Ford Fiesta (Mk1) Profile

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Ford Fiesta (Mk1) General Information

The little FWD hot hatch Renault R5 Alpine and Peugeot 104 ZS really seem to have got something rolling. The 104 in its characterful, shortened, hot ZS version was the first hot hatch seen with drivers as even Mikkola, Mäkinen, Lefèbvre. But it is most likely the Renault R5 to blame for this fashion as the R5 managed to finish 2nd and 3rd on the snowy 1978 Rallye Monte Carlo, where the 104 didn't even start. One year later on that event Volkswagen Golf GTI, Fiat Ritmo and this Ford Fiesta S1600 all celebrated their WRC debut.

The Fiesta was more designed as a budget car for privateers. This didn't stop Ford to enter two of them with a star line up on the 1979 Monte: Roger Clark and (via the French importer) Ari Vatanen. Thereafter the car was regularly seen in the British Championship, mostly with Roger Clark and Louise Aitken. Clark’s BRC gravel car, PNO 613R, was soon massively converted as a test bed to what should follow from the Escort, though this was only a very short term experiment. But read more about this experiment in the Escort RS1700T story. Mainly the Fiesta was seen as an alternative to group1 Escorts to try out upcoming national talents. I.e. works supported Fiesta S1600 were in later years given to Michael Werner in Germany and Tim Brise in UK, while Clark only drove the Fiesta in 1979 and even then kept altering this with the Escort.

I do have to add a few lines on the Fiesta as a road model. Also to avoid confusion with the S1600 name.

The Fiesta was the first hatchback created by Ford. Yet it is a superb example of clever design and how today cars become ever more similar with ever less character. Although the Fiesta was very much unlike any other Ford model when it was launched, it fitted into the Ford family straight away. And with following models, as Granada Mk2, Escort Mk3, Ford had a very distinct, straight design scheme with an interesting way of indicator shapes into the side of the cars. The Fiesta did not follow this route and still was a typical Ford. The Fiesta Mk1 had this front that despite being very straight and no-nonsense was extremely recognisable – now that is how car design should be, not the Korean mishmash of today, let’s add a few dents here, a pointless plastic strip there, I mean give an 8 years old a sladge hammer and he designs a Hyundai or a Daewoo-Chevy… The Fiesta Mk1 had square headlights exactly the height of the front grille, rectangular gaps in the bonnet exactly the size of the indicators, only to then move the indicators down and the headlights into the bonnet gaps. Like all square, yet never boring, even smiling, an interesting disruption of the grille line. Then we take the Ford Cargo lorry out of all things (the Cargo by the way designed in Boreham!) and turn this exact Fiesta design arrangement upside down, and ready is a family face!

For the rally car this detail is interesting as the indicators were moved into the bumpers to make way for bigger round headlights that perfectly used the added space from the bonnet gaps – yet another looker! But this round headlights feature should be exclusive for sporty Fiestas. Even Ghia and S versions had the normal front arrangement. The round headlights were indeed first seen on limited edition Fiesta Mk1 S1600. Later they became mass produced in the XR2, but that only arrived in 1982.

Which next explains a name controversy. For most of the time Ford named the sporty models RS + engine capacity, such as Escort RS1800, Escort RS2000, Capri RS2600. For some less sporty models as i.e. Cortina just a S “Sport” rather than RS “Rallye Sport” was used. This was also decided on the small, budget Fiesta. A late 1970s special edition Fiesta such would have the S + cc, aka S1600. A Mk1 Fiesta S1600 such has absolutely nothing to do with the Super1600 category of rallying several decades later. If RS seemed a little over the top for a small budget car, than S1600 alongside RS2000, RS2600, etc is even a logical, if not typical model variation name for Ford. The later XR2 was a slight and short lived change in Ford variation codes with the number meaning size of car, as Fiesta XR2, Escort XR3, Sierra XR4, though this trend only started with the Escort Mk3 and therefore was not yet applied on the Fiesta S1600 of 1979, even though in basic configuration the 1979 limited edition Fiesta S1600 and the 1982 mass produced Fiesta XR2 were very similar indeed.

Ford Fiesta (Mk1) Related Content

Ford Fiesta (Mk1) Evolutions

Model & Evo. (Activity)
Ford Fiesta (Mk1) S1600 (79-81) 150/7500 172/5500 3750.1640.1360 775 (5.2) FWD (2286)

Random Ford Fiesta (Mk1) Photos

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Ford Fiesta (Mk1) Results

This is an unofficial Car Results list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego hh:mm:ss
14th. 1982 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo S. Servia J. Sabater #14 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
22nd. 1981 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo S. Servia A. Brustenga #22 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
9th. 1980 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo S. Servia A. Brustenga #28 [UNKNOWN] 9:12:00
10th. 1979 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo A. Vatanen D. Richards #17 [UNKNOWN] 8:50:11
13th. 1979 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo R. Clark J. Porter #15 [UNKNOWN] 9:03:12

Ford Fiesta (Mk1) Retirements

This is an unofficial Car Model Retirements list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego Reason
Ret. 1981 WRC Rallye San Remo F. Cunico E. Mussa #31 [UNKNOWN] SS14 engine
Ret. 1981 WRC Rally of Finland G. Blume P. Schuster #73 [UNKNOWN] SS0 ? before start
Ret. 1980 WRC Rally of Great Britain L. Aitken-Walker E. Morgan #94 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1979 WRC Rally of Great Britain L. Aitken-Walker E. Morgan #167 [UNKNOWN] SS17 ?