1988 Ford Festiva LX from North America


I bought the car for $300 because it would not start. Got it home & replaced the distributor cap; started right up & ran just fine.

The first thing I did to the car was spray used motor oil under the whole bottom. Then got on a dirt road at 45 to 50 mph, & got the dust up on the oil. Then put racing plugs & wires, K&N air system, a $60 power chip, then sprayed WD-40 on the plugs, plug wires, and inside the distributor cap. Then put ceramic brakes on the front of the car. Also 13" wheels & tires from a Dodge Vista wagon.

Also changed oil filter, put Lucas heavy duty oil stabilizer in the oil, Lucas trans. treatment in the transaxle, and Lucas fuel treatment in every full tank of gas.

Replaced rear wheel bearings 3 times, tires 5 times. Have changed the oil & filter every 3000 miles. Timing belts 3 times, alternator belts 4 times, distributor cap once.

One of the best cars I have ever owned.

General Comments:

The seats are not very good; I put S-10 Chevy truck seats in.

Brakes need to be upgraded also.

At 6' 3" tall & 350+ lbs, I can't believe how much room there is in these cars.

With the chip installed, the car has 100 HP, & it really peps it up a lot. On the 4 lane at 60 mph, I can get 50 MPG. Very small gas tank - only 10 gallons.

Mufflers don't last long, so I've got have a lifetime one put on. Also the same with the brakes, rotors, struts, shocks, starters, & so on, because in the long run it will save you a lot of money.

This was my first Festiva, & my wife & daughters love this car as much as I do.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd April, 2013

25th Apr 2013, 11:41

Why did you put used motor oil and then dust on the bottom of the car? I'm guessing some kind of rust protection? What does the dust do, make the oil stay on?

26th May 2014, 05:25

The dust from the dirt road & oil has always worked, an 80 year old who ran a garage told me, and I've done it.

21st Mar 2019, 09:20

Ps. If you put oil on and dust on it's like a cheap Ziebart.

If you do this to any 1988 to 1993 Festiva two times per year, it stops most if not all rusting. Do not knock it unless you've tried it.

28th Aug 2019, 14:12

I know this is old but... How easy was the seat swap? I just got a free '88 LX, but at 6'2" and 300 lbs, they are the weak link for me.


1988 Ford Festiva L 1.3 carb from North America


My favorite out of the 25 cars I've owned


When I purchased the car, it needed all new brakes, calipers, struts, wheel bearings, and a few brake lines, and all new tires (fixed all this over a weekend for $500). This was all due to sitting for many years.

The #2 spark plug was ejected from the head due to stripping out (fixed with a re threading kit for $15, and 20 minutes).

Alternator quit around 70K, fixed with a new alternator, but due to this hard to find part, it took me a week to acquire. Luckily I got it for free :) HR removal, 1 hour install.

Most recently on a 0 degree day, the driver's side door handle snapped off. For about 2 days I opened the door from the inside, going through the passenger door. Then I realized you can just use a key ring to open the door (may not work for everyone LOL).

General Comments:

I've owned 25 cars. This one I got 8 cars ago, and since then I've had a Mustang, rotary Corolla, VR6 Jetta, RX7, G35 coupe, Honda Fit, and a Turbo Festiva. All the others have sold besides the Fit. I like this Festiva so much, I can't part with it.

Parts are extremely cheap, and last forever, excluding wheel bearings; they last about 15k miles because of the small 12" tires.

I have more love for this car than any of the others I've owned. In the summer I get about 40ish mpg in the city, and have done road tests (at 50mph) and achieved just shy of 60mpg. FROM A CARBURATED CAR THIS IS AMAZING.

I drove it without the alternator for 2 weeks. Bump, or hill starting it. The car is so light, you can put your foot out and push if on level ground. I'm always looking for another one in good condition.

Love this car.



Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th February, 2011

11th Feb 2011, 20:45

FYI, it's manufactured by KIA.