1987 Ford Fiesta MKII

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1987 Ford Fiesta MKII
RCR Ford Fiesta MKII Thumb.jpg
Car Details
Make Ford
Model Fiesta MkII
Year 1987
Owner Ben
Episode Details
Episode Link Watch
Season United Kingdom
Air Date July 15, 2017
Credits u/Hullian111

We drive the SO 80's Ford Fiesta MKII. Us in the USA never got this car.

NITW art by https://twitter.com/lynxgriffin


1987 Ford Fiesta Mk2.
INTRO SONG, THE ROMAN (please find original tune!)
We’re in a different country, but screw it, let’s do a Ford…
1987. This was the year America was spammed with that “This Is Your Brain on Drugs” commercial, you know that one with the eggs? And Japan went on it’s first Final Fantasy. The United Kingdom elected Margaret Thatcher for a third time, and Pennsylvania State Treasurer Budd Dwyer shot himself on live TV, scarring the minds of millions of teenagers who would watch it on the internet 20 years later with no idea what they were in for, AND FORD WHIPPED OUT HIS BALLS, DROPPED THEM ON THE TABLE AND NAMED THEM ‘FORD FIESTA’ AND ‘MARK 2’.

This Fiesta runs on the Ford Kent engine, which was Ford Europe’s internal combustion engine developed from the Ford Anglia all the way back in 1959. That ran until the fifth-generation Fiesta replaced it with the Duratec E engine in 2002. The Kent name originates here in the UK from Kent County, where Ford had a plant, and it came in three different varieties: the pre-crossflow Kent; the standard crossflow, and the traverse-mounted Valencia option. Of these three engine variants, the Mk2 Fiesta only offered the Valencia, it’s transverse, it’s front-wheel-drive.

This is the 1100CC option or 1.1 litres, with a four-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive. Modifications include… I guess this is a modification, it’s a K&N air… filter just screwed onto the top of the carburettor; it’s got a tailgate and foglamps from the Mk1; a set of XR2 wheels, and an aftermarket radio to replace the ancient push-button radio of the original, because the radio is the only way to keep up to date on what you hate in the digital era.

*in a high-pitched, almost-unintelligible voice* I've got a brand-new pair of roller skates, you got a brand new key! This is my falsetto voice!
[TEXT: This is my falsetto voice.]

*laughter* So story time: Ben’s dad bought this car for Ben 10 years ago, as a car for him to cut his teeth on. And he heard of a lot about mechanics on this car since then, as a matter of necessity. Even now, there are loads of issues with the Fiesta: the window jams partway down, and you can’t put the heater on past two, because it’ll start to melt the fuse box. There’s also ECU… I don’t think, I mean it may have some sort of circuit board controlling something, but its all relays and vacuum lines calling the shots in there.

But like a haircut that’s only perfect for a day before you go back to Joey Five Barbers on Pike Street, the Fiesta decides to run beautifully whenever Ben considers selling it, and when you take road trips with friends or travel to Scotland or even commute to work in this car like Ben has, it’s kind of understandable why it would be hard to part with it, even in spite of its imperfections.

For my American perspective, this feels like a Volkswagen Golf from the same era. Remember: The United States didn’t get the Ford Fiesta until the sixth generation debuting in 2009. That was when us Yanks got the Fiesta for the first time, so my tactile memory, and *snort* olfactory sense says that this is a 1980s Golf, not Ford. Oh, how 80s, he even has a club!

The shift throw is long, AND AMERICAN. The engine is carburetted, LIKE AN AMERICAN CAR FROM THE 80S, but the bonnet tilts forwards. The only American car that does that patriotically is the Corvette. Why does the exhaust header have webbing? Why is there so much steering input for such a small ca- alright, right, yep, no power steering. The ratio has to be generous. 

No AC, no arm rests, four forward gears AND ALL OF THEM ARE LONG. Two doors, thin seats, no bolstering, which means your wobbling around and wondering how well this seat belt is going to keep you in place in the event of a crash. And man, these doors are thin. I know it’s a small car, but a Volkswagen Golf FEELS DENSE and secure. This, I’m wondering ow far the other car will force itself into this cabin in a t-bone accident. Remember the Stagea from last week? That thing was secure. This Mk2 Fiesta, hmm, this feels like a step above a 2CV. 

No tachometer, and no rev limiter! And you have one less forward gear than you’re used to, which means you have to hang into those gears longer and higher, just to merge onto the motorway, I- I mean Ben says, “It’ll do 70, but it’s screaming away when it does it!” But I’m having more fun in this than I was in the Alfa Romeo Mito, because the Alfa Romeo Mito promises you a sorority girl parade and they all have their pants down, but what you get is Beatrice Santello exhaling menthol smoke in your face.

But a Mk2 Fiesta promises you nothing but an empty lot, and what you get is a knife fight with Gregory Lee atop a fallen tree. And who do you really wanna hang out with? It’s possible, it’s dangerous, it’s unpredictable, this car’s bipolar! It’s fun! But it is austerity, yeah, isn’t it? Austerity on the inside. UK in the Thatcher years. I don’t know what that was like, but I guess it’s kind of like being in here. 

I would have loved to experience that – when a Perfecto motorcycle jacket meant something DANGEROUS. When friendships were formed through adversity, and long train rides just to go to a music store, and knocking on your friend’s house, because no-one had cell phones. And making do with the friends that you have, friends by proximity. But the best parts of your friends are their flaws, like most of the cars we’ve done in the UK so far this season, and while something like the Rover 75 carries a classier, musky-old mystique, the Fiesta puts forth an image of simplicity, earned simplicity. It’s got a straightforward appeal, even down to the engineering level, since it’s easy for Ben to fix this, and he doesn’t have any trouble finding serviceable parts for it, although trim pieces can be more difficult.

Regardless, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have a car this simple. Heck, I love the Honda Civic EH2. Any cars that’s simple and you can keep working is worth the effort, but then the question is whether not it’s worth it from a cost-benefit standpoint – you’re basically roaring around town in a car as engine as loud as Uncle William loaded up on Stella and Catholicism, and when you need people to get the hell out of your way on the M6, well your horn squawks at them, like Gilbert Gottfried getting a Prince Albert, or Truman Capote after three espressos. 

For as much character as the Ford Fiesta Mk2 might have, it runs the risk of annoying that certain class of people who just want these sorts of cars off the road. The type of people who view anything pre-1995 with suspicious awe. The expectation that their children, or their children’s children, won’t know safety until these types of things are developing rust in a scrapheap in the middle of Scotland. So, it really does require that the person owning a Mk2 Fiesta really cares about it, because it’s too easy to let a car like this fall quickly into disrepair, and when that happens, it can be a long walk to restoration, and there’s that cost-benefit analysis again.

These type of late-80s cars, I notice, are very simpler to stuff like Ford Fairmonts in the US. They’re coo- they’re cool, they’re hip, they’re old, you know someone who owned one, but do you want to sink money into making this a daily, because you have to go all in, because these cars aren’t perfect.

The Ford Fiesta is a gigantic middle finger to the father who is cheap with hugs, but rich with discouragement. The Ford Fiesta is the “yes I can, and yes I will” in a sea of “you will never”s. Stick with a car. Put in the work, and she may give you more than anyone ever expected.
Yes, there is a party but Fiesta’s not a party,
Add a little colour and the car will look like arty,
The strongest man in the world… Yeah, sorry, that’s all I got.