Suspension was by a very simple MacPherson-strut layout up front, familiar but for new-style bearings that reduced the required amount of steering effort, and a dead axle at the rear to avoid extra weight and ensure consistent handling.

All this work was meant to give the Fiesta notably better refinement than rivals. Indeed, we said: “As a piece of Ford thoroughness, this is perhaps the most impressive car yet.”

Britain was to be the last market to get the Fiesta, but our German correspondent reported: “Even the basic Fiesta has no air of austerity. The impression of smallness is lost when you take the wheel. The [957cc] engine is very eager, and with two people aboard, the car is no sluggard, cruising safely and surprisingly quietly at 70mph. And the 1117cc unit makes it quite able to live with much more powerful cars, especially on winding roads.

“One of the typical Fiesta features is ease of handling. And all models ride very well, on both smooth and uneven surfaces.”

He concluded that “the Fiesta seems to be the ideal car for the young family or as a family car”. Some two million people agreed – or, if you include the subsequent six generations of Fiesta, more than 22 million. Few cars have left or will leave such a legacy.

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