Junkyard Find: 1993 Ford Festiva L

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

The Ford Festiva aka Kia Pride aka Mazda 121 spent much of the last decade being a fairly common sight in American self-serve wrecking yards, but lately I’ve been seeing many fewer examples of this little gas-sipper. You can buy this car new in Iran, where it is badged as the Saipa 132, and some outlaw factory is probably still building the things in China. We’ve seen this ’90 Festiva in this series, and now I’ve found a decal-enhanced example of the final model year of the US-market Festiva (the next generation Pride was called the Aspire in the United States) in a Denver yard.

63 horsepower from this Mazda B3.

Swooshy graphics were all the rage in the late 1980s and early 1990s, though I’m not sure if these are factory-installed or provided later by Manny, Moe, and Jack.

What more do you need in a car?

Let’s take a look at some ads for the Pride from around the world. Here’s Iran.

Korean car commercials tend to be full of video-game noises and macho voiceovers. Here’s a nice collection.

The early Pride got some very pastel 80s-ness in its Australian-market ads.


Call it big. Call it small. Call it yours.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • SaulTigh SaulTigh on May 07, 2014

    In '98 and '99 I worked with a guy who had a 50 mile commute (so 100+ miles each day) and had two of these at any given time. One for driving and one for parts. As soon as he'd strip one bare, he buy another one for cheap that was broken in some way and start the process over. On cold mornings he'd start it 30 minutes before leaving (we worked nights) and you never wanted to be parked next to him because the exhaust would make you sick if you had to scrape your own car. It didn't sound healthy at idle either. Lots of clanging and such, but they never seemed to let him down. I've always liked these though. Something about the proportions I find amusing.

  • Kyree Kyree on May 07, 2014

    I was an infant in '93, so I couldn't tell you about the general attitude of cars during that year, but it seems like they were uninspired-looking leftovers from the '80s, and this car epitomizes that notion.

  • Wjtinfwb Funny. When EV's were bursting onto the scene; Tesla's, Volt's, Leaf's pure EV was all the rage and Hybrids were derided because they still used a gas engine to make them, ahem; usable. Even Volt's were later derided when it was revealed that the Volt's gas engine was actually connected to the wheels, not just a generator. Now, Hybrids are warmly welcomed into the Electric fraternity by virtue of being "electrified". If a change in definition is what it takes, I'm all for it. Hybrid's make so much sense in most American's usage patterns and if needed you can drive one cross-country essentially non-stop. Glad to see Hybrid's getting the love.
  • 3-On-The-Tree We also had a 1973 IH Scout that we rebuilt the engine in and it had dual glass packs, real loud. I miss those days.
  • 3-On-The-Tree Jeff thanks. Back in 1990 we had a 1964 Dodge D100 with a slant six with a 3 on the tree. I taught myself how to drive a standard in that truck. It was my one of many journeys into Mopar land. Had a 1973 Plymouth duster with a slant six and a 1974 Dodge Dart Custom with 318 V8. Great cars and easy to work on.
  • Akear What is GM good at?You led Mary............................................What a disgrace!
  • Randy in rocklin I have a 87 bot new with 200k miles and 3 head gasket jobs and bot another 87 turbo 5 speed with 70k miles and new head gaskets. They cost around 4k to do these days.