Curbside Classic: Ford Festiva – A Festival of Longevity, And How To Live In Your Festiva

Curbside Classic: Ford Festiva - A Festival of Longevity, and How to Live in Your Festiva

Sam and Raquel’s Peace Love Car was featured in Curbside Classic. Here you can read an exert of the blog or you can visit Curbside Classic for the full article.

How can it be? We’ve never given the Ford Festiva the full CC love it so rightly deserves. I can’t think of another car that’s worked harder for the accolades about to be bestowed here. It’s determined to keep showing up in front of my camera until it gets its propers, although I’d hate to stop seeing them everywhere.

I’ve been shooting Festivas since the get-go, and some of these have been here before in Outtakes. But I just shot a few more this fall, so it’s time to gather them up in a Festiva festival. And I’ve invited an outsider to join, the world’s most famous Festiva. It’s got 515k miles on it, and it’s been used for years by a couple that live in it. Seriously. The Festiva is also the world’s smallest motorhome.

First, a wee bit of history, which is a bit unusual. Ford essentially requested that Mazda come up with a sub-compact hatchback. Or so the story goes, which seems slightly odd, although Ford’s the relationship with Mazda was a bit complicated at the time. But then Ford’s global reach was wide, and it would appear that Ford NA was clearly becoming intrigued with the idea of importing from Korea to lower its cost in a segment of the market that was notorious for generating razor thin profits, if any.

So instead of importing the European Fiesta, as it had done in the late ’70s, Ford created a partnership with Kia Motors, which already had a license to build Mazda cars and trucks. It all made a lot of sense. And the little hatchback Mazda cooked up was a winner, as well as zinger.

Even then it was quite small, but from today’s vantage point, it’s minute. A wheelbase of 90.4″, and overall length of 136.8″. That’s a full 19″ shorter than the Golf Mk1/Rabbit. Yet it was remarkably space efficient, thanks to a very upright and boxy body that didn’t waste a cubic inch anywhere.

That applies most of all to this Festiva, the PeaceLoveCar that was turned into a rolling home back in 2009, when it was gifted to the owner, Sam, who originally lived out of it by himself. Amazingly, he found a companion (Raquel) who was willing to join him on the journey, as well as share the little narrow bed that is mounted where the front seat used to be. Well, they are yoga teachers, and it would take a bit of advanced yoga to pull that off for years. The Festiva now has over 515,000 miles on it, and the owners have turned it into a successful blog.

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