1988 Ford Fiesta 1.1 from Germany


Great value, light maintenence!!


I had to replace the brake lines, and the tie rod ends when I first bought it. Since then the only problem has been a broken passenger side door handle, thanks to a drunken gorilla of a passenger one night.

General Comments:

First, I bought this car from a scrap yard. I looked it over and found the two faults listed above, and bought it for $300. That's right at 165 pounds for those in the UK. It is light blue, and has some rust on both sides of the inside walls of the hood (bonnet). I fixed these with a single can of Bondo. After grabbing some break lines from another junked Fiesta, and paying the $18 (9.86 pounds) for the new tie rod ends, the car was ready to roll.

I drive it everywhere, from France to Czech, from the Alps to the North Sea, and I've never needed roadside assistance. I average right around 165 kilometers on the Autobahns. Still no problem. It does take a bit of trying to get up to speed, but once she's in fifth gear, it a smooth ride.

I recommend late model Fiesta to anyone looking for a budget car, but be sure to look at what you're buying. I've seen a bunch of them in scrap yards, and have seen that time (or previous owners) is not as kind to some of the others.

Now a few of the quirks...

It will start on cold mornings, as long it I pull the manual choke all the way out. It will try it's hardest to roll when cold, but it requires some coaxing with the gas. As soon as I'm off, I have to push the choke back in a hair to keep it from stalling. But it gets be from home to work, even at 5 AM in the dead of winter.

It gets great gas mileage. It costs me around $13 (7.12) to fill up, and assuming I'm not flying down the Autobahn, I can make it for 2 1/2 weeks on a tank.

The oil filter on this thing irritates me. When you open the hood, there's about a third empty space, and Ford decided to put the oil filter right above the muffler, meaning if you let oil slip, the car smokes for a while.

It has little power going up hill, I know it's a 1.1 liter engine, but this is pathetic, I can drop from 130 kph to 80 on a pretty mild upgrade. I have to get to a lower gear and give her some gas sometimes just to keep up with traffic.

Overall, as long as you pay attention to what you're buying, this can be a great, fun little car to own. The parts are cheap, and maintenence is very easy. if you don't pay attention to the car you're buying.. just as in any model, the scrap yaed will beckon...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th June, 2004

1988 Ford Fiesta L 1.1 from UK and Ireland


Cheap, fun to drive, nippy bargain


Very hard to start when I first bought the car.

Barely legal tires (although not the cars fault)

Leaking sunroof.

Rust around passenger side wheel arch.

Underneath of bonnet lip heavily rusted (the bit where the bonnet is held on to the body of the car)

General Comments:

When I first got the car, it hadn't been looked after particularly well. The problems with starting were quickly rectified with new plugs and leads, and I replaced the air filter soon after.

I fixed the sunroof with some silicone sealer (although this meant the sunroof couldn't be opened.

The rust on the car was in all the usual mk2 Fiesta areas.

The car was fairly nippy around town, with good acceleration at low speeds. However overtaking on a motorway was a nightmare - a case of waiting for a good downhill slope.

The inside of the car was basic (although it had the better dashboard than the sparse popular models) and was comfortable. I am 6"3 and didn't have problems with my height.

The handling was very responsive, and light, although there was a fair amount of body roll if cornered hard.

Economy was very good - £26 or so to fill the tank up, and I would be able to get a high amount of miles from it.

At high speed (80+) the car would rattle very loudly. I only pushed the car this fast a couple of times however.

When the car was first started cold, it would (most of the time) start first time - but if you tried to move it off, it would bunny hop and then stall. To prevent this, I would either have to wait for the car to warm up a bit, or rev it a bit to get it going.

In the cold, if the choke wasn't in a precise place, the car would start idling very erratically and then stall. Therefore (especially for driving in the cold) memorising the best spot for the choke was required (for my car, pulling it fully out for starting, then pushing it in a little bit for driving was the best place). After a little while it could be pushed fully in and would run OK.

My car was white, which had plastic side trims - the underneath of this was black. I removed the Ford badge from the front and put on clear indicators - this improved the look no end. For its age I loved the look of the car.

Good amount of space in the car, for its overall size. Bit cramped in the back, and claustrophobic due to lack of windows in the back.

Small, but functional boot.

I sold this car earlier in the year (2004) and now own a Vauxhall Astra 1.4. I miss my old Fiesta as it was my first car, and was great fun. As I do a lot of motorway driving, it wasn't really ideal. Parts are so cheap though, so any new driver looking for a good sized, nippy (around town) and different car (everyone now drives Corsa's and Saxo's. ugh.) then this car should be seriously considered.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th June, 2004