FI­ESTA MK2

It’s the af­ford­able clas­sic Ford with good spares back-up and bags of po­ten­tial, too. Here’s what to look for if you’re on the hunt for a Mk2.

Classic Ford - - CF BUYING RESTORING - Words Chris­tian Til­bury

With the orig­i­nal Fi­esta de­feated by the Austin Metro in the bat­tle of the su­per­mi­nis, Ford came back fight­ing with the launch of the Mk2 ver­sion in Au­gust 1983.

The re­vised Fi­esta smoothed off its pre­de­ces­sor’s rough edges in more ways than one, feel­ing more re­fined to drive and ush­er­ing in a no­tably sleeker front end.

Al­though the re­vised styling was penned with the aim of mak­ing the Fi­esta a lit­tle bet­ter at cut­ting through the air, the rounded wings and bon­net pro­vided enough room to shoe­horn in the Mk3 Es­cort’s 1297cc CVH en­gine.

Re­plac­ing the Mk1’s 1298cc OHV en­gine with the more mod­ern CVH also in­volved re­jig­ging the chas­sis rails and a few other struc­tural re­vi­sions, but it was a worth­while swap, es­pe­cially as the new en­gine came with its match­ing five-speed gear­box. The Mk1’s 957cc and 1117cc OHV en­gines were car­ried over to the Mk2, al­though on the up­side both re­ceived a few torque-en­hanc­ing tweaks and the larger mo­tor could also be or­dered with the five-speed gear­box. For the real penny pinch­ers and fleet buy­ers, there was also the avail­abil­ity of a fairly lack­lus­tre diesel ver­sion.

High-speed cruis­ing and fuel econ­omy were also en­hanced via the ad­di­tion of 13 inch wheels, with the sus­pen­sion be­ing re-en­gi­neered to com­ple­ment the larger rims. The re­vi­sions in­cluded new top mounts for the struts and a dif­fer­ent bush de­sign for the front sus­pen­sion tie-rod. A new dash­board con­trib­uted to the more up­mar­ket feel, while Ford also re­pro­filed the roof and rear tail­gate to com­ple­ment the sharper front end.

At launch, cus­tomers got to choose from Pop­u­lar, Pop­u­lar Plus, L and Ghia lev­els of trim, with the range be­ing strength­ened with the sub­se­quent ar­rival of the XR2, 1.4S and Bonus. The ar­ray of choice and the Mk2’s up­grades brought the Fi­esta firmly back into the hearts of the UK’s su­per­mini buy­ers and, right up un­til its 1989 demise, it proved im­mensely pop­u­lar — peak­ing in 1987 with over 150,000 sold.

To­day, it’s en­thu­si­asts that are in­creas­ingly clam­our­ing for the Mk2, but if you want to get in on the ac­tion then it’s still pos­si­ble to grab a tidy Fi­esta for the right side of £2000. Con­sid­er­ing its rel­a­tively low cost and the way val­ues are likely to climb, it’s not a ques­tion of whether you can af­ford a Mk2 Fi­esta, but whether you can af­ford not to.

“TO­DAY, IT’S EN­THU­SI­ASTS THAT ARE IN­CREAS­INGLY CLAM­OUR­ING FOR THE MK2”

Pho­tos Jon Hill

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