A Century of Cars: 70. Solido 1978 Ford Fiesta 1.3 Ghia
The Fiesta was originally developed
under the project name Bobcat and approved for development by Henry
Ford II in September 1972. The car was to have a wheelbase longer
than that of the Fiat 127 (although shorter than some other rivals,
like the Peugeot 104, Renault 5 and Volkswagen Polo), but with an
overall length shorter than that of the Escort. The final proposal
was developed by Tom Tjaarda at Ghia. The project was approved for
production in December 1973, with Ford's engineering centres in
Cologne and Dunton (Essex) collaborating.
The Fiesta is widely credited as being Ford's first globally successful front-wheel-drive model. UK sales began in January 1977, where it was available from £1,856 for the basic 950 cc-engined model.
It was only the second hatchback mini-car to have been built in the UK at this stage, being launched a year after the Vauxhall Chevette, but a year before the Chrysler Sunbeam and four years before the Austin Metro. The millionth Fiesta was produced in 1979.