Ford Fiesta Auto

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Ford is naturally very chuffed over the infinitely-variable transmission it has applied to the Fiesta (although it modestly refrains from badging the car as anything out of the ordinary) and is comparing the revolutionary device with the Model T’s crashproof epicyclic foot-operated gearbox.

JW, as well as myself, tried it on the road (I must say the thought of JW enduring a 1.1-litre Fiesta rather makes the mind boggle!) and the Ford Motor Company has since lent me another (Firestone-shod) Fiesta Auto while the Sierra XR 4×4 was in for servicing at the efficient Ravenhill Main Dealers in Hereford.

I covered 760 miles in the little 1117cc car. It was amazing at times to see the tachometer needle rush round the dial under acceleration, without the speedometer answering to a corresponding degree, as it would on a fixed-gear transmission. Although I drove as hard as I could, consumption was better than 40 mpg, and the Fiesta came into its own in heavy traffic.

Not the enthusiast’s delight, perhaps, but a grand family car; Ford and Fiat have produced a new era of foolproof control with commendable economy. WB

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