・One lady owner from new ・Low mileage ・Immaculate throughout ・Hard to find in this condition
Remember 1997? A seismic year for British politics and news events, the world was changing for better or for worse. At the same time, Ford Europe was undergoing a revolution. With new models like the Puma attracting critical acclaim, lesser but just as important models like the Fiesta were finally fulfilling expectations and actually exceeding them. The fourth-generation of the Ford Fiesta was released in late 1995 and ushered in the first evolution of the Zetec into the public lexicon. The Fiesta was also noted for its vast improvement in quality, handling and passenger comfort.
Powered by the efficient 1.25-litre, this 1997 example in LX trim - featuring no less than 4 speakers, rev counter and standard glass sunroof left the Reading showroom and spent the next 20 or so years with the proverbial female owner, who seemingly used it for mostly local journeys. However, its almost perfect condition and mileage of only 36,170 suggests that she looked after the car with the utmost care. A genuine unexceptional novelty, this car has everything in place to become a modern classic.
The current owner was offered the car, following a tip-off from a friend and he couldn’t resist the opportunity to take this car on board. As a fan of all thing automotive, he saw the potential in the car, particularly given its low mileage, one owner V5 and the excellent presentation of the car. He mentions that he is simply a custodian of the car, and has been duty-bound to provide this time-warp Fiesta with a showcase with the hope to find the best owner for it.
As often the case with these low mileage cars, paperwork and invoices often get mislaid with the passage of time, so comes with precious little of its life. The original Reg Vardy dealership in Reading, Berkshire was located 15 minutes drive away from the owner but unfortunately, the dealership is now defunct. So despite the sterling condition of the car, both inside and out, the current owner cannot vouch for the service history records. The car does come with some MOT print outs which gives us a clue on what has been replaced over the years. The core items for the past MOT include tyres, a new exhaust, replacement suspension bushes and work to the brakes. This all tallies up with the recorded mileage, which also provides us with the information that the car travelled around 2K a year on average. It was probably taken off the road for a short period in 2018 and recommissioned early last year. The car has recently passed its MOT with a couple of advisories.
Shall we investigate the interior? The long and short of it, is that the driver's seat is a little bit dirty and the pedals have a bit of mud on them. That's it really. The interior is reminded of how cabin design has moved on, the rounded grey plastic and pastel-coloured seats is snapshot of car interior design of the era but Ford did a decent job in raising their quality in materials inside the car, and are durable and hard-wearing.
In terms of condition, the seats are beyond criticism, there simply is nothing of note to complain about as they are in super condition. The large plastic dash dominates the interior but the general condition of the facia is remarkably free from scuffs and significant damage - for example, the area around the key-fob hardly shows evidence of fumbling. The switchgear and controls are close to perfect, with the steering wheel and gearbox in very clean condition. The carpet could do with a bit of dust-buster action but are in otherwise excellent condition. The car was photographed without mats but will be supplied with them. The boot area looks like it has hardly been used, and is in very good condition. The headlining and door cards are clean, with no significant damage. The tape deck is said to be functional, as are the entire dashboard controls.
The metalwork on the car is in very good condition, with no evidence of panel damage. The car is free from parking knocks, dents or scuffs. The doors open and close with no issues, with no corrosion observed around the doors or the frames. In terms of external corrosion, the only issues observed were the minor surface corrosion developing on the insides of the lower off-side edge of the rear wheel arch. No other significant external corrosion was observed on the structure, including the engine bay, boot well, inner wings and sills. The underside of the car is in solid condition, with small signs of surface corrosion on the very bottom of the sill flanges.
The glass is in very good condition, with no cracks or hazing seen, although there is a chip repair on the passenger side of the windscreen - it has been flagged as an advisory on past MOT's. The laminate is good throughout. The window rubber is in good condition, with the door rubbers in a similar positive state throughout. The pop-up sunroof is factory fitted and in working condition with no signs of leaking.
The bumpers have the lightest of scuffing on the lower sections of the front, with the rear item doing a near-perfect impersonation of a new item. To put this in perspective, take a look at the last few remaining mid 90's Fiestas hanging on to their lives - usually as pizza or first cars, and note how the bumpers often see the wars.
The lights are in very good condition, with no signs of damage. The plastic hub caps do show small signs of age, but the car has clearly not seen much contact with the kerb. The steel wheels appear to be straight with no significant damage, only age-related surface corrosion ruining the party. It will be a straightforward task to rectify if your intention is the bring the car back to perfection.
The paint has been well cared for, with evidence that it has been regularly cleaned due to the general lack of ingrained dirt. There’s a good chance that the car has spent its life in a garage too, due to the lack of outside elements on the car. The paint condition is as good as you can expect for a mid 90’s mass-produced car, with good coverage throughout. There are no signs of repair or overspray. The lustre is good but the car has hazy swirls that show up in the sun, a machine polish could make all the difference to the finish. The car has a handful of stone chips on the bonnet, but elsewhere is in decent fettle.
The tyres are in good condition, with the front off-side tyre being the oldest at over 10 years old. The rest have been replaced within the last three years. All have ample tread and are in good condition.
The car fires up straight away, with no hesitation and it gets up to temperature with no issues. It ticks over nicely with no nasty noises coming from the engine and no evidence of smoke from the exhaust. The engines visual condition is very honest, the vendor decided to not clean the engine in preparation for the sale, as a way to offer an honest expectation of the car. However, there certainly was no issues with the presentation and could be an ideal task for those who take joy in detailing. The suspension and running gear is fully functional, although it is worth pointing out that the suspension components and some other mechanical elements under the car have been subject to surface corrosion. The exhaust is in good condition and appears to be a fairly recent item having been replaced in the last 5 years. The brakes are in good condition, with plenty of life in the pads and discs, they operate well with no signs of juddering or squeals. The steering is also said to be in top-notch order.
There are two trains of thoughts that go with a car like this. One could easily take it on, squirrel it away in a warm garage and taking it out for the occasional run to clear the cobwebs. Parts are not a problem, nor will the running costs dent your budget. Sooner or later the provenance of a mint car with a Ford badge will be of huge interest, and although the average MK4 fiesta is currently no classic car material, there are a couple of events that spring to mind where this would go down a treat. However, as a marvellous curio and a snapshot of an era where Ford got their act together to produce some excellent cars, this ordinary little shopping car deserves to find the right owner who will do their bit to keep that fresh out of box appeal. Remember, there’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things.
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