exactly the same. They are everywhere on the roads in the UK, reliability and handling for all years is very good. We were also lucky to get the sporty XR2, XR2i, RS1800 and the rare RS Turbo.

I am very tempted by this car....I really want a Mk1 Fiesta...but the price is just too high for me especially once you factor in the work to get it on a California road and tidy up some of the dings. Its a crying shame anyone should consider this for an EV project, but I don't think it ever will get to that, as a donor car its far too expensive.

Bill said...

these also make very good Improved Touring C Race cars as well!

pickles said...

Dang. This is the 'other' car I alway look for. Either this or a LeCar/R5. I totally dig the first Fiesta.. and the 'S' is rare, just by virtue of being a Fiesta at all. I haven't seen one for sale in eons. My brother had a base model- loved it, till, if I recall correctly, he needed a new clutch and the whole engine had to be removed. If it wasn't the clutch- maybe it was the spark plugs. Anyway, this is a cool car- thanks for posting!

Matt H said...

My first car was a 1980 Fiesta with a 4-speed stick. It spontaneously combusted while I was in college and I had to sell it to the junkyard for $20. So sad. I really loved that car.

Unknown said...

Oh my God! This is a splitting image of the one I had in college. Right down to the color, stripe, and interior.

Adam Hoster said...

Yes, of course at some time these cars were the most popular in the auto industry but with the advancement of technology gradually they got lost. It is one of the initial models of the Ford and may be it is still there with some of the senior citizens. Thanks for adding a great discussion on these cars. If we will compare the cars of now then we will see a huge difference not just in look but in features also. But one thing will always remain the same that is the maintenance. Even though it has been much advanced but without proper maintenance, no vehicle will last for a long time.