The Good, The Bad and the Ugly – Ford Ka
An irrelevant look at a certain car.
Ford Ka 1996 – 2008
If ever there was a small car that outstayed its welcome, it was the Ford Ka. K A or Ka which was probably short for khazi, was another word for toilet.
OK, so I might have been a bit mean to Ford’s city hopeful because when launched, it really wasn’t that bad. Oh hell, we all loved it and it sold in the millions. Ford made a lot of money from it.
Handling of the little chunkster was quite entertaining too. It had the ability to be thrown around the streets with aplomb, helped greatly by Issigonis’s design philosophy of having a wheel at each corner. He was, in case you didn’t know, the father of the great Austin Mini.
Fitted with a decrepit old petrol engine in a youth hating 1.3cc capacity, meant that the young struggled to get insured on them for a reasonable price and this meant that many of them didn’t end up in ditches. The leisurely performance of the first generation models also contributed to this. It was vile. The 1.3 Endura engine that followed at least allowed for the cars handling to be more enjoyed easily.
That aside, the Ka was quite cute in its first incarnation. It was a hit with everyone. For three brief years later in its career, you could even get one with 2 seats, a fabric roof and to top it off, it was endorsed by queen Kylie Minogue. You couldn’t get much cuter or gayer if you tried.
That cuteness also had a plus side. Fitted with massive bits of plastic, it effectively made it a city dodgem. You could drive it at shopping trolleys, walls and even other cars and you still wouldn’t damage the plastic. It was special plastic. Overly engineered They contained a substance to prevent damage from UV rays. They literally outlive the car. Anyway, all this added to never needing to worry about the paintwork.
What you did need to worry about however was the rear end dissolving quicker than an Alka-seltzer and just as noisy too. With the newest ones available being 10 years old, chances are the rear wheel arches would have let go and front sub-frame mounting areas rapidly following suit.
As a secondhand proposition, they really are bloody awful now. Rust is the main killer of many followed by those pesky young kids finally getting them and driving them into trees.
Trouble is, they are entertaining to drive. Give good mileage to a drop of petrol and they are easy to both fix and bodge or both and for that alone, I’m saying it’s a good car. If you can find one that is.
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Motoring nurse or medical motorist? It’s a difficult one. By day l nurse and by night l drive.
Fingers have always been grease deep in attending the motoring of an ageing fleet. And now l write about new and old.
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Member of the Southern Group of Motoring Writers. (SGMW)