Big Valve Kent Motor: 1980 Ford Fiesta Mk 1

Today is October 14th, which is Columbus Day..and Canadian Thanksgiving…sorry…so this next feature came across the Ocean blue and now lives in the land of wheat and beef.  The Mark 1 (that’s fancy pants speak for first generation) Ford Fiesta was designed by Ford of Europe and built in an assembly plant in Cologne, Germany for worldwide consumption.  The Fiesta was only sold in the USA for a few years (1978-1980) before it was replaced by the North American built Escort, an unfortunate turn of events for economy car drivers because the German built Fiesta was a cool piece of kit while the American built Escort was an unforgettable pile of guano. Find this 1980 Ford Fiesta Mk 1 offered for $5000 in Seattle, WA via craigslist. Tip from JB1025.

From the seller:

1980 Ford Fiesta

condition: excellent

fuel: gas

title status: clean

transmission: manual

Very clean, daily driven, and period modified 1980 Ford Fiesta for sale. I saved this car from the wrecking yard almost two years ago, and have built it into a very tidy car. It is extremely rust free and ready to drive.

The car retains it’s stock look, but has had an extensive amount of work done to it over the past year and a half. The original floors were rusted, and as such were cut out and replacement floor pans from the UK were welded in. Upon re-installation of the interior, sound deadening material and a new carpet kit was installed. Every piece of the interior was cleaned, repaired if needed, and re-assembled. New door seals, boot seal, and various window seals, were also installed.

The car has no additional rust, it is extremely solid for a vintage MK1 Fiesta. It retains it’s original paint, no body filler anywhere on the car.

Mechanically the braking system has been refreshed, including new master cylinder/brake calipers/braided steel brake hoses/wheel cylinders/drum brake shoes. The suspension and steering was serviced with new front struts/rear shocks/outer tie rod ends/steering rack boots/upper shock mounts.

The stock engine was removed, and a highly modified Ford Kent 1600 was installed. It features a big valve head, twin sidedraft Weber DCOE carburetors, mild camshaft, and a 2-1 header with custom exhaust. During the engine replacement, the flywheel was ground and a brand new clutch was installed. The charging system was serviced with a rebuilt OEM alternator, new voltage regulator, and new battery. The original starter was removed, and replaced with a lighter weight unit from a late model Ford. And finally, a new fuel pump and water pump were installed. The transmission was taken apart for inspection, found to be in good working order, and re-assembled.

The car started out as a base model, but has been upgraded with various “Ghia” and “S” package parts. It had a factory instrument cluster with a tachometer added, factory rear anti roll bar, and smaller upgrades. The stock 12″ wheels were removed, and replaced with vintage 13″ ATS Phone Dial wheels. The sealed beam headlights have been removed, and replaced with Hella H4 housings and bulbs.

Overall, the extensive maintenance and upgrades to this car render it a comfortable and snappy driver. I have been driving it daily for about a year now, but am looking to move on to my next project.

Please call or email with any questions. Due to me purchasing the car from a authorized WA state auto wrecker, it is currently 2 years into the 3 year title application process. It is registered in my name, and legal to sell with a notarized “Release of Interest” form, which I will provide. The title can be obtained when the 3 year waiting period is over in 9/2020. All receipts from wrecking yard, State Patrol documents, etc will be provided. This car is legal to own, license for the street, and drive in WA state.


 See a better way to drive a Mk1 Fiesta?