1978 Ford Fiesta L 1.1 petrol from UK and Ireland


Cheap and cheerful


Rust. It's everywhere, except (surprisingly) in the usual rot area for an old Ford - the tops of the front suspension struts. There are holes at the bottoms of the front wings, the edges of the wheelarches, and around the headlights. Plus surface rust on the door and tailgate bottoms.

Dark blue paint (Midnight Blue I believe is the correct Ford name for this delightful shade) has gone milky, hopefully a bit of T-Cut will sort this out. Main thing that lets the car down looks-wise are the rusty wheels, a can of silver paint and some sandpaper should sort that out.

Choke doesn't seem to operate and the car revs quite highly, which would indicate the choke cable is slack, leaving the choke fully on.

Passenger side window winder has stripped some teeth.

Sun has bleached the top of the back seat and caused the fabric to split.

Dashboard panel lights have died. And the speedometer glass has gone milky, so it's difficult to judge speed between 40-60mph.

General Comments:

My first Ford, my first small car, my first in a year with front wheel drive, too.

Bought from an online auction for £100, with 2 months road tax and 8 months MOT. Hence I can't really complain about the bodywork condition. It only needs to last for a couple of months, anyhow. Underneath seems OK, and the chrome bumpers are excellent. Original metal numberplates too!

Only 2 previous owners, the original one having the car for 22 years. No service history when I bought the car though, so thanks to the silly Ford 5-digit odometer I can't tell whether the mileage is really 20,500 or 120,500. The lack of wear on the seats, steering wheel and pedal rubbers would indicate the former.

You can see why everyone loves these cars - they are so easy to drive. Very precise gearchange, light clutch and steering. Performance isn't bad all things considered, but this thing has a quarter of the power of my last car, a BMW 528i. The brakes don't inspire much confidence, despite finding a servo in the engine bay.

Mind you, 20-odd years ago, basic cars really were basic - no radio, no rear fog light, no cigarette lighter, no tripmeter, no glovebox, not even a nearside door mirror. Mind you, the "L" spec at least meant reclining seats, a heated rear window and hazard lights.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th June, 2002

28th Feb 2005, 10:26

I think it wil have done 120,000 miles if not 220,000 if that's possible for a ford engine:)

21st Jan 2006, 23:16

My 1978 Ford Fiesta was nearly indestructible... until a GMC full size pickup truck decided to rear end me and "eat" the back end of the car. My Fiesta was a perfect college-kids car... cheap, reliable, good gas mileage and never asked for much upkeep or repairs. I had 145,000 miles on the engine and it was still running strong. Sure, the 1.6L Fiesta ticked like a sewing machine with its mechanical lifters, but this engine was FIERCE in its power and reliability. Not sure why the US execs decided to give us the lousy Mazda-derived Festiva as a replacement in the US, when Europe still enjoys Fiesta to this day. My only complaint was the typically no-good German electrical snafus that plagued the heater/climate control... but at 145,000 reliable miles who the hell was complaining? Nice car. Hey, Ford, if you still built cars like this, you wouldn't be having troubles!

1978 Ford Fiesta Sport 1.6 from North America


Nothing has gone wrong, so far.

General Comments:

When I got this car from Canada, it had less than 70,000 miles on it. Everything works and continues to work. Importing it was a red tape nightmare, however, during which Ford of North America revealed itself to be utterly incompetent. It took Dearborn three months to figure out that the Fiesta was made in Europe, even though I kept telling them that! This is my fifth Ford (the others included a Mustang and a Cortina) and the reason I say I'm not sure if I would buy another Ford is that now I'm aware of what a completely dysfunctional corporation it is. As for the car, it has yet to give me any trouble. My only complaint would be that it's rather underpowered for climbing mountain passes.

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

Review Date: 24th January, 1999

6th Aug 2001, 07:21

Please Help!!! My name is Steven Schwartz and I just bought a 1978 Ford Fiesta in Canada, not knowing it would be such a nightmare to get over. I called customs before I bought it to see what needed to be done. They told me that if it did not have the proper stickers on it, then I needed a letter from Ford. Well, I verified that it had all the proper stickers (E.P.A. and FMVSS) and then bought it. They then would not let me over the border without the letter anyway. My car is stuck in Canada and I'm going back to North Carolina on Thursday. If you still have the letter that you got for your Fiesta, maybe you could send me a copy or maybe you have some contacts or helpful hints for me. Any help would be extremely helpful.


1978 Ford Fiesta L 1.1 petrol from UK and Ireland


Rusting, fuel cutoff hose loose, dodgy plugs and other minor problems.

General Comments:

Despite what people think, old Fiestas aren't that bad. Its quite nippy, costs nothing to run and repair, and always starts. Costs nothing to buy, too!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd October, 1997