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One model I do recall, which incidentally shows how you can sink further if you really try, was the Fiesta Meridian which was available from your local Ford ‘Southern’ dealer.Many of you may recall when the ITV network went through a massive shake up, Thames, TVS and TV-am including others lost their franchise licence to broadcast, TV-am became GM-TV while the legendary Thames became Carlton.What has this to do with cars you may think, bear with me reader – I’m coming to the crux. On the stroke of Midnight in came 1993, and the first advert on the all new ITV channel was for the Ford Fiesta Meridian.The advert might have had a voiceover by a slightly younger Steven Fry, but the car was a disappointment – it was nothing more than an L model with metallic paint and logo.But it was a proper limited edition car in a lovely colour – Oyster metalic I recall. The poor little 1275cc A-Series plant offered 57bhp on a good day, and I can remember my dad giving it some beans on the M55 to Blackpool one summer.90mph was the best she’d do and the screaming engine was drowned out by the shreiks of fear from the rest us squashed into the Bri-Nylon clad rear seat.These added kudos and mystique to an erstwhile poverty spec car.
Even your basic Corsa these days features a CD and power steering – so those disgusting dealer specials are now just a fond or painful memory.
I loved this car and, in fact, my dad kept it for years.
The ingredients were simple – take a two-door Marina, make it look exactly like the 1.8 GT, simmer on a low heat for 45 minutes, then add a 1275 A-Series engine.
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These entry-level chariots of doom featured lovely plastic blanks where the wireless or cigar lighter should be, fixed back non-reclining seats minus the headrests, and clad in wonderful vinyl.