The Ford Festiva, a Subcompact and Worldwide Kia by Mazda (Part I)


We embark on the vital and international tale of a subcompact hatchback these days. Your writer referenced it past week in Aspect I of our Kia significant automobiles collection, and now it’s time for the promised detailed Rare Rides protection! Made in several sites close to the environment, our issue vehicle lived a prolonged daily life and experienced no much less than 10 identities about its outstanding 17-yr span. We’re likely to party, karamu, Festiva, without end.

The Festiva’s tale started out in the Seventies, as Ford amplified its possession stake in welcoming and healthful Japanese automaker, Mazda. The two companies’ partnership started in the latter section of that ten years. Mazda had been in a rough place economically given that the Sixties, and Ford obtained its ownership on the cheap. Ford’s initial investment was a paltry seven percent stake in the Hiroshima agency.

The relationship deepened in 1979 when Ford poured in some additional hard cash and elevated their stake in Mazda to 24.5 percent. The timing took place to align for equally firms with regard to an all-new subcompact providing, as Ford’s product was out-of-date and Mazda experienced some free of charge style and design capacity.

As far as Ford was involved, subcompact offerings ended up split into the Pinto for the North American sector, and the Fiesta for Europe and other spots. The Pinto had a awful track record and was near the close of its everyday living immediately after currently being on sale given that 1971.

The West German and United kingdom-designed Fiesta was a little bit newer, but wouldn’t very last substantially for a longer time in its first-gen Seventies guise. On sale because 1976, German illustrations were obtainable in North The united states in between 1978 and 1980. The first Fiesta was usually effectively-obtained, notably in North The usa for the reason that the Pinto alternative was crap.

The Fiesta continued in generation via 1983 in its preliminary variation, before it was replaced by the Fiesta Mark II. But that Fiesta, like the 1st, was extra for European usage and would not do the job as a earth car as well as one thing purpose-made. Hold that believed.

Around at Mazda, there was only one particular subcompact motor vehicle in the company’s background, and it was only this sort of on a technicality. Referred to as the Carol 600, the coupe and sedan have been marginally larger sized versions of the Kei R360 coupe, which was also bought as the Carol. Its 600 title was thanks to its 586-cc motor, and it graduated from Kei to subcompact since it experienced bigger bumpers. Inside of, the house was the exact same as the scaled-down car or truck.

The “larger” Carol 600 was of a increased tax bracket and proved unpopular because it offered no strengths in excess of the Kei model other than a larger engine. The 600 was on sale for two product a long time before it was pulled from generation, with about 8,800 illustrations marketed. Mazda didn’t make another subcompact right until 1986. Back to Ford.

Given the Pinto was carried out and the Fiesta was not meant for North American use, Ford would go without a subcompact presenting for a few many years. In 1981 the compact Escort grew to become the substitution for the subcompact Pinto, which had straddled the dimension lessons with how substantial it was. The substitute for the Fiesta in North The us would be a true subcompact.

In Europe, the Fiesta Mark II would continue on as the smallest car on give in the supermini course, even though the European Escort was in its 3rd era and was thought of a tiny loved ones car (compact). The freshly produced subcompact would not be sold in Europe but would be bought eventually by Ford Australia to that marketplace.

Solution will need analyzed, Ford approached Mazda with its appreciable early Eighties possession stake and directed the Hiroshima individuals to create a new subcompact automobile. The title Ford picked was Festiva, absolutely in hopes the reputation and success of the extant and likewise named Fiesta would rub off on its new import. The resultant Mazda-developed experience was a realistic, sq., 3-door hatchback form.

However it wore a Ford badge, it was right away apparent the Festiva was a Japanese structure. Its all round theme was “practical box.” An unadorned fascia introduced two sq. composite headlamps, which were being flush with the grille and utilised amber corner markers. The grille in between was system-coloured and highlighted a extremely straightforward singular bar with a Ford emblem in the centre. The bumper was concluded in a gray rubber (or human body-colored on larger trims) and experienced pretty much no decoration other than two change indicator lamps.

The hood had minimal decoration and only a modest energy bulge that tapered off right before the top edge at the grille. The higher 50 % of the Festiva’s hood had a one raised element, in the variety of a centrally-placed black plastic windshield sprayer nozzle.

Fenders showcased a single character line that ran straight to the end of the limited body. It was interrupted by a very evident fuel doorway on the driver’s side, and a black door manage that was pulled from the Ranger. Aspect rub strips continued from entrance to rear wheel properly and showcased a contrasting tape stripe inside of them. They ended up black on lessen-finish versions, but body-colored if a a lot more zesty trim.

At the rear, the tall greenhouse achieved with a very simple rear hatch for utmost practicality and visibility. Pillars all all-around were being thin, a nod to the somewhat lax crash protection requirements of the Eighties. There was little adornment at the rear, just a basic established of badges, a rear wiper, and a bumper with a cutout for the tiny tailpipe.

As one particular could possibly anticipate on this kind of a class of vehicle, the Festiva’s interior was built to a price tag and utilized a much less is much more design theme. In entrance of the driver was a two-spoke Mazda steering wheel, and over and above a pretty basic set of gauges. Speedometer, temperature, and fuel were being the only gauges supplied. No tachometer was current, even with a manual transmission. In other places, the cabin experienced really basic HVAC sliders, a pretty easy stereo, and no center console. Among the flat bucket seats was the shifter and parking brake, and nothing at all else.

The Festiva’s seats were being rather unadorned, nevertheless some examples made use of more upmarket ribbed velour as their seating substance. Door panels ended up equally very simple, included with a minimum amount of money of padding, and concluded largely in vinyl. Seat belts were being everyone’s minimum beloved sort: Automated and connected to the door for the shoulder, with a manual lap belt. In standard, ease and comfort and usefulness options were retained at a minimal, in get to assure the least expensive pricing attainable.

There’s not a lot left to say about the exterior and interior styling of the tremendous simplistic Festiva. We’ll wrap up there, and discover about the Festiva’s engineering and mechanicals in Portion II. We’ll also deal with its vital entire world debut.

[Images: Ford, YouTube]

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By Kelli