Ford Festiva: a cross-Pacific love story

The Ford Festiva was the proud result of a game of spin-the-bottle at halftime of a 1986 Model UN meeting. First the Japanese (Mazda) and the Koreans (Kia) found themselves making out on a couch, and after their braces came unstuck they realized this relationship would never work. So they both agreed to handle the design and production while handing the reins to the denim-clad bully in the corner: Ford Motor Company.

This threesome spawned a handsome machine which became the standard by which all toasters and bread-makers are judged.

Ford Festiva red

It was also the latest in a long line of mass produced cars to feature rack-and-pinion steering, at one point in 1987 actually marking the 10 millionth person who doesn’t know what the @#$% that is. Little known fact: The “Festiva” name is derived from the Spanish word for “festive”.

A blogger on CheapRVLiving.com paid tribute with a post entitled, “Living Happily in a Ford Festiva” — in which he surprisingly was able to eke out a decent lifestyle, albeit with vitamin deficiencies. (blog has been discontinued) Jay Leno, on the other hand, has clearly raised his standard of living by adding this silver bullet to his collection (he claims it’s a Ford Fiesta, but our editors checked and the car is indeed festive):

By 1993, the Ford Festiva was rebranded and became the Ford Aspire, becoming the turnkey solution for upwardly mobile yuppies who “aspired” to all the finer things in life. As it turned out, its low purchase price actually resulted in the leftover cash needed to pursue such a lifestyle.


Ripe Car Name: Ford Festiva
Years in production: 1986-2002
Price: $7,000 in 1986 (approx. $16,094 today)
Price equivalent: 2,064 Tupperware variety packs

Ford Festiva white


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