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The History Of The Ford Fiesta “ Still Motoring Hard After 40 Years

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The History Of The Ford Fiesta “ Still Motoring Hard After 40 Years

It will be 40 years next year since the Ford Fiesta first went into production but latest figures show it is still the best-selling car in the UK by some distance.

Ford shifted 8,674 new Fiestas in January 2015 according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT),1,795 more than its nearest rival, the Vauxhall Corsa. 

At Sell Your Jamjar, we thought we would take a look at the six generations of Fiesta to see how the car has changed from when it was first launched in 1976 up to present day.

The first generation (1976-1983) right-hand drive Ford Fiestas did not go on sale in England until 1977 after first being made available in France and Germany. The car itself – which was nearly called the Bravo - was first developed in 1972 with the aim of it being longer than the comparable Fiat 127 and Renault 5 but shorter than that of Ford's Escort.

It is widely recognised as Ford’s first multi-national front-wheel drive car with the starting price for the 950cc three-door hatchback model starting from just £1,856. The Fiesta was the second hatchback mini-car to be manufactured in the UK just 12 months after Vauxhall launched the Chevette but, by 1979, Ford had already sold its millionth car.

The Fiesta, which was produced in Dagenham and Saarlouis and Cologne in Germany, used a four-speed manual transmission gearbox of the Ford BC Series which was mounted to an updated version of the Ford Kent OHV engine and it used coil springs instead of torsion bars in the suspension. The rear suspension used a beam axle - an anti-roll bar was included in the sports package - with all Mark One Fiestas featuring 12-inch wheels as standard. 

It remained in production for seven years before the second generation (1983-1989) Fiesta appeared with revised front end and interior, redesigned boot lid and different dashboard. Ford also introduced a 1600cc diesel version of the Fiesta for the first time and an XR2 1600 (96 bhp) version.

In 1989, the Mark III (1989-1997) was unveiled and looked radically different from the previous two generation cars as the live beam rear axle was changed for a semi-independent torsion beam arrangement and the running gear was improved. When the Mark VI (1995-1999) was introduced, the third generation version was still sold for another two years with it remarketed as the 'Fiesta Classic'.

The fourth generation Fiesta saw a new suspension system which improved its handling abilities, new Zetec-SE engines and new interior and exterior enhancements. It underwent a minor facelift (1999-2002) with the front redesigned to look more like the Ford Focus with new bumpers and revised wheels.

The Mark V (2002-2008) version was released and for the first time included anti-lock braking system (ABS) and passenger airbags as standard before a facelift in 2005 saw the exterior improved.

Next to follow was the sixth generation (2008 - present), the current Fiesta, which was built to meet the demands of smaller and more fuel efficient cars - it had a facelift in 2013 with lots of extras such panoramic glass roof, LED headlamps, integrated tailgate spoiler, 12-spoke alloy wheels and multimedia equipment added. 

Certainly, Ford has proved time and again that by consistently upgrading and improving the Fiesta it has continued to remain close to people’s hearts. Now after motoring up and down our roads for nearly four decades there seems no end in sight for the popular car.

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