The ‘It should never have worked but by Jingo it did’ facelift: 1983 Ford Fiesta
The original Ford Fiesta’s sales successes made it so ubiquitous that its appearance ceased to be either noticeable or remarkable. This however belies Tom Tjaarda’s initial design, which was neat, well executed and had, by the tail end of the ’70s, worn well. However as a new decade began, it began to appear dated against newer and sleeker rivals.
Uwe Bahnsen’s studios had dragged Ford’s styling screaming into the avant garde with the 1982 Sierra, so naturally the 1983 Fiesta facelift aimed to continue this modernist theme. It could so easily have been dreadful, but the graft of a new, slightly longer, lower nose was seamless. At a stroke, the dated appearance of the existing model was excised, giving the seven year old design a further six years of robust sales success before it was replaced by the rather lacklustre and derivative mark 3 model. A car that would require at least three major facelifts over its equally lengthy lifespan aptly demonstrated that executed properly, you only really need to do it once.