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

We embark on the important and world-wide tale of a subcompact hatchback nowadays. Your creator referenced it last week in Aspect I of our Kia significant cars collection, and now it is time for the promised complete Rare Rides protection! Made in different areas all over the environment, our subject motor vehicle lived a extended lifestyle and had no fewer than 10 identities about its amazing 17-year span. We’re heading to celebration, karamu, Festiva, permanently.

The Festiva’s tale started out in the Seventies, as Ford amplified its ownership stake in welcoming and healthful Japanese automaker, Mazda. The two companies’ romantic relationship started in the latter portion of that 10 years. Mazda had been in a tough place financially due to the fact the Sixties, and Ford bought its possession on the inexpensive. Ford’s first investment was a paltry 7 p.c stake in the Hiroshima organization.

The romance deepened in 1979 when Ford poured in some a lot more money and lifted their stake in Mazda to 24.5 percent. The timing transpired to align for both of those providers with regard to an all-new subcompact featuring, as Ford’s merchandise was outdated and Mazda had some totally free structure capability.

As much as Ford was involved, subcompact offerings ended up split into the Pinto for the North American market, and the Fiesta for Europe and other locations. The Pinto experienced a horrible track record and was near the end of its everyday living right after currently being on sale since 1971.

The West German and United kingdom-produced Fiesta was a little bit newer, but would not final a great deal lengthier in its 1st-gen Seventies guise. On sale due to the fact 1976, German illustrations were out there in North America among 1978 and 1980. The very first Fiesta was commonly well-been given, specifically in North America for the reason that the Pinto alternative was crap.

The Fiesta continued in output by way of 1983 in its first edition, before it was replaced by the Fiesta Mark II. But that Fiesta, like the to start with, was additional for European consumption and would not work as a planet car as well as anything purpose-designed. Keep that imagined.

Above at Mazda, there was only one subcompact vehicle in the company’s record, and it was only this kind of on a technicality. Known as the Carol 600, the coupe and sedan ended up marginally more substantial variations of the Kei R360 coupe, which was also marketed as the Carol. Its 600 identify was thanks to its 586-cc engine, and it graduated from Kei to subcompact mainly because it experienced bigger bumpers. Inside of, the area was the same as the scaled-down car or truck.

The “larger” Carol 600 was of a higher tax bracket and proved unpopular mainly because it made available no benefits around the Kei model other than a bigger engine. The 600 was on sale for two model yrs in advance of it was pulled from production, with about 8,800 examples sold. Mazda didn’t make one more subcompact until finally 1986. Back to Ford.

Given the Pinto was performed and the Fiesta was not intended for North American usage, Ford would go with out a subcompact giving for a few a long time. In 1981 the compact Escort grew to become the substitute for the subcompact Pinto, which had straddled the dimension classes with how huge it was. The substitution for the Fiesta in North The usa would be a true subcompact.

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

Products need analyzed, Ford approached Mazda with its appreciable early Eighties possession stake and directed the Hiroshima individuals to build a new subcompact auto. The identify Ford picked was Festiva, definitely in hopes the status and results of the extant and equally named Fiesta would rub off on its new import. The resultant Mazda-designed trip was a sensible, sq., a few-doorway hatchback form.

However it wore a Ford badge, it was straight away distinct the Festiva was a Japanese structure. Its over-all concept was “practical box.” An unadorned fascia offered two square composite headlamps, which have been flush with the grille and used amber corner markers. The grille concerning was overall body-coloured and featured a incredibly straightforward singular bar with a Ford emblem in the heart. The bumper was completed in a grey rubber (or overall body-colored on increased trims) and experienced almost no decoration other than two transform indicator lamps.

The hood experienced minimum decoration and only a modest electricity bulge that tapered off just before the primary edge at the grille. The higher 50 % of the Festiva’s hood had a one lifted depth, in the kind of a centrally-put black plastic windshield sprayer nozzle.

Fenders featured a solitary character line that ran straight to the stop of the quick body. It was interrupted by a incredibly noticeable fuel doorway on the driver’s facet, and a black doorway manage that was pulled from the Ranger. Side rub strips continued from front to rear wheel nicely and showcased a contrasting tape stripe within them. They have been black on reduced-end designs, but overall body-colored if a far more zesty trim.

At the rear, the tall greenhouse met with a straightforward rear hatch for most practicality and visibility. Pillars all all around had been skinny, a nod to the relatively lax crash safety specifications of the Eighties. There was very little adornment at the rear, just a straightforward set of badges, a rear wiper, and a bumper with a cutout for the little tailpipe.

As one may hope on these types of a class of motor vehicle, the Festiva’s inside was constructed to a rate and utilized a much less is far more style concept. In entrance of the driver was a two-spoke Mazda steering wheel, and outside of a pretty straightforward established of gauges. Speedometer, temperature, and gasoline have been the only gauges supplied. No tachometer was current, even with a manual transmission. In other places, the cabin had incredibly basic HVAC sliders, a very straightforward stereo, and no center console. Among the flat bucket seats was the shifter and parking brake, and very little else.

The Festiva’s seats were being fairly unadorned, though some examples employed a lot more upmarket ribbed velour as their seating materials. Doorway panels were being similarly very simple, lined with a least quantity of padding, and completed largely in vinyl. Seat belts ended up everyone’s least favored type: Automated and connected to the doorway for the shoulder, with a handbook lap belt. In common, consolation and usefulness functions had been kept at a minimum, in get to make certain the lowest pricing possible.

There’s not a ton still left to say about the exterior and inside styling of the tremendous simplistic Festiva. We’ll wrap up there, and learn about the Festiva’s engineering and mechanicals in Portion II. We’ll also deal with its vital earth debut.

[Images: Ford, YouTube]

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