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

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


We embark on the vital and international story of a subcompact hatchback immediately. Your writer referenced it final week in Half I of our Kia massive vehicles sequence, and now it’s time for the promised complete Uncommon Rides protection! Manufactured in varied locations world wide, our topic car lived an extended life and had no fewer than 10 identities over its spectacular 17-year span. We’re going to get together, karamu, Festiva, without end.

The Festiva’s story began within the Seventies, as Ford elevated its possession stake in pleasant and healthful Japanese automaker, Mazda. The 2 corporations’ relationship began within the latter a part of that decade. Mazda had been in a tough spot financially for the reason that Sixties, and Ford bought its possession on a budget. Ford’s first funding was a paltry seven p.c stake within the Hiroshima agency.

The connection deepened in 1979 when Ford poured in some additional cash and raised their stake in Mazda to 24.5 p.c. The timing occurred to align for each corporations with regard to an all-new subcompact providing, as Ford’s product was outdated and Mazda had some free design capability.

So far as Ford was involved, subcompact choices have been break up into the Pinto for the North American market, and the Fiesta for Europe and different locations. The Pinto had a horrible fame and was close to the top of its life after being on sale since 1971.

The West German and UK-made Fiesta was a bit newer, however wouldn’t final for much longer in its first-gen Seventies guise. On sale since 1976, German examples have been obtainable in North America between 1978 and 1980. The primary Fiesta was typically well-received, notably in North America as a result of the Pinto different was crap.

The Fiesta continued in manufacturing by means of 1983 in its preliminary model, earlier than it was changed by the Fiesta Mark II. However that Fiesta, like the primary, was extra for European consumption and wouldn’t work as a world automobile in addition to one thing purpose-designed. Maintain that thought.

Over at Mazda, there was just one subcompact automobile within the firm’s historical past, and it was solely such on a technicality. Referred to as the Carol 600, the coupe and sedan have been marginally bigger variations of the Kei R360 coupe, which was additionally bought because the Carol. Its 600 title was as a result of its 586-cc engine, and it graduated from Kei to subcompact as a result of it had bigger bumpers. Inside, the area was the identical because the smaller automobile.

The “bigger” Carol 600 was of a better tax bracket and proved unpopular as a result of it supplied no benefits over the Kei model apart from a bigger engine. The 600 was on sale for 2 mannequin years earlier than it was pulled from manufacturing, with about 8,800 examples bought. Mazda didn’t make one other subcompact till 1986. Again to Ford.

Given the Pinto was achieved and the Fiesta was not meant for North American consumption, Ford would go with no subcompact providing for a couple of years. In 1981 the compact Escort grew to become the alternative for the subcompact Pinto, which had straddled the dimensions courses with how massive it was. The alternative for the Fiesta in North America can be a true subcompact.

In Europe, the Fiesta Mark II would proceed because the smallest automobile on provide within the supermini class, whereas the European Escort was in its third technology and was thought-about a small household automobile (compact). The newly created subcompact wouldn’t be bought in Europe however can be bought ultimately by Ford Australia to that market.

Product want analyzed, Ford approached Mazda with its appreciable early Eighties possession stake and directed the Hiroshima people to develop a brand new subcompact automobile. The title Ford picked was Festiva, certainly in hopes the fame and success of the extant and equally named Fiesta would rub off on its new import. The resultant Mazda-developed journey was a sensible, sq., three-door hatchback form.

Although it wore a Ford badge, it was instantly clear the Festiva was a Japanese design. Its total theme was “sensible field.” An unadorned fascia offered two sq. composite headlamps, which have been flush with the grille and used amber nook markers. The grille between was body-colored and featured a quite simple singular bar with a Ford emblem within the middle. The bumper was completed in a gray rubber (or body-colored on larger trims) and had nearly no ornament apart from two flip indicator lamps.

The hood had minimal ornament and solely a modest energy bulge that tapered off earlier than the vanguard on the grille. The higher half of the Festiva’s hood had a single raised element, within the type of a centrally-placed black plastic windshield sprayer nozzle.

Fenders featured a single character line that ran straight to the top of the quick physique. It was interrupted by a really apparent gasoline door on the driving force’s aspect, and a black door deal with that was pulled from the Ranger. Facet rub strips continued from entrance to rear wheel effectively and featured a contrasting tape stripe inside them. They have been black on lower-end fashions, however body-colored if a extra zesty trim.

On the rear, the tall greenhouse met with a easy rear hatch for max practicality and visibility. Pillars throughout have been skinny, a nod to the moderately lax crash security requirements of the Eighties. There was little adornment on the rear, only a easy set of badges, a rear wiper, and a bumper with a cutout for the tiny tailpipe.

As one would possibly count on on such a category of automobile, the Festiva’s inside was constructed to a worth and utilized a much less is extra design theme. In entrance of the driving force was a two-spoke Mazda steering wheel, and past a quite simple set of gauges. Speedometer, temperature, and gasoline have been the one gauges supplied. No tachometer was current, even with a handbook transmission. Elsewhere, the cabin had quite simple HVAC sliders, a quite simple stereo, and no middle console. Between the flat bucket seats was the shifter and parking brake, and nothing else.

The Festiva’s seats have been moderately unadorned, although some examples used extra upmarket ribbed velour as their seating materials. Door panels have been equally easy, coated with a minimal quantity of padding, and completed largely in vinyl. Seat belts have been everybody’s least favourite sort: Computerized and connected to the door for the shoulder, with a handbook lap belt. Normally, consolation and comfort options have been saved at a minimal, with a purpose to make sure the lowest pricing potential.

There’s not quite a bit left to say in regards to the exterior and inside styling of the tremendous simplistic Festiva. We’ll wrap up there, and be taught in regards to the Festiva’s engineering and mechanicals in Half II. We’ll additionally cowl its vital world debut.

[Images: Ford, YouTube]

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October 2022