Wednesday, 24 December 2014

1976, Cars: Ford Fiesta MkI

On 18 October 1976 Ford of Europe officially launches the volume production of the new Ford Fiesta at its Valencia plant in Spain.

Development of the new small car started in September 1972. Several design proposals were named Iris, Beta, The Deutschlander (Ford Cologne), Mini-Mite (Ford of Britain), and the Blue Car (Carrozzeria Ghia SpA, Turin, Italy). Codenames for the Fiesta prototype included Torino, but it became Project Bobcat. The approved design came from Tom Tjaarda at Ghia. Some of the proposed names for the new car included Amigo, Bambi, Bebe, Bravo, Bolero, Cherie, Tempo, Chico, Fiesta, Forito, Metro, Pony and Sierra. Despite more board votes for "Bravo", Henry Ford II personally overruled them and named the car "Fiesta". The Ford Fiesta was launched in France and Germany in September 1976 and in January 1977 in the UK.
Ford Fiesta Prototype: Mini-Mite circa 1972
Ford Fiesta Prototype: Mini-Mite circa 1972
Ford Fiesta Prototype
Ford Fiesta Prototype: Ford Bobcat 1973
The front-wheel drive car had a four-speed manual transmission with an updated version the Ford Kent OHV engine (introduced in the 1959 Ford Anglia), named "Valencia" after the new Spanish factory in Almussafes, Valencia. The Fiesta was also produced in Dagenham, England, and Saarlouis and Cologne (from 1979) in Germany. The car was initially available with the Valencia 957 cc (30 kW) and the 1,117 cc (63 kW) engine in Base, Popular, L, GL (from 1978 onward), Ghia and S trim, as well as a panel van. The U.S. Mark I Fiesta (1978-1980) built in Cologne, Germany, featured the more powerful 1,596 cc engine.
Ford Fiesta Ghia (1976)
Ford Fiesta Ghia (1976)
Ford Fiesta L (1977)
Ford Fiesta GL (1978)
Ford Fiesta S (1977)
Ford Fiesta S (USA, 1978)
In 1980 a more sporty version (1.3 L Supersport) was available in Europe, using the 1.3 L Kent Crossflow engine. The similar XR2 was introduced a year later, which featured a 1.6 L engine. In 1981 the car received a mild facelift with larger bumpers and it was replaced by the Fiesta Mark II towards the end of the summer of 1983.
Ford Fiesta (Facelift, 1981)
Ford Fiesta XR2 (1981)
Successor Ford Fiesta MkII (1983)

Ford Fiesta Advert, France 1979

Ford Fiesta Advert, UK 1976

Ford Fiesta Advert, UK 1980 

Ford Fiesta Advert, UK 1982

Ford Fiesta Advert, US 1978

Ford Fiesta Avert, US 1978

Ford Fiesta Advert, US 1978

Ford Fiesta Development Story (1976)
Ford Fiesta Brochure, Spain 1979

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