Fiesta fiesta marks four decades of, well, the Fiesta

  • 40 years since first Fiesta assembled in Spain
  • Fiesta UK’s best-seller at more than four million
  • 40 Fiestas, seven generatons, in Brighton procession
fiesta 40 pos 1
FIESTA AT THE FACTORY: This is the UK’s Dagenham plant but the first Fiestas were assembled in Spain four decades ago. Image: Newspress/Ford Britain

BRENTWOOD, England – When Ford launched the Fiesta back in 1976 it was, the automaker says, the start of a remarkable four decades of production.

Since then more than 18-million have been assembled.

The Fiesta, in 2014, became the UK’s best-selling car, overtaking the Ford Escort. “It’s not only the best-selling car in the UK so far in 2016,” Ford Europe told The Corner, “but also the UK’s most popular car every month for the last seven years.”

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FREE REIN ON THE FREEWAY: Ford Fiesta celebrates four decades. Image: Newspress/Ford Britain

To celebrate, 40 Fiestas travelled in convoy from the Ford Engine Plant in Dagenham, southern England, to Brighton Race Course on the island’s south coast for a 2016 Ford Summer Festival -a celebration of all Ford models.

The run was open to all Fords from Cortinas to Rangers. About 200, each receiving a numbered plaque, took part but to mark the occasion numbers 1-40 were allocated to Fiestas from the past four decades.

The Fiesta Mk I began production in an all-new plant in Valencia, Spain, in 1976 and sales in the UK commenced in 1977.

Ford Britain chairman and MD Andy Barratt told The Corner in a media release: “The opportunity to have these wonderful heritage vehicles lined up next to our latest Fiestas, including the ST200, is very rare and was fully appreciated by the Ford fans who made the journey down to the festival.”

Also on display at Dagenham was a Mk IV 1.4 Fiesta Ghia; the 10-millionth Ford assembled at Dagenham ands the Mk VI World Rally championship car.

Ford Fiesta celebrates four decades. Image: Newspress/Ford Britain
WAS THERE EVER A CONVERTIBLE? Ford Fiesta celebrates four decades. Image: Newspress/Ford Britain

The chronological evolution of the Fiesta was evident and displayed the changes, visual and technological, made through the years. Today’s Fiesta, with a range of class-leading power trains that includes the multi-award winning one-litre EcoBoost engine, can now be ordered with heatable seats, cruise control, satnav and a rear-view camera.

READ more Ford features on Carman’s Corner

Here’s how the Fiesta evolved over the past 40 years:

Engine production begins at Valencia
Fiesta name chosen personally by Henry Ford II for its alliteration with Ford, its spirit and its celebration of Ford’s new connection with Spain

Production of new Fiesta begins in Valencia, Spain in May. Fiesta initially available in 1.0-litre and 1.1-litre Ghia versions

UK sales of the Fiesta begin
Export of Fiesta models for the US market begins

Ford Fiesta celebrates four decades. Image: Newspress/Ford Britain
SOMEBODY TOOK THE CAKE: Ford Fiesta celebrates four decades. Image: Newspress/Ford Britain

Millionth Fiesta built for worldwide sales

Ford introduces the new Fiesta XR2 with a 1.6-litre engine, stiffer suspension, unique perforated alloy wheels and styling treatments, including available auxiliary driving lamps. The first 100mph Fiesta

Fiesta is best-selling car in its class in Britain and Germany for six years running

Aerodynamic new Fiesta MkII introduced. This new model was longer and more fuel efficient, available in 1.0-litre and 1.1-litre
1.3-litre model launched with a fifth gear
Fiesta 1.6-litre diesel introduced. This overhead-cam, indirect injection engine would become a mainstay of the Ford line-up for more than a decade

XR2 MkII version of new Fiesta introduced with 1.6-litre, single-overhead-cam engine and 5-speed gearbox, plus low-profile tyres, improved suspension and brakes

Best sales year in Britain with 153,000 Fiestas sold

Fiesta MkIII launched with anti-lock brakes and lean-burn engines, in 1.0-litre and 1.1-litre versions. New Fiesta featured a longer and wider body shape and an increased wheelbase. It was available for the first time as a five-door model,
Fiesta is first small car with ABS
Fiesta MkIII adds 1.4-litre – the first Ford engine to meet pending European emissions standards due to take effect in 1996 – and 1.6-litre engine options
Fiesta XR2i joins the range later in the year with new 1.6-litre twin cam engine and 5-speed gearbox as the range’s hot hatch.

Ford Fiesta celebrates four decades. Image: Newspress/Ford Britain
ALL LINED UP IN BRIGHTON: Ford Fiesta celebrates four decades. Image: Newspress/Ford Britain

Introduction of Fiesta RS Turbo at Turin Motor Show. Using the XR2i engine with an intercooled Garrett turbocharger, the Fiesta RS Turbo was 1.6 seconds quicker than XR2i to 100km/h (62mph)

Fiesta RS 1800 introduced. Powered by a 16-valve 1.8-litre engine with improved hot hatch handling, plus five-spoke alloy wheels and a body-colour spoiler
Introduction of 1.8-litre, 16-valve Zetec engine

Driver’s crash-bag becomes standard

Introduction of the new Fiesta MkIV with all-new rounded, aerodynamic shape and oval grille. Available with 1.25-litre, 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre engines, plus a 1.8-litre diesel. Two front crash bags standard

All-new Fiesta MkV introduced at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show
Production begins in Cologne and Valencia of the new Ford Fiesta

All-new Ford Fiesta MkV launched initially in the five-door version with a new line-up of engines, including the new Duratec 1.3-litre and the 1.6-litre 16-valve Duratec petrol engines
Fiesta three-door model and the range’s 1.4-litre Duratec petrol engine and new 1.4-litre Duratorq TDCi common rail diesel engine
Durashift EST automatic shifting manual transmission introduced

2.0-litre 150PS Fiesta ST launched as the first production offering of Ford Team RS. It was the most powerful Fiesta ever at the time.

Fiesta launched with voice activation and Bluetooth

All-new Fiesta MkVI unveiled at Geneva Motor Show
MkVI Fiesta goes into production in Cologne, Germany, Valencia, Spain and Nanjing, China, with new 1.6-litre Duratec Ti-VCT petrol and sub-100g/km 1.6-litre Duratec diesel engines

Fiesta’s 1.6-litre Duratorq TDCi engine sees power increase to 95PS and three petrol engine options benefit from CO2 emission reductions

Introduction of the Fiesta MkVII, the first Fiesta to come with the three cylinder 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine. Launched with Ford’s MyKey technology that would become a mainstay in many future Ford vehicles

Fiesta ST launched with a 1.6-litre EcoBoost turbo engine that produces 182PS – Awarded Top Gear Car of the Year

Fiesta Red/Black editions unveiled with 140PS 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine. More power-per-litre than a Bugatti Veyron
Powershift launched
Fiesta becomes best-selling vehicle ever in the UK, surpassing the 4,105,961 registrations achieved by the Ford Escort

Best year for Fiesta sales since 1996 – selling more than 133,000.

Fiesta ST200 launched with a specially developed 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine that delivers 200PS – fastest-ever production Fiesta
Fiesta becomes best-selling car in the UK every month for seven years in a row
Fiesta ST wins more than 10 key awards since launch in 2013, including What Car? ‘Best Hot Hatch’ for three years in a row

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