As a student I was given my white Ford Fiesta Flair 1.4i. The car was a small hatchback, sporting two doors and a 1.4 litre fuel injected engine. Aesthetically it had the characteristics of a bubble, yet was neat enough. It was not the car of my dreams, it was not even the car I wanted, it was just a car... a means of getting from A to B. Who was I to deny myself that pleasure. So I gratefully accepted the gift bestowed up me and drove off into the sunset.
6 years and a lot of kilometres later I am still driving that very same Fiesta. Sure it has a huge dent in the bonnet and a couple of smaller dents at various intervals around the car. The heater is stuck on, the windscreen cracked and the window winder has broken in two. My speakers too have been distorted for the last few years and there is a somewhat disconcerting rattle from the back wheels.
On paper, this poor little Ford Fiesta is a disaster, surely not more than a few kilometres shy of the scrap yard. In reality however, it is an absolute dream. I can fill my petrol tank up for R400, which lasts me a couple of weeks when driving locally around Johannesburg, and can get me to within a stones throw of Durban when hitting the open road. The services are also very reasonable. Sure, I don't go to directly to Ford, but rather my local mechanic and it rarely costs me more than R1000 - R1500 per year to keep this little hatch running. Then there is the cost of car insurance, which is substantially lower than that of other cars I compared with. Not driving a recognised performance vehicle and not being highly sought after by the crime syndicates of the world definitely has its perks.
The true beauty of this car however, is not in the money it saves me alone, but also how we have bonded. Put anyone else in the driver's seat and what follows is a constant stream of complaints and abuse at the car. I however feel completely at home in that front seat - the acceleration is fast enough, in fact the car feels quite zippy. My arms have grown accustomed to the lack of power steering and all the above mentioned idiosyncrasies which would certainly deter a buyer (or thief for that matter) have become so normal to me, that I would struggle to function in a properly working vehicle. Add to this that rattles aside, the car runs like a dream and hasn't given me much trouble in the time we have spent together, and I am more than happy to drive my Ford Fiesta Flair for the foreseeable future.