1989 Ford Festiva L 1.3L from North America


Fun and economical car, although old enough parts are less easy to find


When I bought it, completely went through stuff like clutch, seals, timing belt, brakes, ball joints, CV boots, etc.

Started pushing lots oil out valve cover PCV breather into air cleaner. Assume something like a broken ring, but never disassembled it. These engines expensive to do internal repairs, cheap used engine usually better choice.

Bought low mile Japanese Mazda B6 to replace the OEM Mazda B3. They are physically identical and B6 bolts right in.

Also replaced the troublesome feedback carburetor with an old aftermarket Weber that I saved from VW Rabbit I used to own many years ago. Much more pleasant to tinker with, and I can now change oil filter without crawling under the car. It got rid of that much tubing and electric gizmos.

Oh, and I replaced the rear springs with same diameter front springs off some kind of old Triumph. Rides rougher, but I needed to be able to haul several bags dog and cat food without bottoming out.

General Comments:

Overall it's as close as you can come to a road legal go-kart, and wonderful in city traffic. Especially peppy with its "new" 1.6L engine and the Weber carburetor.

Very efficient body design, like the little shelf type dash.

Like the low sill when you open the hatch.

Wish it had the 5 spd overdrive transaxle, the 4 spd is not so good at highway speeds. Not a hard swap, just haven't run across a cheap Festiva 5 spd transmission.

The 12 inch tires are impossible to find, and expensive if you special order them. I switched to 155-80-13s using Mazda 323 wheels from junkyard. They only stand about inch taller and change gear ratio about 4% so not much difference. Geo Metro wheels are supposed to fit also, and I'm sure there are others.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th September, 2009

12th Sep 2009, 00:12

I bet 13 inch wheels off a Ford Aspire would fit too.

8th Sep 2010, 21:13

You can get the original tires made by today's standards from a place called Coker Tire in Chattanooga Tn. They have the old molds or something and usually sell for about $36 each.

1989 Ford Festiva L 1.3L EFI from North America


Cheap, reliable and no frills


Replaced fan temp sensor, coolant bypass hose, headliner, and a headlight bulb.

Starter is beginning to go out.

Stalled out when put into Park or Reverse due to dirty battery terminals.

General Comments:

This one tough little car. I paid $500 for it and maybe invested $50 total in parts. So far it has given me zero trouble - all work I have done was preventative maintenance.

It's really peppy, gets decent gas mileage, and was a great buy for the money. And it still looks great after 20 years.

My only real complaints are that it's noisy and the transmission could really use an overdrive gear. But what can you expect from an economy car?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th May, 2009

27th Aug 2009, 21:32

This the person who wrote the review. Here is a followup:

I ended up taking out the starter, only to discover that it was fine and the flywheel was missing some teeth. I guess that's just an annoyance I'll have to live with.

The radiator has started to leak coolant. However, it looks like a rubber plug has gone bad and will need replacing. Should be an easy fix.

After about a year of ownership and 10,000 miles, I still have no real complaints about my car. I'm confident that it will keep on running reliably as long as I take care of it.

1989 Ford Festiva L from North America


Pass this car up


Body has 223K on it.

Engine has 40K.

Break lines rotted through.

Gas lines and tank rotted through.

Under body of this car is shot.

Exhaust is shot muffler flakes huge pieces of metal.

Slow acceleration.

Heater core is shot.

Car runs hot and Idles high.

Scrapers do not even want it, too light and to much of a pain to drop gas tank as I have found out through personal experience.

General Comments:

Good on gas but rot away fast.

Sad to see it die after 2 monthes of ownership 600 down the drain.

Sits in driveway jacked up.

Old engine died with 195K which is decent, but the cars rot out terrible and are not worth a dime to any one.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 22nd April, 2008

10th Nov 2011, 18:36

I live in an area that uses a lot of salt on the roads in winter, and know the problem of which you speak. My LX started life as a southern car, and therefore doesn't have the rust issues you experienced. Would like to add that 20 some year old Toyotas, Hondas, Fords, or what have you all have rust issues here. People are amazed at the condition of my little '89 when told how old it is. Think the problem with yours is the environment and not the vehicle. True, I paste wax it once a year, including under the rockers and flush the wheel wells out every so often when the temp gets above freezing in the winter, but I've had her for four winters now, and she shows no sign of rot. Just something you have to do if you want it to live, and no less important than changing the oil.