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For $2,500, we’re gonna’ party like it’s 1978

Illustration for article titled For $2,500, we’re gonna’ party like it’s 1978
Nice Price Or No DiceIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

There's birthday parties, political parties, and the party of the first part who's always suing the party of the second part. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Ford is named for a Latin party, but is its price worth celebrating?

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The fact that Henry Ford was born in Dearborn Michigan, and founded not one but two automobile companies in that Detroit suburb, should seal his epitaph as both an American, and a singular founder of the American automotive industry.

Despite that, today's 1978 Ford Fiesta isn't all baseball, apple pie, and misplaced proclamations of exceptionalism. It is however representative of Ford's overseas expansion, the fruits of which made mom and dad back home seem bloated and slothful.

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Illustration for article titled For $2,500, we’re gonna’ party like it’s 1978

Slotted in below the Escort in Henry's swingin' ‘70s European lineup, the Fiesta represented the brand's first foray into front-wheel-drive Supermini category. Volkswagen's Polo, Renault R5s and a spate of others competed with the Fiesta for frugal Euro-thrashers union-gifted cash. And, when OPEC decided to start treating the U.S. like it was Oliver asking for more gruel, little shit boxes like those started popping up over here as well.

Illustration for article titled For $2,500, we’re gonna’ party like it’s 1978

The Fiesta was one of the best of the shit boxes, providing excellent handling and a ride that, while not comparable to a Crown Vic, was sufficiently supple enough not to dislodge fillings when traversing expansion joints or migratory testudines. The single motivational speaker offered in the American edition was the Valencia (named after its city of origin) OHV Kent four. That meant 1,597-ccs and 66-bhp, the most of which was made by the 4-speed gearbox next to it. The car should be good for zero to sixty runs of around 11 seconds, but with a curb weight of only around 1,700-lbs, your personal poundage could reasonably affect that number.

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Illustration for article titled For $2,500, we’re gonna’ party like it’s 1978

Fiesta means party, and for a lot of people the hope is that the party never stops. The Ford Fiesta will need to stop however, and the car's disc/drum set up, wrapped in 12-inch wheels and similarly Life Savers-sized tires get the job done. This Fiesta is a Sport model which means it has stripes on both its flanks and its seats. Those seats make it look like the car may have once been owned by Ted Nugent, as they appear to have suffered from cat scratch fever. The back ones especially appear to have gone through some hard partying - the kind where might want to burn them rather than sit on them.

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Illustration for article titled For $2,500, we’re gonna’ party like it’s 1978

Other interior issues are a passenger door latch that looks to have snapped off and been replaced with a large hair pin, and some rust that's creeping around the doors like the hairs in an old man's ears. The seller says this Fiesta Sport sports a new radiator and water pump, and that it comes with its current tags. He also gives it the YouTube treatment, which demonstrates its collapsed bumper struts and immediate need for a valve adjustment.

In addition to the aforementioned stripes, the Sport edition also rates a tach, and it's amusing to note that its lack of redline makes discerning the rev counter from the speedo a tricky task - made even harder by the Joan Claybrook mandated 85-mph limit on the latter. But at least it's there, as is most everything else this little Ford originally brought to the party. The steel wheels are all original, even the splotchy spare that lives - troll like - under the floor in back. There's also a mystery switch mounted next to the ashtray - one of those Radio Shack toggles that is un-marked and hence open to conjecture as to its function. My guess is that's what gets this party started.

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Illustration for article titled For $2,500, we’re gonna’ party like it’s 1978

The seller of this party-hardy Ford is asking $2,500, and while he doesn't seem to divulge its mileage, a glance at the the speedo pic indicates that it has 24,943 on the odo at present. Considering both its age and condition, I'd guess that's been around the horn more than once at least. Considering these cars get upwards of 40-mpg, that kind of use seems understandable.

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The Beastie Boys had to fight for the right to party, but for this Fiesta, you'd only need to come up with that $2,500. What do you think about that, does that price make this a Fiesta with which you'd like to party? Or, does that price make this Ford a party pooper?

You decide!

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Seattle Craigslist or go here if the ad disappears. H/T to s_lachs for bringing the party!

Help me out with NPOCP. Click here to send a me a tip, and remember to include your commenter handle.

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NPOCP Update! Do you remember that BMW 535iM from a few weeks back? It had sat on the Bimmer Forums Board for two years without moving. Well, it finally sold, and the reason it did was because the buyer saw it here on Jalopnik, and contacted the seller though the NPOCP link. Nice Price or Crack Pipe- it's like e-freakin'-Harmony for car nuts!

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DISCUSSION

Well, let me say, my heart skipped a beat when I saw the little Mk 1 in the lead photo. I owned a '79 for 18 years. You must ask yourself, "Crap, what does he drive now?" when I say, that Fiesta was the best car I ever owned. Mini touts itself as 'the car with go-kart handling', Fiesta had it first. It was relatively quick with 66 ponies pulling a weight that was considerably less than that of a plow horse. It rode well and of course delivered great economy of operation.

It was unfortunate that the States didn't get all the performance, luxury and other options that Ford gave its European customers. But it still was a pretty good package all things considered. I finally sold the car with nearly 180 k on the odometer. Ford abandoned the Fiesta early on stateside with the Escort replacing the Fiesta in '81 as its entry level car. Five years later parts were nearly impossible to find, something to think about if you want to buy this one.

Sabine Schmitz and other female drivers first experience in automotive competition was in the Ford Fiesta Ladies' Cup series. Sabine drove later in the series in a 90's vintage Fiesta.

The Fiesta was a great vehicle and Ford's first 'World Car'. If you can find it, the book 'Let's Call it Fiesta' is a wonderful story about the history of the car.