The evergreen Fiesta was launched in 1976 to widespread acclaim.
Ford of Europe’s first front wheel drive car, the Fiesta was available in both a 3-door hatchback and as a panel van.
The Fiesta was originally developed under the project name “Bobcat” and was approved for development by Henry Ford II in 1972.
The final proposal was developed by Tom Tjaarda at Ghia in Italy. The project was approved for production in December 1973.
Ford Fiesta XR2
The Fiesta was available in Europe with the Valencia 957 cc (58.4 cu in) I4 (high compression and low compression options), and 1,117 cc (68.2 cu in) engines and in Base, Popular, L, GL (1978 onward), Ghia and S trim, as well as a van.
The U.S. Mark I Fiesta was built in Saarlouis and Cologne, Germany but to different specifications in order to comply with U.S. regulations.
All U.S. models featured the more powerful 1,596 cc (97.4 cu in) engine, which was the older “Crossflow” version of the Kent engine.
Among the other changes required for the US market, the Fiesta was fitted with a catalytic converter and air pump to satisfy strict Californian emission regulations), energy-absorbing bumpers, side-marker lamps, round sealed-beam headlamps, improved crash dynamics and fuel system integrity as well as optional air conditioning (a/c was not available in Europe).
Minor revisions appeared across the range in late 1981, with larger bumpers to meet crash worthiness regulations and other small improvements in a bid to maintain showroom appeal ahead of the forthcoming second generation.
The Mk1 Fiesta was replaced by the MK2 version in 1982.