German Bobcat – 1978 Ford Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta (development code: Bobcat) went by largely unnoticed in the North American market – they had decent success until they were killed off to be replaced by the Escort, but ask most people now and they’ll think of the Festiva, or worse, the Aspire. Which is really not fair, since they were great little cars that were quite successful elsewhere. Light, front-wheel-drive, with strut suspension in the front, these are said to be fun to drive in spite of their low-powered engines. Check out this 1978 Ford Fiesta for sale for $850 in Port Orchard, WA.

1978 Ford Fiesta front

Orange paint still has a decent shine to it, and the body looks to be pretty straight, although the seller hasn’t taken the most helpful front and rear three-quarter shots to capture the entire car. It’s said to have great tires (good tires are not enough for a ’78 Fiesta) and to have covered only 94,000 miles. While that’s probably the outer limit for a cheap subcompact of this variety, it wouldn’t have to do much for you to make it worth its 3-figure price – that’s less than some people spend on a set of modern 18-inch tires.

1978 Ford Fiesta interior

The interior looks decent, and surprisingly clean, but the splitting and collapsed webbing in the driver’s seat means you’ll need to do some light restoration work. The dash has no visible cracks, the carpet needs nothing more than a thorough cleaning to be usable, and a warped door panel is visible, so you might want to pull the vinyl and put it on a new piece of marine plywood or plastic.

1978 Ford Fiesta rear

Things look similarly good from the back – straight, clean, and lacking any serious damage. Now, this is Washington state, and the western part at that, so the car does have some “small” rust, as the seller says. It also needs a carburetor rebuild, although if you are not required to pass smog, this might be an opportunity to add a little power to the 1.6-liter crossflow Kent engine by looking to the aftermarket in the UK and mainland Europe.

1978 Ford Fiesta rust

Hopefully this is the worst of the rust – the battery tray also shows some surface rusting, and there is similar (but less) rust on the passenger door. These cars were built in Cologne, Germany, which hopefully means better quality due to a longer-standing automotive industry (though many German cars of the period rusted with abandon). All that considered, how could you go wrong for a 3-figure price plus a little elbow grease?


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2 Responses to “German Bobcat – 1978 Ford Fiesta”

  1. Mike P Says:

    If only I wasn’t on the other side of the continent…

  2. Rich G Says:

    I’ve had two of these little cars, and really liked them. The first one was from my parents and four of my younger siblings learned to drive using it. It was pretty beat but perfect for a beater for me. A couple years later I picked up a nice gold one and drove it for about 40,000 miles trouble free. Though limited by the 12″ tires, they were fun, spunky little cars.

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