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 !!

  • Norman Stansfield Why are leaf springs still a thing on this truck?
  • Syke The expected opening comments. Have had mine for two years now, the car has done exactly what I want out of it, and a little better. I'm quite happy with the car, haven't had to adjust my driving style or needs in the slightest, and . . . . oh, did a mention that I don't give a damn what today's price at the pump is?Probably going to go for a second one in the coming year, the wife's happy enough with mine that she's ready and willing to trade in the Nissan Kicks. Eventually, the not often used van will end up getting traded on a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, basically ensuring that we don't use gas for anything except the occasional long trip.And the motorcycles.
  • Bobbysirhan I've never found the Allegro appealing before, but a few years of EV rollouts make it seem downright desirable.
  • Scoutdude I know that dealership. Way back when my friend's grandfather was that Turner that owned the Chrysler Plymouth International dealer, in MacPherson. Of course the International was dropped when they didn't deem the Scout reason enough to keep the franchise. I moved from there in late 1978 so it is possible I saw this running around town way back when.
  • Lou_BC "Overpriced" is a misnomer. Arguably, if they are selling they are not overpriced. "Dealer mark-up above MSRP" is a mouthful but more accurate. Simple, don 't buy anything marked up. A computer will help you search the country. It's a PITA but doable.
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