1982 Ford Laser KA 1.3 carburettor from Australia and New Zealand


Reliable, compact runabout


Brake Master Cylinder needed replacement.

Rubber grommets on top of engine where screws hold down engine cover leaked oil.

Dashboard rattled.

Poor airflow on driver-side windscreen demister.

Stitching and vinyl on front seats badly deteriorated due to ultraviolet exposure.

Lack of vacuum in a particular hose meant the engine timing did not automatically advance (no obvious fix).

Choke lever inside cabin would spring back automatically, and had to be held in place by hand or with an object on cold mornings.

General Comments:

I bought a white KA 1.3L Laser with around 150,000km on the odometer. The car was around its use-by date at this stage, but I still got almost 50,000 km and four years of mostly trouble-free motoring. It was underpowered, but not badly so. It didn't have enough power to get into fourth gear up steep inclines (such as the Southern Expressway in Adelaide) and do 90km/h like the rest of the cars. I had to stay in third gear and do around 75-80km/h.

The gearing was good so despite the lack of power the steepest of hills could still be climbed, albeit at a slower pace.

The car had good storage space, with the rear seats folded down I could transport a lawnmower or a computer desk (unassembled) in the back. It was a well designed car thanks to Mazda and the build quality, although not great, was satisfactory. I didn't learn until after a few years that the car was assembled in Australia, which explained the number of Lasers on the road. Parts were plentiful and fairly easy to find eg. at Kmart, as the car was common.

I wouldn't mind owning a Laser again although next time it would be a 1.5L KB or a 1.6L second-generation KC.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd March, 2005

1982 Ford Laser 1.5L twin carb from Australia and New Zealand


Sporty little car, and quite versatile


Alternator had to be replaced.

Radiator packed it in.

1.3L engine was stuffed.

Replaced all tyres with lower-profile, wider ones (didn't trust the skinny ones that were on it when I bought it).

Speedo stopped working.

Battery had to be replaced.

Constantly had problems with the timing. Backfired and missed a lot (1.3L engine).

General Comments:

This car was in really bad condition when I bought it, and it had many things wrong with it. Once I sorted these things out, it was an amazing car.

When I first bought the car, it had a 1.3L engine with a 4 speed gearbox. Performance was poor, and it was just about stuffed, so I purchased a 1984 Mazda 323 for $300, and replaced the engine with the 1.5L twin carb and 5 speed manual gearbox. I also replaced the tail lights with KB ones as I liked the look of them better.

The gearstick in this model laser is really sloppy (has a lot of movement), but this can be fixed easily by replacing the gear selector rod bushes.

The 1.5L twin carb engine outperformed the 1.3L in every way. I would recommend steering clear of the 1.3L versions, as they are underpowered, and struggle under a full load of passengers.

The top speed I got it up to with one of my mates in the car, was 175km an hour (over a very long stretch of highway).

While the 1.5L was one ball-tearing little engine, you really had to kick it in the guts in order to get anywhere fast. I always over-revved

it to get it going from a standstill; it was a good feeling. I once took on a girl in a 95 Hyundai Excel, and was put to shame, but hey, my Laser was like 15 years older. I especially liked driving this on dirt roads, though I wouldn't recommend doing this at higher speeds.

Seats were fairly comfortable, and all the dials and everything were very well placed. Boot space was very limited though, especially with a 12" sub, amp, and a parcel tray in the back.

I loved my Laser, as it was very sporty, and felt good to drive. It held corners incredibly well at high speeds. It looked great after I put Mazda 323 mags and a rear spoiler on it, and gave it a new paint job.

The life of my Laser ended tragically when I wrote it off by rolling it. Though the engine now lives on in someone else's car... may it never die!

I would recommend getting a KB Laser over a KA, as they look much better. Also I would only recommend getting one of these cars if you get the 1.5L twin carb version with a 5 speed gearbox. Definitely do not get one with an automatic or 4 speed gearbox in it!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st August, 2004

15th Nov 2004, 22:21

I personally have a 1982 1.5L 5 speed manual KA Laser Ghia and it has been a wonderful car. It has had only one owner and has never broken down in its 22 years of life. It has done about 235 000 km and apart from the usual wear and tear that is expected I have had no problems. I agree that the 1.3 litre is a little underpowered.

As for the KA not looking as good as the KB, I beg to differ. I do not like the styling of the KB, however the Ghia that I have does have extra trimmings etc over the GL and L models.

Overall, I agree that they are a great little car, and has served well, and will hopefully do so for a few years yet.