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A Grand Monday: Ford Orion 1.3

Published 25 September 2017

There are many cars that were once a common sight on street corners, but have now almost disappeared from our roads. Then there are others that are completely on the brink of extinction.

The Ford Orion is one such species. Indeed, this example could be truly unique - a car that is mere steps away from becoming an automotive dodo.

Despite a production run of more than three million cars, there are fewer than 500 Orions currently taxed in the UK. Of those, none are the entry-level four-speed 1.3L.

Admittedly, it takes a special kind of commitment to actively seek out a miserable base model, which was so basic that it didn't even come with wheeltrims as standard, and persisted with four gear ratios in an era where a five-speed gearbox brought with it bragging rights. Yet at the same time, there's something wonderful about cars like this - cars that, 30 years ago, were everywhere you looked, but are today largely forgotten.

Ford Orion (2)

Admittedly, the example we've found in the classifieds isn't an instant show car. Indeed, its MoT history shows it will need work before it once again hits the road (namely welding), but it's all there, it isn't messed with and it looks like a viable project, with presentable bodywork, low mileage and a near immaculate interior. 

Initially, we thought the £800 asking price for this car was a bit steep, but it seems like Orion prices are shooting up these days, with none available below four figures anywhere in the UK. We still think you could negotiate a bit off the top, but then, what price exclusivity? For less than a bag of sand, you could have the only Ford Orion 1.3L in captivity.

Ford Orion (1)


RJP41    on 25 September 2017

I had a 1.8 D 1989 Orion used to commute and work related driving it did over 250.000 miles apart from a gearbox failure at 190K it was very reliable easy to maintain ( regular cam belt changes ) amazingly economical 76 mpg plus on a run friends did not believe me so filled the tank and in mixed driving did over 800 miles.
not the quickest but just as fast as any BMW in a traffic jam,sold it to a guy who went on to 350.000 miles and was still running fine several years later.I did regret selling as wife wanted a focus 2.0 diesel worst car we have ever owed very unreliable sold it at a huge loss.

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