Festival of the Unremarkable.
For many people Cologne is a city people don’t even know well enough to associate with the smelly liquid that goes by the same name. Due to pure good fortune I had the amazing opportunity to live there between 2000 and 2006 and for me, Cologne (or Köln) is the city of the Ford Fiesta and, indeed Ford of Europe. In 2013 a gold winged Fiesta was placed high over the skyline in recognition of the motorcar’s place in Köln’s history. I went back after a 10 year absence this Easter and found this car. I also discovered that the city is not much changed since 2009.
The photo car heading today’s article is the kind of car that does not really make it into articles – it is quite ordinary. That is very much part of the Fiesta’s identity and also part of the genius of Ford’s approach to this for decades. However, ordinariness is not to be mistaken for a criticism. When I think of the interest inherent in car design, it is the Fiesta I use an example. The challenge of making a safe, durable, comfortable and reliable product like an affordable Fiesta is a huge one. To ensure a Fiesta hits all these targets and still remains fun to drive is one of the miracles of modern industry and one that most people take entirely for granted.
The Fiesta (here photographed on the Hansa Ring in Köln) is a 30+ year-design; the car itself is no younger than 1997 when this iteration handed over to the BE-91. Having checked up on those details it is something of a surprise to realise this car dates from so far back. The reason they do not seem so antique is because the were so ubiquitous and they hung around for so long, becoming like part of the general background.
I suppose it is also a testament to the inherent un-remarkableness of the shape that it does not seem especially ancient looking. That and the fact its rear lamp design lived on in the also-ubiquitous 1995 BE91 version of the Fiesta. That makes it seem incredibly familiar so it slips the normal time-stamping such features get marked by.