Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: 1980 Ford Fiesta 1.3 Ghia

Here’s a sight I’ve missed on our streets for a few years now. My last gen1 Fiesta sighting was in 2016, when I shot one on the go. I suspect the guy may still have it, but doesn’t drive it much. Or maybe…

Roshake found this nice example on the streets of Budapest; it’s a 1.3, a version that never made it to the US, where only the 1.6 was available. There were also a 1.0 and 1.1 liter versions; these were the more compact “Valencia” engines, with a shortened block and other changes. The 1.3 and 1.6 were the “Crossflow” versions of the Kent engine.

It’s very compact for modern standards; only 140″ (3.565 m) long. Makes for a perfect city car.

Obviously the Fiesta’s trajectories in Europe and the US were quite different. It became the first in a long line of successful “B” class cars bearing that name from Ford, whereas in the US it was sold only for three years (1978-1980) before being replaced by the NA-version Ford Escort. Given the 1981 Escort’s feeble performance and clumsy handling, that was a bitter pill to swallow, since the Fiesta excelled on both accounts.

It was obviously just a stop-gap before the Escort was ready, but it quickly developed a rep for being one very fun to drive little car. I had some seat time, and can confirm that fully.

Nice to see one still in regular service.


My full CC on the Fiesta is here