Motor - Road Test: Fiesta 1100S (Sport)
"12,000 Miles On. Taut Fiesta"
4th February 1978



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Road Test: Fiesta 1100S (Sport)

Thank you to Vinny (aka RacMan) for supplying this article.

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Copy of Article Text Below

.....temporary defect in the driver's door catch. It failed to latch on to the striker pin so that the door wouldn't hold shut. A squirt of penetrating oil cured this and it hasn't happened again in 3,000 miles.

The speedometer drive is noisy, but not to the extent that I would consider having it changed.

Running costs

Although the overall petrol consumption is quoted in the performance table at 36.9 mpg this includes some fairly gentle motoring over about 1,000 miles on Scottish byroads. In everyday motoring on motorways, in traffic and commuting (which is a 10-mile journey) the consumption is nearly always around 35-36 mpg.

I am said to be a feather-footed driver but this relates more to saving petrol by careful and anticipatory use of the accelerator than by driving slowly. In gentle touring it is quite possible to get well over 40 mpg with the 1.1 Fiesta. As a basis for comparison my previous long-term test car was a Chevette and with it my usual petrol consumption in the same kind of motoring was 37.7 mpg.

Oil consumption is about 1,500 miles to the half-litre (0.87 pints) but it can get heavier in prolonged high-speed driving.

Front tyre wear is surprisingly heavy. After 12,000 miles there is little more than 3.5 mm of tread depth left from a new depth of 7 mm on the 155 Michelin ZX tyres. If the front tyres are discarded at a 2 mm tread depth they will be serviceable for another 5 or 6,000 miles. The front wheel alignment was checked at the 12,000 mile service and found to be 0.25 deg out.

This relatively heavy front tyre wear contrasts with a little over 1 mm of wear on the rears, so they should last for over 45,000 miles. If the tyres were swopped around then, ignoring the spare, four new tyres would be required after about 32,000 miles.

The dealer to which I took the car for its first free service told me that they had bled the hydraulics to get rid of slight clutch drag about which I had complained. As the clutch is cable operated I went to another Ford dealer for the subsequent services and have had good service at, by present standards, a very reasonable price.

The 6000-mile service cost £18.24 instead of the advertised £21.23 (they didn't renew the plugs) but at the 12000-mile service (taken a little early) the cost was £37.11 compared with the advertised £21.23. Every third service is an extended one costing £25.84.

The £37.11 for the 12,000-mile service was caused by three adjustments. First I had asked for the front wheel alignment to be checked in view of the heavy wear on the tyres; this they did on a Uniflex machine and found that there was a 25' (0.25 deg) error. The check and adjustment cost £5.95 + VAT. Two other adjustments were found necessary: the resetting of the rear brake adjusters (£2.90 + VAT), and taking up wear in the rear wheel bearings (£2.90 + VAT). "Adjustments are extra on the servicing charge, even when the car is in its warranty period," said the service receptionist, and in answer to my query that wheel bearing wear shouldn't crop up at 12,000 miles, I was told that "wear starts as soon as the car leaves the factory".

With VAT, the service itself, including sump oil, filter, plugs and gasket cost £24.42.


You don't have to have the 'S' version of the Fiesta if you want a smoother ride rather than exceptionally good cornering and roadholding, and I know from driving the 1300 version that one of its advantages is an almost complete absence of the boom that afflicts the 1100.

Nevertheless I am happy with the 1.1 Fiesta 'S'. As I wrote at the beginning of this report, it is an enjoyable car to drive. It is easy to get into, comfortable even after 400 miles at the wheel and it has never let me down.

I am completely in favour of the three-door car particularly, as in the case of the Fiesta, when the load area is flush with the tailgate opening. Details such as this on the Fiesta have been well thought out. The fundamentals such as getting its rear end filthy and booming in the 60s should not be part of such an important car as the Fiesta but on balance I would certainly buy another one.

I am worried by only one thing - the additional work that had to be done at the 12000-mile service. I am left wondering whether this was a one-off occurrence arising from assembly faults at the factory or if every basic service charge is going to be inflated by further adjustments.

What it cost

Petrol - £243.50
Oil top ups - £2.15
Servicing - £55.35
Tyres - £22.00
Road fund licence - £41.66

Total - £364.66

Basic cost per mile 3.038p.

1 320.4 gallons of four star petrol at current average price of 76p a gallon.
2 2 1/2 litres of oil at 43p a half litre.
3 See running costs section for details.
4 Approximate cost of wear (37 per cent) on 155 SR12 Michelin ZX tyres.
5 Ten month's worth of current licence fee of £50.

For insurance purposes the 1.1 Fiesta is in Group 2. The probable premiurri for a driver aged 30 with a full no-claim bonus and in a job which doesn't attract a loaded premium would be a shade over £60. This assumes that the car is kept in the Metropolitan area of London where premiums are fairly high but not at peak levels.

Depreciation on the car so far is minimal. It would probably be offered by a dealer at above its first cost but one might lose £100 selling to a dealer.

In brief

Model: Ford Fiesta S (1117cc)
When delivered: March 30, 1977
Total mileage: 12000
Price when new: £2360
Price now: £2785
Value now: £2400
Overall mpg: 36.90 (see text)

Faults and failures

On delivery: Tickover speed too high. Paintwork and exterior trim blemishes. Wheel nuts showed rust.
0-12000: Occasional misfiring. Noisy speedometer drive. Seat belts do not retract easily. Wear in rear wheel bearings. Front wheels out of alignment.

Captions -

Middle-Left - Removal of rearward floor reveals a useful storage space on the offside. It will take a spare petrol can plus quite a lot more. There is space enough in the spare wheel compartment to hold an emergency windscreen. When rear seat back is rigged for use (as in this picture) the parcel shelf rises with the tailgate to which it is attached by cords.
Middle-Right - The seat belts have their inertia reels behind the trim beside the rear seat but they do not retract properly. The perforations in the trim are for a radio speaker; there's another speaker mounting point at the other side
Bottom - Rubber-backed carpet cut to fit the load area (rear seat folded flat in this picture) stops rattles from the flooring when there is no load being carried


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