Monday, 29 June 2015

Car of the Week: Ford Ka

Designed by a Frenchman and built in Spain for the very European problem of cities better suited to horses than they were cars, I give you the Ford Ka, a piece of controversial design that went on to be one of Europe's best selling cars. Built by a American company it might be, but the Ka represents all that is good with European car design and you can get one for under $4000.
Ford Ka, a bargain Euro city car

A surprise encounter 

With its cutesy design, clever packaging and simple mechanics the Ka became a very common sight on UK roads. However this particular petrol head thought that coming to Australia would signal the end of seeing Ka's on the street. But then I spotted one and after some research learning that the first Ka was sold Down Under I just had to share this little gem with you all.
European Ford Ka's got these natty 3 spoke alloys as an option
The Ford Ka Concept, very little changed between this and the production Ka
The Ka Concept, much like the real Ka

A bit of background

Between 1999 and 2002 Ford Australia marketed the Ka, but dismal sales from a not so convinced Aussie public forced the little Ford out. Thankfully though just enough people bought one, meaning you can now get your hands on a somewhat rare and totally unique Euro city car. As I mentioned the Ka was designed by a Frenchman, Claude Lobo the man responsible for the Ford Capri no less, so the car has pedigree. And like that other 90's design icon the Mk1 Audi TT the Ka was also one of those cars that went from motor show concept to production car almost unchanged. It lost none of its funky touches, that bubble silhouette framed by those big wrap around bumpers for example made it from concept to reality. Those little wheels pushed to the extreme four corners of the car stayed put too. Creating zero overhangs and importantly spot on vehicle dynamics. 

The Ford Ka's simple mechanics meant excellent dynamics What do you get?

Right enough of me blabbering, besides a car that looks like it rolled straight of a motor show stand, what else does a Ka have to offer? Well not very much, and that's the beauty of it. The Ka is a back to basics sort of car, with a chassis highly regarded by the motoring press and little in the way of driving aids other than a steering wheel the Ka is one of the funnest cars to nip around town in or equally hoon down a winding road in. With the only transmission being a 5 speed manual the Ka basically begs for its 43kw 1.3 litre lump to be wrung. And trust me, as owner of many power challenged cars, hustling an under powered car along provides a feast for the senses and is not only fun but takes great skill. Ultimately the Ka provides a rewarding driving experience for very little outlay and when you zip past, people might actually pay you some attention. As with a face like that it certainly won't be confused with a bland as tofu Asian box. 
A Ford Ka photobombing someones wedding, you cheeky Ka you!

But what about the inside 

Well the interior keeps with the back to basics theme too, bare metal and keep fit windows are the order of the day in the Ka with a CD player and A/C probably being the only luxuries you can expect. This merely adds to the Ka's appeal though, with nothing to distract ones attention you can just get on with driving the thing and enjoying every minute.
The observant might notice this Ka has electric windows,Australian cars didn't get this luxury

Go get yourself one

Before I share with you one of the few I've found for sale though I must mention the Ka's Achilles heel, rust. Seriously the Ka might just have well been made out of the same stuff teabags are, water gets into them everywhere. Body work, sub frames and countless other chassis components are known to simply dissolve after a few years of use in Europe. Thankfully with warmer weather Ka's Down Under might have had a better survival rate but be cautious and check thoroughly for the dreaded tin worm.
The ford Ka, a timeless design?

Ford Ka for sale Australia This weeks car appears to be very well looked after, the advert although generic hints at a car that has never wanted for anything and been well maintained, most probably by the sellers father! I get the impression this little Ka is now just taking up room and the low price is intended to make it shift. If your in SA, go grab a bargain. 

2000 Ford Ka, $1950 

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