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Guilty Pleasure: Ford Fiesta Mark I


Last week, I was torn between the Pinto Cruising Wagon and the early Fiesta Ghia for the week's Guilty Pleasure, and went with the Pinto because millions of Yurpeans still love the early Fiesta.

That makes this pleasure less guilty… or does it?

The Fiesta was Ford's first real postwar shot at a genuine "world car," and the intent in Dearborn was always to import the things to the United States in large quantities.

This was in stark contrast to the afterthought nature of the "Mercury" Capri or GM's dabbling with various Opel models in the U.S. market. Of course, American car buyers weren't ready to shoehorn themselves into some tiny foreign-looking tin can, even though the Fiesta had as about much room inside as the much larger and heavier Pinto, and hardly any of us bought the things.

That means that owning one now marks an American car freak not only as a beret-wearin', warm-beer-drinkin', socialized-medicine-lovin' traitor, but as a beret-wearin', warm-beer-drinkin', socialized-medicine-lovin' traitor who doesn't even have the good taste to get a Vanden Plas Jag or BMW 733i. You can tell all your Milwaukee's Best-swillin' buddies about the early Fiesta's storied racing history until you're blue in the face, and they'll just stare at you with pity.

That, of course, makes the Mark I Fiesta an interesting project car for me. I'd need a Ghia, naturally, because I roll with that kind of style. It's probably impossible to find one that hasn't rusted into nothingness by now, but I'm going to try… and then I'm going to hot-rod the engine up to a mighty 75 horses.
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