In 2002 automobile manufacturing ceased at Ford’s Dagenham plant after some seventy years. It was a tragic day in February of that 12 months when the final Fiesta rolled off the meeting line. Since then the plant has been down-sized and now primarily produces engines albeit to a excessive normal however the glory days of the previous when proud males would clock in at one finish and the household automobiles that we grew up with would seem on the different are actually only a distant reminiscence.
I nearly bear in mind the launch of the Fiesta in 1976 once they unveiled it to the world in the identical approach proud dad and mom would possibly exhibit a brand new child. There have been a number of giggles on the time because the automobile shared its identify with a sure males’s journal which might simply declare to have been there first together with its accomplice in crime Knave.
The Ford Fiesta was an immediate success and clocked up gross sales of one million within the first three years. The wake of the oil disaster had created a giant demand for smaller extra gasoline environment friendly automobiles and the Fiesta fell into this market with ease with its small engine and cheaper operating prices. A variety of different producers picked up the baton and launched related small automobiles of their very own which gave rise to the time period “Supermini” as a brand new tackle the ever present Mini. This had been round for a few years however the want for one thing barely bigger grew to become all too obvious.
The Fiesta loved unrivalled gross sales till it was knocked off the primary promoting place by the Austin Metro in 1981 though it did proceed to come back in an in depth second. The reliability and construct high quality of the Fiesta was of a excessive normal and plenty of examples of the Mark 1 Fiesta had been nonetheless going robust when the Mark 2 appeared in 1983. This model has particular significance for me as I used to personal an XR2. My XR2 was fairly a late mannequin as I obtained it in 1989 the 12 months the Mark 3 got here out. It was an “F” registration and was blue with black bumpers and trim.
I assumed I used to be the enterprise in that automobile and though I cringe to confess it now would race something away from the lights and normally gained. I used to be solely 21 and the insurance coverage was a little bit of a killer even again then nevertheless it was value it because the automobile was nice. By at this time’s requirements it might come nowhere although and as I recollect it was stolen as least twice and I lose observe of what number of instances somebody tried to steal it.
I bear in mind going to Devon for the weekend with a mate and a few ladies we had been attempting to impress and we ended up on a small ferry which simply had a chunk of chain at every finish that they closed after you had pushed on. The journey was brief so that you stayed in your automobile and waited for the grizzled outdated sailor to wave you off on the different finish. When it was my flip to drive off I forgot that the automobile was in impartial and let the handbrake off which triggered us to virtually roll off the again into the harbour. There was quite a lot of screaming and I managed to compose myself as everybody instructed me that I used to be an fool.
I liked that automobile although and it was a tragic day after I obtained a name from the Police to politely inform me that my automobile had been stolen and was at that second on fireplace on an area enjoying discipline. I even needed to pay for the restoration of the burnt out shell.
Fortunately automobile safety was significantly improved within the 1990’s as was the Fiesta itself. The Mark 4 was a significant restyle on earlier fashions and the Mark 5 which appeared in 1999 and was constructed till 2002 was the final Fiesta to be constructed at Dagenham. This marked the tip of an illustrious run of success that has continued so far with the all new Mark 7 or fourth technology which is now assembled in Germany. The Fiesta will all the time have a spot in my reminiscence and little question for the proud staff of Dagenham.