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Y'know what's intrigueing about Festivas?

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  • Y'know what's intrigueing about Festivas?

    In 1936 E.L. Cord began the Cord/Auburn/Deusenburg company, and produced a far ahead thinking motor vehicle -

    The "CORD"

    *CORD auto's used to have a small brass plate that read:
    "This automobile is guaranteed to go 120 miles per hour. It has been factory tested at this speed"

    Clark Gable owned one, and so did Amelia Earhardt. They were as far reaching into the future as any car of its time.
    They featured front wheel drive (which no other car of its time had) and they had an "automatic shifting" transmission that was the forerunner of modern autotrannies. Another feature of the Cord automobile was that it was streamlined not only on its upper bodyworks, but also underneath.

    The underside of Cord cars was made as smooth and clean as possible in order to make it go faster.

    There was no concern in those days about fuel mileage, since gas was very cheap. Indeed - the biggest deal back then was that a crew ran out (in uniform) to wash your windows, and fill up your car, without you ever having to lift a finger....
    *That was a part of convincing you to buy their "GASOLINE"

    But now we come to today - in the Festiva FORD was looking at a sub-compact that could carry lots of "STUFF". One that gave very high miles for the buck, and was as stable and fun a ride as you could have.

    *Fill it up yourself, and good luck to you

    I can't help but compare it to the Cord, the drivetrain is the same - but the weight is different. In the modern age we saw the "COMPACT CARS" introduced to America pretty much fail, because everyone was stuck on "IMAGE" and spending money. But as the price of fuel goes ever higher, something I learned long ago both from my father who was an aerospace engineer and from the racing crowd around me as I got my hands ever greasier came back to me:

    "It's all about power to weight ratio"

    So Festiva was launched, but never caught on as it should have because Americans were not concerned about money, saving it, and what fuel cost....

    Silly buggers!

    I saw that coming, and I expect so did you.

    What the Festiva is - it's a fun car to drive, has lots of load space, and gets max mile per gallon even if it has an air conditioner running. It bites down in snow and can get around land yachts in bad weather when they are slipping and sliding all over the place.

    But what is best of all:
    You can modify them to race with!

    If you drive one of these and think about the past - you have to wonder

    It isn't just a cheap car, it's the product of over a hundred years of automotive thinking
    Last edited by Greywolf; 03-15-2016, 12:16 AM.
    Most people don't drive what they want at all, and never will

  • #2
    When i fell into my 1st Festiva gas was up to 2.25 a gal.I got a lots of looks and other drivers laughing at me and with me.By the time it eclipsed 4.25 a gal i noticed more looks of curiosity and envy.Currently i havent been driving one as i decided for this winter with fuel so cheap,having had a good ole beater 93 intrepid returned to me from my son,to store them and save them from getting eaten alive by road salt.It is getting close to time to pull one out for myself and also one for my wife to drive temporarily while i do some work on her 99 chrysler 300m that i had put together for her a couple years ago.I genearlly like to keep her in a safer car with some creature comforts without going into debt.Had a car payment once back in the early 90's,hated it and its been cash since.Have a fellow enthusiest that wants some parts coming over to help me finish stripping down a junker so i had better get rolling.


    • #3
      Not sure I agree with any of your original comments. They sold plenty of Festivas. The car was made solid from 1988, until 2013 when Saipa quit making the Nasim, relatively unchanged.

      The comparison of a Festiva to a cord, isn't really a fair comparison either. The Festiva is 100% a perfect example of Japanese 1980's simplistic design. The US wanted to have plush bigger cars, family cars like the "K" Car, and the Ford Taurus, and Japan, as they often do, realized that small/efficient was the key. If anything I'd give the Festivas lineage nod to the early Hondas/Mazdas/toyotas/datsuns of the 50's-70's...

      My $.02


      1991 Festiva L Red: Daily Driver
      1990 Festiva L White: R.I.P.
      1988 Festiva L Silver: R.I.P.
      1991 Festiva L Red B6T: R.I.P.
      1989 Festiva L White: R.I.P.
      1995 Aspire 2-door White: R.I.P.
      1995 Aspire 4-door Red: R.I.P.


      • #4
        I have to strongly agree with the strength to weight concept in the OP. That's always been the car's secret. I started saying the same thing about the VW Rabbitt back in the 70's and they were smaller then.

        But a ;lot of people consider only size and power, and with simplistic thinking seem to believe that an increase in size of the motor automatically leads to the same percentage gain in power and speed. Not really true- as a bigger motor demands more cooling and more fluids beefier mounts and a heavier chassis usually with larger brakes and tranny parts and larger exhaust , and more gas which means a bigger tank usually with more fuel on board to go the same distance. So there's a diminishing return conmsidering other factors.

        The Festiva, and the Aspire have an excellent balance- they don't seem powerful to people used to heavier cars with larger engines, but as most of us have found, they usually go and go and go- many miles reliably and without guzzling the gas.

        Speed is another concept losing relevancy as the roads get more clogged. The last place I lived in southern Indiana, approximately 55 miles from the area I grew up in Indianapolis was ten years back taking me another ten or fifteen minutes to traverse than say back in the 70's, simply because of more traffic and traffic lights, where they had not the foresight to build frontage roads and keep the lights minimal. When I got my first festiva in L.A. in 1997, I had an '84 Nissan 300z and got tired of waiting three times through some intersections waiting to turn left with 3 liters and 6 cylinders guzzling gasoline on idle. Princess Diana died in that car crash about then and I saw the light, realizing I really wasn't after speed and power and the 88 Festiva was a God send.

        I've always thought they should have been the new VW Beetle and embraced like that, but it was the wrong time I guess. If time travel were possible I'd make the Festiva the 62 Falcon, and CHANGE THE WORLD!
        Last edited by harpon; 03-15-2016, 11:00 PM.