Minimalist motoring in a modern-day Model T


It was slightly underwhelming, and by no means my first car of choice, but I grew to appreciate my Ford Fiesta Mark III and from Mondays to Fridays we became inseparable.

While some new drivers bask in the glory of a sporty convertible, a hot hatch or a rugged 4×4, my Fiesta was memorable as a stunning example of mediocrity in miniature. With the Fiesta 1.1L, Ford took the idea of basic and really made it their own, and then enabled countless lucky drivers across the UK to make it their own too. There were no bells and whistles, that’s for sure, although it did have a horn. I enjoyed the radio in stereo for a time, and how I loved it, before it opted for mono, and then decided enough was enough and gave up the ghost completely. It had a cassette player too, but, even if I had any cassettes to put in there, it was a non-starter when I took ownership.

A Fiesta Mark III similar to my first car. Credit: Auto Express

The engine size was just enough to drive comfortably on the highway, and its performance really sparkled going downhill with a tailwind. The car was a manual, which is common in England, and artful gear changing helped our progress on the open road no end. Leaving university behind and travelling to work in this style, I came to enjoy minimalist motoring and the reliability of a car (radio aside) that Ford put together so simply. It dealt admirably buffeted by wind, rain (also not uncommon in England), and driving through snow and ice. As a small hatchback, it was also great at fitting into tight parking spaces in the crowded streets around football (soccer) stadiums on match day. You can’t put a price on that.

The Fiesta suffered the ignominy of resting on bricks for a year when I went to Australia, but eagerly resumed service like days of old on my return. They say all good things must come to an end, and having put in a considerable shift, it faded away and ended up on the scrap heap. I lavishly squandered the proceeds from the scrap yard on a haircut, as you do, and remembered our journey together. Even in its absence, it keeps on giving – every car I’ve driven since has seemed like the height of luxury.

Hats off to the Ford Fiesta 1.1L.


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