It’s easy to sell a car short based on what it isn’t. This Festiva isn’t powered by a Chevy V8. It isn’t a 1.6L turbo-powered race car, or an AWD conversion from a 323 GTX. Put simply, this funbox is just a ratty hatch with double its stock output thanks to a sideways Miata engine. And it’s being sold so the seller can have a bigger cargo transport for college. Stick around here, kid, and you’ll find yourself pulling up to frat parties in a V8-swapped Volvo wagon. Find this 1991 Ford Festiva with a Miata BP engine in Seattle, WA for $2,900 via craigslist.
Ford’s greatest blessing to enterprising junkyard tuners was its 33% ownership of Mazda in the early ’90s. This Festiva has a 1.8L BPE8 mounted transverse and power goes to the front wheels via a Mazda 5-speed. The engine bay looks appropriately disheveled for a swap of this budget, which we would partially rectify by rerouting the intake to avoid that nasty 180-degree bend. Then we would try really hard to stay away from the Miata’s gargantuan aftermarket.
The rust-free hatch features an upgraded stereo with tacky speaker covers, a mail slot sunroof, and fresh 165-series tires on “big” 13-inch wheels. With a large speedometer that only goes to 85 seen through the Hula hoop steering wheel, you could mash the throttle and watch the needle move as fast as the tachometer that isn’t there.
Hella fog lights seal the deal on a package that promises not to take itself too seriously, and one that guarantees no one will ever take the driver seriously. Especially when careening around corners on arterial roads with squealing tires at a harrowing 40 mph.
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PhiLOL still drives a slow car and can testify to the joy of careening around corners on arterial roads with squealing tires at a harrowing 40 mph.