Junkyard Find: 1978 Ford Fiesta

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1978 ford fiesta

The Ford Fiesta story is an interesting one, with this car being a huge gamble for Ford’s global operations back in the 1970s. This car was intended for the European market from day one, but a fair number of Mk1 Fiestas were sold the United States for the 1978 through 1981 model years (eventually, the Mazda-designed/Kia-built Ford Festiva filled the US-market Ford lineup spot vacated by the Fiesta. These cars have been rare to the point of near-extinction for decades now, being disposable cheapo commuters and all, but they do show up from time to time in self-serve wrecking yards. I found this ’78 Fiesta Sport in Denver a couple years back, and last month I spotted today’s find in Northern California.

We have a handful of semi-modified Mk1 Fiestas in the 24 Hours of LeMons, and they do pretty well on a road course.

These cars had interiors that were no-frills even by Malaise Era subcompact standards.

American Fiestas got the 1.6 liter version of the Kent pushrod four, which made 66 horsepower.

This one has a Realistic AM/FM radio installed in whatever you call a glovebox with no lid.

Do real aviators also drive Fiestas?

0 to 50 in just 8.8 seconds. The fact that they used a 0-50 standard speaks volumes about 1978.

No baby ever held the road better!

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  • Rconwath Rconwath on Jul 20, 2014

    Just wondering if anyone knows which Northern California junkyard this car is/was sitting in?

  • Clashboy594 Clashboy594 on Feb 22, 2016

    Dad had a 78. In yellow with the black stripe. I loved it. The fun-est car to drive. Would blow away most cars on the green light. He turned it in on a clunky Ford Tempo in 81. He had promised to let me buy it; but, I guess the lure of the trade in was too great. Still hurts. I would have kept the car to this day !!

  • Redapple2 Why does anyone have to get permission to join? Shouldnt the rules to race in a league be straight forward like. Build the car to the specs. Pay the race entry fee. Set the starting grid base on time trials.?Why all the BS?I cant watch F1 any more. No refuel. Must use 2 different types of tires. Rare passing. Same team wins every week. DRS only is you are this close and on and on with more BS. Add in the skysports announcer that sounds he is yelling for the whole 90 minutes at super fast speed. I m done. IMSA only for me.
  • Redapple2 Barra at evil GM is not worth 20 mill/ yr but dozens (hundreds) of sports players are. Got it. OK.
  • Dusterdude @SCE to AUX , agree CEO pay would equate to a nominal amount if split amongst all UAW members . My point was optics are bad , both total compensation and % increases . IE for example if Mary Barra was paid $10 million including merit bonuses , is that really underpaid ?
  • ToolGuy "At risk of oversimplification, a heat pump takes ambient air, compresses it, and then uses the condenser’s heat to warm up the air it just grabbed from outside."• This description seems fairly dramatically wrong to me.
  • SCE to AUX The UAW may win the battle, but it will lose the war.The mfrs will never agree to job protections, and production outsourcing will match any pay increases won by the union.With most US market cars not produced by Detroit, how many people really care about this strike?